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Poll: Few Americans believe natural disasters are signs from God
March 24th, 2011
02:00 PM ET

Poll: Few Americans believe natural disasters are signs from God

By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

A new survey conducted on the heels of Japan's devastating earthquake and tsunami finds that few Americans think natural disasters are signs from God and that even fewer believe God punishes nations for the sins of its citizens, as some suggested after the Japanese disaster.

At the same time, most Americans believe God is responsible for everything that happens in the world, according to the survey, which was released Thursday.

The survey was conducted by the Public Religion Research Institute in partnership with the Religion News Service.

Fewer than 4 in 10 Americans (38%) believe that earthquakes, floods and other natural disasters are a sign from God, while roughly 3 in 10 believe that God sometimes punishes nations for the sins of some citizens, according to the survey.

Shortly after the Japanese quake and tsunami, the governor of Tokyo said publicly that the disaster was divine punishment for Japanese egoism, though he apologized for the remarks a day later.

A majority of people who self-identified as white evangelical Christians bucked the consensus against God punishing nations for the sins of its citizens, with 53% saying they believed that to be true.

Even more white evangelicals, 59%, believe that natural disasters are a sign from God, while only about one-third of Catholics and white mainline Protestants share that view.

Two thirds of white evangelicals also believe that natural disasters are evidence of the "end times," according to the survey.

The survey was conducted by telephone with 1,008 adults in the continental United States between March 17-20 as news was pouring in from the hardest-hit areas in Japan.

The margin of error for the survey is plus or minus 3 percentage points.

Read how prominent voices with different views on religion make sense of the suffering in Japan

Fifty-six percent of all respondents said they believe God is in control of everything that happens in the world, according to the poll.

And 7 in 10 Americans believe God is a person with whom a person can have a relationship, according to the poll.

But most Americans, 58%, said they attributed the increased severity of natural disasters to global warming, while 44% said they attribute it to what the Bible sometimes refers to as the “end times.”

The respondents tended to split along party lines - 52% of Republicans said the increased severity could be attributed to "end times” prophesies, while 75% of Democrats said it was the result of global warming.

“These kind of questions about God being in control and there simultaneously being suffering are the kind of things that keep seminarians up at night. They’re thorny theological issues. We wanted to see if we could get at it with polling to see what Americans think,” pollster Robert P. Jones, CEO of the Public Religion Research Institute, told CNN.

“We asked people how many were following what was going on in Japan, and nine out of 10 said they had heard a lot. This is something very clearly on the minds of Americans as they answered this poll.”

Jones said that where respondents worship played a big role in how they answered the questions.

“One thing that may be underlying this is how one approaches the Bible. Evangelical white Protestants are much more likely to take a literal approach to the Bible. In the Bible, natural disasters are used as a sign or as a punishment from God. Mainline Protestants and Catholics have a much less literal view of the bible,” Jones said.

Regardless of which pew American Christians find themselves in during the weekend, their beliefs about God’s role in matters like this are something Jones says brings a lot of debate.

Ryan Coyne, a philosopher of religion at the University of Chicago Divinity School, said, “What’s interesting is the disparity ... [between] the belief that God or the divine controls actions in the world and the reluctance on the part of some to attribute some acts in the world as punishing acts.

“There’s a reluctance to think of God as a punishing god. One must look for other explanations for evil in general if one is reluctant to attribute natural disasters to the divine,” Coyne said.

“Just by virtue of calling it a ‘natural disaster’ we’re asking is this ... outside of the reach of the divine,” Coyne said. “Five hundred to 600 years ago, there wouldn’t be the assumption necessarily ... [that] something like this was not directed by divine will.”

Regardless of the cause of natural disasters, the survey found that an overwhelming number of respondents - 83% - said it was very important or somewhat important to give financial assistance to Japan despite economic troubles in the United States.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Belief • Catholic Church • Christianity • Church • Culture & Science • Protestant • United States

soundoff (976 Responses)
  1. Rachel

    Having lived a while, I have been on both sides of the fence. I feel very confident in my stance today because of my many experiences. That being said. there is no question in my mind that events are unfolding from God.

    I also have issues with the evolution theory. Why haven't we found evidence of morphism in the fossils we have found? It seems that at some point, something would give an indication of it ... a receding tail, the presence of podiatric bones on sea creatures ... Anything?

    April 7, 2011 at 7:59 am |
  2. Lycidas

    "Religion fails again."

    Fails at what?

    "our latest spam-troll"

    You silly little girl, you come onto this thread about a certain religious topic that does not revolve around atheism or "proving" God and start yapping about proving to you something you won't ever understand at your current ability. And you call me a spam-troll? I didn't even have to pwned you here, you just gave yourself away for free.

    March 28, 2011 at 3:51 pm |
  3. Ethos with pathos

    It is amazing on here. There have been so many pseudo-intellectuals that have came to this specific religious themed thread to declare their atheistic point of views. It's not that they are not welcome to these views, but they come in here like they are a light in a dark room or something. As if their views are so much better than anyone elses and how dare anyone confront them.

    They beg the question "Prove God exists" when no one was debating if he does. Then they declare victory when those with a faith don't convince them that God exists. As if it's the person of faith's fault.

    They come on here boasting science but use generalized terminology because they don't fully understand what they put there faith in. And for most of them, they are not experts in what they believe. They put their hope on the shoulders of scientists they really really hope knows what they are talking about.

    And when they beg there little questions and you ask them to define the criteria of the "proof" they would want, they go whining away and complaining that it's our fault we aren't playing their game the way they want.

    Not all atheist are this way of course. Most give there opinions and don't flaunt their views as any better than anyone else's views. But the ones that just have to show they are superior to those of faith are just annoying to put it kindly. And they expect others to treat them nicer than how they treat ppl. Just pitiful.

    March 25, 2011 at 10:51 pm |
    • Jeanine

      You are making plenty of unfounded assumptions there.
      Your whole post shows that you are too thin-skinned in your faith, as well as your ego.

      Admit where you are wrong and you will gain tons of respect. So far you don't have much of that from either side.
      But you probably don't care, do you? You are lashing out, that much is clear.
      When you're done venting your anger, meet us up ahead on some new relevant thread and work with us if you like.
      I prefer that you get all that bad stuff out so that you can speak clearly and intelligently.
      Being angry reduces your ability to speak rationally and it shows.

      March 26, 2011 at 12:06 am |
    • Lycidas

      @Jeanine- No, all my assumptions are correct at one level or another. Thank you for not showing how I was wrong in any way. It's cute that you think your opinion equals fact.

      Admit I am wrong about what? That I actually thought you would set the spiritual criteria for proof that God exists? I know, I expected too much from you.

      "Relevant thread"??? You are daft you know that? This thread had nothing to do with the belief in God but a specific belief held by those that do believe in God. YOU came on here with an irrelevant topic.

      So much fun when you try to say I am angry, shows that you are down to a few childish tactics now in your debate strategy.

      March 27, 2011 at 1:51 am |
  4. Ethos with pathos

    It is amazing on here. There have been so many pseudo-intellectuals that have came to this specific religious themed thread to declare their atheistic point of views. It's not that they are not welcome to these views, but they come in here like they are a light in a dark room or something. As if their views are so much better than anyone elses and how dare anyone confront them.

    They beg the question "Prove God exists" when no one was debating if he does. Then they declare victory when those with a faith don't convince them that God exists. As if it's the person of faith's fault.

    They come on here boasting science but use generalized terminology because they don't fully understand what they put there faith in. And for most of them, they are not experts in what they believe. They put their hope on the shoulders of scientists they really really hope knows what they are talking about.

    And when they beg there little questions and you ask them to define the criteria of the "proof" they would want, they go whining away and complaining that it's our fault we aren't playing their game the way they want.

    March 25, 2011 at 10:48 pm |
    • Observer

      Atheists don't come here and proclaim that they have an infallible source that turns out to to be a book that contains some good morals but also contains errors, contradictions, hypocrisy and nonsense.

      March 25, 2011 at 10:59 pm |
    • Ethos with pathos

      No, a lot of Atheists put themselves in place of a religious book. They proclaim themselves the master of their own faith. You have to admit, putting faith in your own views and basing it on one's own limited view and experiecnes of this world is hardly wise.

      March 25, 2011 at 11:22 pm |
    • NL

      Ethos with pathos-
      "putting faith in your own views and basing it on one's own limited view and experiecnes of this world is hardly wise."

      Considering how many different denominations, mega-churches, small independent churches, cults, loners and personal theologies within all of these you have to admit that there's a whole lot of faith being placed in personal views out there in Christian Land too, eh? Do you agree with every other Christian who posts here?

      March 25, 2011 at 11:52 pm |
    • NL

      If you check the history of articles on this blog a goodly number are aimed directly at atheists, and believers aren't shy about posting their opinions in these stories either.

      "but they come in here like they are a light in a dark room or something."
      No more than believers do.

      "As if their views are so much better than anyone elses and how dare anyone confront them."
      Also, no more than believers do.

      March 26, 2011 at 12:12 am |
    • Atheism is the only truth

      If there was proof god existed, everyone would believe in god. The fact that there is no proof, and there exists a large percentage of human beings that don't believe in any god or any religion, is quite interesting. It is also interesting that the number of atheists, agnostics, and other non-theists, is growing at an exponential rate. Religion is dying, thank goodness.

      March 26, 2011 at 3:55 am |
    • Lycidas

      @NL- There are many different views in "christianland" yes, but my faith isn't directed by what others believe in spiritual matters. But I take their views and examine them and judge how good those views are and see if my views need modified.

      The difference about the religious coming in here to spread there light is that this is a board about religion, specifically on a christian topic. Unlike atheists that just want to cry there thoughts that don't have to do with the topic.

      March 27, 2011 at 1:22 am |
    • NL

      Lycidas-
      From the "About this blog" blurb up top:
      "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 Dan Gilgoff and Eric Marrapodi, with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team and frequent posts from religion scholar and author Stephen Prothero."

      Note that the word 'Christian' is not even mentioned specifically. The choice to exclude religion and faith still speaks of the role they play in our lives, and many of us have a genuine interest in the topic and enjoy the discussion. We believe we have as much 'light' to shed as you believe you do.

      If you'd like some Christian-only sites, the kind that ban atheists from commenting altogether, I might be able to help you out there.

      March 27, 2011 at 11:48 pm |
    • Lycidas

      Oh, don't get me wrong. I firmly believe anyone is allowed on here. If an atheist would come on and say natural disasters are not from God because they don't believe in God, that would be fine. But the majority that I am talking about are ppl who are just coming on here to proclaim there is no God. I just find that a tad rude overall, that's all.

      March 28, 2011 at 12:18 am |
    • NL

      Lycidas-
      Saying that there is no God is no more rude than saying that there is one, it's just what each of us believe, right? If you want to talk rude try talking to people who either refuse to accept that you don't believe in their god, or as.sume that you must be evil for not believing in their god and are destined to be punished for this. Now, that's more than a tad rude, wouldn't you say?

      March 28, 2011 at 11:27 am |
    • Lycidas

      "Saying that there is no God is no more rude than saying that there is one"

      Well, when you are on a thread directed to discuss what those that believe in God think, saying you believe in God makes more sense and is much less rude than just coming out and saying you don't and demanding to be proven differently.

      March 28, 2011 at 3:39 pm |
  5. Shelley

    It's a shame, very few of you have actually picked up your Holy Bibles. God warns of all these "natural disasters". He warns us about the end times and how things are going to go down. How this and that will happen, etc. We are also warned NOT to be ignorant and not to be fools. He warns us to "be prepared" for He is coming back!!!!

    1 Thessalonians 5:
    1Now, brothers, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, 2for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. 3While people are saying, “Peace and safety,” destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.

    I would never in a million years ask you to believe what I am saying...but if you call me a liar, you are calling our Holy Father a liar and stating that what is written in the Holy Bible, are lies.

    He has given us ALL the choice to follow him or not. That is up to us. But you cannot serve two Masters! (This too is in the Bible!).

    Matthew 6:19-24:
    "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

    "The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!

    "No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other...

    You all have the choice to follow Christ, accept Him as your Lord and Savior, repent for your sins and NO WHERE YOUR GOING when you leave here. He paid the ultimate price for YOU and gave you the most precious gifts of grace and salvation, and your throwing that back in his face, to spend eternity in Hell??? Oh my goodness. Matthew 23:33 "You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell?"

    People, Jesus saves! You need to completely rethink things and do it fast, for the end is near. The next few minutes or hours may not be yours to decide on which way your going and who you will serve. PLEASE, seek Him, turn away from your sins and wicked ways and seek him now! You won't be sorry you did.

    If you decide that you still do not want to find Him and invite Him into your heart, then please, don't ask me for a drink of water while your being tortured and suffering, like no other suffering, in hell. I won't be able to help you...then.

    Most Sincerely,
    Reverend Shelley

    March 25, 2011 at 4:58 pm |
    • Dakota

      "People, Jesus saves! You need to completely rethink things and do it fast, for the end is near. The next few minutes or hours may not be yours to decide on which way your going and who you will serve. PLEASE, seek Him, turn away from your sins and wicked ways and seek him now! You won't be sorry you did.'

      So, it's been a few minutes, even hours, nothing has happened. That's the problem when you make statements like that, putting fear into people isn't going to get them to believe there is a God. Maybe you should be more loving in your approach.

      March 25, 2011 at 5:50 pm |
    • Ethos with pathos

      @Dakota- The real tragedy to a Christian is that in those minutes and hours, you did not change any and are the same.

      March 25, 2011 at 10:12 pm |
    • Atheism is the only truth

      Jesus didn't exist, its just a story, and it isn’t real.

      Stories similar/identical to the story of jesus.

      Alexandria: Aion
      Asia Minor: Attis
      Babylonia: Antiochus
      Egypt: Osiris and Horus
      Greece: Dionysus and Asclepius
      Syria: Adonis
      Italy: Bacchus
      Persia: Mithras
      India: Krishna

      The reason why all these narratives are so similar, with a godman who are born to virgins, who were born in caves or mangers, who were visited by 3 wise men, who lives were threatened by evil rulers, who had to flee for his life, who was at 12 noon in the house or temple of the "Most High" thereby beginning "his Father's work" at "age" 12, who begins their ministry at the age of 30, who was tempted by a Devil, who has 12 followers or disciples, who later sends out the 72 disciples, who walked on water, who raised the dead, who does miracles, who was crowned with thorns, who was crucified and resurrected after 3 days, who descended into hell for these 3 days, who rose again after 3 days, who ascended into Heaven, is that these stories were based on the movements of the sun through the heavens, an astrotheological development that can be found throughout the planet because the sun and the 12 zodiac signs can be observed around the globe. This same story is repeated down through history over and over again in almost every sun worshipping nation under "the Sun".
      Do your research before you so blindly follow your religious beliefs, whatever they may be.
      Learn about why religion and "god" was created, for all religions around the world, be a smart human being, not a sheep.

      Respectfully,
      Reverend Logic, Reason, and Knowledge

      March 26, 2011 at 3:52 am |
  6. Paulie

    I'd laugh at the notion that roughly 30% of people feel that God (theirs or other) punishes nations for its citizens if I didn't find their lack to grasp the hypocrisy of that so sad. Of many christians I've spoke with over time, coupled with early learning (indoctrination?) of Catholicism, the agreement is you have to accept Jesus as your saviour and and ask to be forgiven and you will then be rewarded in Heaven.
    Here's the trick, how many of the nations of the world don't follow christianity in the first place and therefore their populace is condemned to Hell? How many innocent children are born outside the "shroud" and condemned simply by where they are born in the world?
    For me, that 30-40% the poll indicates is a scary number of people that in this day and age, are content sheep to accept an absurdity like God causing an earthquake+tsunami as punishment, rather than educating themselves about things many of us learned in 9th grade earth science.

    March 25, 2011 at 2:01 pm |
  7. Rock

    Even with our scientific understanding of the natural world, people are still picking and choosing what to believe. They will have faith in science like when they get into their cars and press on the brakes, they trust science in this case (that the brakes will work. However, they will not believe that we understand natural disasters scientifically. I just don't get it...

    March 25, 2011 at 10:44 am |
  8. NL

    "I believe today that my conduct is in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator." Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, Vol. 1 Chapter 2

    Christian, and creationist.

    It is truly amazing that people still buy into the 'Hitler was an atheist' lie. It's a useful lie, I suppose, and if Hitler taught us anything about human nature he taught us that if you repeat a lie enough times to people who want to believe it eventually they will.

    March 25, 2011 at 10:37 am |
    • Ethos with pathos

      I suggest you read the rest of his book, you will see that Hitler was not a Christian. No more than any other politician that uses the religious card to get ppl behind him.

      March 25, 2011 at 5:10 pm |
    • Observer

      @Ethos with pathos,
      "I suggest you read the rest of his book, you will see that Hitler was not a Christian."

      Like numerous comments like this? “My feeling as a Christian points me to my Lord and Savior as a fighter. It points me to the man who once in loneliness, surrounded only by a few followers, recognized these Jews for what they were and summoned men to fight against them and who, God's truth! was greatest not as a sufferer but as a fighter. In boundless love as a Christian and as a man I read through the passage which tells us how the Lord at last rose in His might and seized the scourge to drive out of the Temple the brood of vipers and adders. How terrific was his fight against the Jewish poison. Today, after two thousand years, with deepest emotion I recognize more profoundly than ever before the fact that it was for this that He had to shed his blood upon the Cross. As a Christian I have no duty to allow myself to be cheated, but I have the duty to be a fighter for truth and justice.”
      - Adolph Hitler, Mein Kampf

      March 25, 2011 at 7:35 pm |
    • Ethos with pathos

      @Observer- You need to double check your wikipedia sources better. The quote you gave came from a Steigmann-Gall who said it came from a speech in the Bürgerbräukeller in Munich in April 1922. It did not come from Mein Kampf.

      You do realize that speeches are directed toward a select group of ppl hwom the speaker is trying to impress. It doesn't mean he meant a word of it.

      March 25, 2011 at 9:37 pm |
    • Ethos with pathos

      Now Hitler did say in Mein Kampf, "I am convinced that I am acting as the agent of our Creator. By fighting off the Jews. I am doing the Lord's work."

      Interesting that he uses terms just like our Founding Fathers did and many a atheist love to point out that they were not Christian.

      March 25, 2011 at 9:40 pm |
    • Observer

      @Ethos with pathos,
      Thank you for the correction about when Hitler actually made that statement showing his belief in God.

      March 25, 2011 at 10:45 pm |
    • Ethos with pathos

      @Observer- Actually, what I showed was that he believed in a Creator like the founding fathers. I also showed that he was willing to say be believed in God to get a crowed going.

      Nothing in his actions shows that he was a Christian by faith and just mouthing some words hardly is evidence he had faith.

      March 25, 2011 at 11:20 pm |
    • Observer

      @Ethos with pathos,

      According to the Bible, all Hitler had to do was repent on his deathbed and he would go to heaven. There is no such option for those who have not been indoctrinated in Christianity regardless of how great a life they live. So much for God being fair and just.

      March 25, 2011 at 11:25 pm |
    • Ethos with pathos

      Actually if one is a literalist with the Bible, there is a passage in the New Teastament (forgive me I can't recall where at this moment) that implies that those who never knew the Lord would be judged upon what they thought was good and evil. I could be wrong on that, if anyone else might know where it is plz pipe in.

      Also in Judaism all that was required of goyim is to follow the laws given to Noah. They didn't have to obey all 613 laws in the Torah.

      March 25, 2011 at 11:28 pm |
    • Ethos with pathos

      @Observer- On a side note, I was looking over you posts and though I don't agree with your point of view on some things. I want to say that you have acted in an honorable manner when expressing your views to most ppl. If I seemed rather rough toward you on this thread, I am sorry. Sometimes I got caught up in the arguing styles of other ppl on here.

      Again, thank you for posting your views in a decent manner.

      March 25, 2011 at 11:34 pm |
    • NL

      Ethos with pathos-
      "Nothing in his actions shows that he was a Christian by faith and just mouthing some words hardly is evidence he had faith."

      Your opinion of a Christian, right? Face it, there are quotes galore of Hitler expressing his love of God, and belief that he was acting in accordance to God's will. I'd agree that he was grossly deluded in this belief, but being a really, really bad Christian does not make him an atheist, right? Hitler still believed in God.

      March 25, 2011 at 11:43 pm |
    • Observer

      @Ethos with pathos,
      I respect your integrity with your apology, but sincerely don't think any apology was necessary. I didn't take offense. I'm used to far worse from both sides.
      Thanks.

      March 25, 2011 at 11:49 pm |
    • Lycidas

      @NL- Some would say being a very very bad Christian might not make him a Christian at all.

      But what makes a Christian? Their faith or their actions? If faith, we cannot confirm directly because he is not with us anymore. If by actions, well we have seen his actions.

      But would it be right to judge a group of ppl by citing a bad example?

      March 27, 2011 at 1:16 am |
    • NL

      Lycidas
      "Some would say being a very very bad Christian might not make him a Christian at all."
      But, according to the weight of evidence, Hitler still believed in God, and not believing in God is the only criteria for being an atheist. So, no matter how bad a Christian he was he was still a Christian, and not an atheist, right?

      "But would it be right to judge a group of ppl by citing a bad example?"
      Of course not! Every group has bad apples. Same for every religion and for atheism too. It does extend to forms of religion and atheism too, however. Like Karen Armstrong said

      "There are some forms of religion that are bad, just as there's bad cooking or bad art or bad se.x, you have bad religion too."

      Biblical literalism is just plain silly. That book was never intended to be taken literally. Doing so only leads to bad religion.

      March 28, 2011 at 12:01 am |
  9. GoodbyeJeebus

    Amun Ra: How come nobody believes in me anymore? At one time I had the greatest civilization on earth bowing at my feet and worshiping me at the altar.

    Zues: Real talk. Those evil Greeks kicked me to the curb eventually.

    Itzamna: Can you believe I had an entire civilization sacrificing people in my honor? They all had the genuine belief I was god.

    Jesus: Is it getting hot in here or is it just me?

    March 25, 2011 at 8:59 am |
    • Atheism is the only truth

      Great post! 10/10 A+

      March 26, 2011 at 3:45 am |
  10. Ed

    I understand why people do not believe in a god i.e global suffering,religious attrocities. However when you look at the universe not only the beauty but also its size and the preciseness of its movement one is forced to wonder, How did it come into existence. A big bang sounds a bit far fetched. What is the chance everything will fall into precise positions from an explosion or even many explosions. Who or keeps calibrates these movements. One is forced to think and wonder. Have the creators of evolution missed a trick or are they to proud to admit they have made a mistake? Just wondering

    March 25, 2011 at 8:48 am |
    • David Johnson

      @Ed

      No little Ed, the evolutionists have not made a mistake. The religious are the ones in error. They see god(s) where none exist. They subst_itute faith for evidence and believe the one equals the other.

      The Big Bang is the most promising answer to how the universe was formed. Evolution, explains the diversity of organisms found on our planet. They are separate issues.

      Once the Big Bang ( more like big expansion) occurred, only time, inertia and gravity would have been necessary to form the entire universe.

      You mention the beauty of the universe, but you aren't considering all the evidence: for all its beauty and grandeur, the universe is also full horrible things. Babies born without brains, good people suffering monstrous tortures such as neurofibromatosis, evil people basking in the sun and enjoying long lives. Volcanoes erupting, earthquakes killing and maiming thousands, hurricanes and tsunamis blindly wiping out human life.

      Consider how the Evangelicals are attempting to reconcile science with their mythology. Many now accept that the earth is actually billions of years old. They claim the fossil records are from PreAdamic people, who god killed in a first flood. It is all just an attempt to keep their god from drowning in a sea of scientific discoveries.

      Cheers!

      March 25, 2011 at 9:38 am |
    • NL

      Ed-
      "A big bang sounds a bit far fetched."
      And an immortal super being who created an entire universe out of nothing and is also concerned over which fabrics you wear isn't far fetched?

      March 25, 2011 at 10:11 am |
    • Observer

      @Ed,

      We exist on this particular planet because out of the billions of chunks of rocks somewhat randomly floating in the universe, this one: is at the right distance from a sun; has an orbit that keeps temperatures consistent and compatible with life as we know it; has water and compounds that sustain life, etc. If you have followed the news recently, you've seen that scientists are excited to find other planets that might have similiar capabilities to support life. It is those conditions which make our wonderful world even possible and they could very well account for other wonderful worlds that we have yet to find.

      March 25, 2011 at 12:07 pm |
    • Atheism is the only truth

      Observer: Yes, true, I for one am excited to see advances in our space telescope technology and to see more images as we gaze deeper into space. I hope, sooner than later, we are able to identify other intelligent life out there on some other planet in the "Goldilocks zone" of some other star system. Can't wait! I hope we are able to communicate with them and that they come to visit us.

      March 26, 2011 at 12:47 am |
    • Observer

      @Atheism is the only truth,

      I agree completely. We are so fortunate to live in a time when satellites and space probes are exposing incredible "new" worlds.

      March 26, 2011 at 12:52 am |
  11. Sandman

    "Fewer than..."? Are you serious? 38%???

    Run that poll in Canada and see the result there, or even better run it in a European country and see the result. In the UK or N Europe you would be lucky to find one person in ten who thinks God has anything to do with disasters.

    38% is a sad reflection on the delusory nature of American society. 38% worship an imaginary psychopathic god who kills innocent people as a way of delivering his supposed message of love and redemption..... riiiiiight.

    The USA... the Iran of the civilised west.

    March 25, 2011 at 5:53 am |
    • Frederica

      @Sandman: Canada is Christian USA's colony and Europe was rescued by Christian USA only 6 to 2 decades ago.

      March 25, 2011 at 9:18 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @Frederica
      If Canada is a US colony, then why then did we burn down the White House?
      Why didn't we tag along with your pre-emptive war in Iraq?
      Why do we have a vastly different system of government?
      Why do we persists in our socialist tendencies that the US brands as "communism"?
      Why do we have The Queen on our currency and not a president?
      Why do we now have your poisonous puritanism underlying our national subconscious?
      Even though your arrogance may whisper that the whole continent is yours, I'm afraid that just isn't so.

      It's funny – I lived in Germany as the only Canadian on an American military base. The first and most useful phrase I learned to say in German was "I am not an American, I am Canadian thank you."
      It was amazing how quickly the locals would do a 180 in their treatment of me. They'd become infinitely friendlier and start speaking english to me – and it was the same everywhere I went in Europe.
      The prevailing international image of Americans is that you're arrogant, boorish bullies. People like you, Frederica, help to perpetuate that stereotype. Good job!

      March 25, 2011 at 9:57 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Whoopsy – that should read "Why do we NOT have your poisonous puritanism".

      March 25, 2011 at 9:58 am |
    • David Johnson

      @Sandman

      You said, "38% worship an imaginary psychopathic god who kills innocent people as a way of delivering his supposed message of love and redemption..... riiiiiight."

      God causes / allows our suffering, to bring us closer to Him. The agony, causes us to appreciate the goodness of god and to love Him more.

      This is much like the abusive husband and father, who beats his wife and children, that they might be drawn closer to him.

      Machiavelli on whether it is better to be loved or feared:
      “The answer is that one would like to be both the one and the other; but because it is difficult to combine them, it is far safer to be feared than loved if you cannot be both.”

      Cheers!

      March 25, 2011 at 10:02 am |
    • NL

      Frederica-
      Europe was rescued by Industrial USA during the wars. American soldiers weren't throwing bibles at the Germans. The Germans and Italians had their own bibles, and also fought thinking that God was on their side.

      Tornados only seem to affect two parts of Canada; the area around Alberta where their evangelical prime minister comes from, and southern Ontario where Justin Bieber comes from. Coincidence, or is God trying to scratch something off of creation?

      March 25, 2011 at 10:05 am |
    • NL

      Doc Vestibule-
      That's right, the White House only became white because it had to be painted over after it was torched by the last successful nation to invade America, Canada.

      March 25, 2011 at 10:19 am |
  12. Mighty Dane

    Unbelievable. Only in America to people get into heated religious vs nonreligious arguments. May be you should relax, guys, no one really cares what you believe in. Don't try to force people into becoming dogmatic atheists or gospel preachers. Just relax

    March 25, 2011 at 3:21 am |
    • Frederica

      Dane, don't preach your opinion and don't try to force it on people. Relax, yes.

      March 25, 2011 at 3:25 am |
    • Mighty Dane

      @Frederica, point taken. Amazing to see this debate on CNN forums. I got a new hobby for when my insomnia kicks in. 🙂

      March 25, 2011 at 3:40 am |
    • Lowkey

      "dogmatic atheists"??

      So our simple questions are somehow become dogma? "Where's your proof" is not a dogmatic query.

      The Mighty Dane is deflated. Try again "thorrsman". You can't hardly keep up anymore I guess.

      March 25, 2011 at 3:41 am |
    • Lowkey

      Sorry, I need to relax as well. At least you had one good idea. Okay, maybe two...

      March 25, 2011 at 3:43 am |
  13. Ed

    Atheist claim they are different, independent, intelligent. Yet, You are all followers and believers. The scientist/professors you quote have brainwashed you. The result you have become blind, just like so called christians who have been lied to by the clergy.
    Can science prove evolution? No they still looking for the missing link. Please get off your high horses because you are not different you have just been brainwashed by a different lie.

    March 25, 2011 at 2:59 am |
    • Evolved DNA

      Ed.. There is no missing link, the fossil record is of less importance as DNA evidence points the way ..evolution is as close to fact as you can get and new discoveries are happening all the time.. the facts are out there if you want to look. We are all the same, you are correct. I have never said we are different.. some Christians believe that you cannot be good with out god,therefore atheists are bad people, which is not true.

      March 25, 2011 at 3:22 am |
    • Frederica

      EvolvedDNA, yes, new scientific discoveries are pointing more and more that Someone intelligent created this world as the Bible says. Christians don't say atheists are bad people, I'd say atheists are hopeless, immoral and willfully ignorant.

      March 25, 2011 at 3:30 am |
    • HotAirAce

      @Frederica

      I believe you are willfully lying about science indicating an intelligent designer. Please provide a reference to support your assertion.

      March 25, 2011 at 3:50 am |
    • NL

      There's a big difference between accepting the research of a scientist, a biblical scholar, or a historian who can show you, step-by-step, how they came to their conclusions, or accepting what a Christian writer, or pastor gives as merely their opinion. Frankly, I'll take the findings of a John Dominic Crossan, who can show you to the smallest detail how he came to his conclusions, over any of his critics who dismiss him simply because his view of Jesus is non-traditional. It's the difference between actually understanding why you accept something, or not.

      March 25, 2011 at 9:43 am |
    • NL

      Frederica-
      "Christians don't say atheists are bad people, I'd say atheists are hopeless, immoral and willfully ignorant."
      Immoral, but not 'bad'. Well, that makes me feel a whole lot better! 😉

      Seriously, you know deep down that you don't have any real experience with atheists to base this on, right? It's just that you can't imagine how a person without belief in God could still be good. Basing notions of reality upon what is merely imagined is called delusion, you know? You might want to start thinking about just how deeply all of your thinking is infected by this.

      March 25, 2011 at 9:54 am |
    • Evolved DNA

      Frederica.. There are no scientific studies that support Intelligent design. I thought that one tenant of Christianity is that you try not to lie.. please advise the science that supports your claim. As far as your dislike of atheists that is as unfathomable as your insistence that you are better with god. Mind you, I think some people are far safer with a belief of a god controlling them and keeping the pressure low, than letting them see the reality..

      March 25, 2011 at 11:33 am |
    • myvoice

      @ HotAirAce –Here are a couple of references. Just Google 'Scientific studies supporting Intelligent Design'.

      http://www.discovery.org/a/2640

      http://winteryknight.wordpress.com/2010/12/19/eighteen-peer-reviewed-scientific-publications-that-support-intelligent-design/

      March 25, 2011 at 1:14 pm |
    • Atheism is the only truth

      You can find all kinds of BS websites by doing a google search, that doesn't mean it's "scientific evidence" that the scientific community believes is true. There is no evidence, religion keeps you stupid.

      March 26, 2011 at 12:27 am |
    • myvoice

      @Athieism is the only truth– Let me get this straight, you want to use science as a platform to dispute the existence of God but when science doesn't agree with you, you denounce that too. Things that make you go hummm. Just be honest, you really just don't want to believe and you can't prove that there is no way that God does not exist so you try to hide behind some of your 'BS' science arguments.

      March 26, 2011 at 12:15 pm |
    • Atheism is the only truth

      I never said use science as a platform to dispute the existance of god. No religious person can ever show any proof that god exists, you just make excuses as to why this cannot happen.
      Random websites on the internet is science? I can google for scientific websites that have a bunch of text on them proving that pigs fly, does that mean they do? no.
      You can't "prove" god is real, you have no proof, but I know the story of jesus isn't real, thus I know christianity isn't real.
      No one's hiding anything.
      There are all kinds of websites on the internet, just because there is text on the website doesn't mean it's true.
      I guess you believe everything you read?

      March 27, 2011 at 2:55 am |
    • Atheism is the only truth

      Here, I did a google search for arguments against proof of intelligent design.
      Becuase these sites exist, that means they must be true, using your flawed logic.

      http://ncse.com/rncse/17/3/elusive-scientific-basis-intelligent-design-theory
      http://www.edge.org/3rd_culture/coyne05/coyne05_index.html

      Right back at ya.

      March 27, 2011 at 3:30 am |
    • myvoice

      @Atheism is the only truth - You really sound so full of bitterness and hatred for the meer suggestion of a supreme God. I would rather believe in God and treat people with respect rather than not believe and spew such hatred remarks toward others. You call us ignorant and stupid (your list was much longer) and you seem to truly believe that. Do you have family members that believe? What about any nurses or doctors or did you ever attend school under a teacher that believed? So you continually degrade every person that cares or has cared for you as a person when you group all believers together in such a negative way. I will pray for you. Even if you never choose to believe, I will pray that you will let go of this anger and bitterness toward people of faith.

      March 27, 2011 at 10:35 am |
  14. Frederica

    With or without natural disasters, people all die. Everyone of us has only limited time on earth. Natural disasters remind all of us survivors humans are morally responsible beings waiting for judgment and in need of the Divine Savior Jesus. God is all-wise and sovereign over all matters. Praises to Him alone forever and ever. Amen.

    March 25, 2011 at 2:22 am |
    • Atheism is the only truth

      Why do less (mentally) evolved human beings create and believe in "god" and/or any "religion" ?

      1. Causal Determinism (some humans are hard wired to need answers)...to explain phenomena, afterlife, the unknown they do not YET have answers for.

      2. Coping mechanism for Death/starvation/natural disaster/etc.

      3. Maintain social order, instill morality on society etc.

      The problem is when we don’t find a logical answer, we settle for a stupid one.
      Ritual is what happens when we run out of rational answers.
      Some people are afraid to look to science and accept that life might end at death and nothing follows afterward.
      To alleviate this anxiety and fear, they believe and have faith in the supernatural to help them cope.
      There is no proof that any god of any religion exists, and there never will be, because it's all man made and not real.

      Once upon a time, it was necessary to have a god to be able to answer all the mysteries in the world. Science has eroded this need by discovering explanations for much of what humanity did not know at the time of "jesus", who never actually existed, the story of jesus is the same story told in other religions, tweaked to fit christianity, it isn't real. Of course, one would expect anyone, who has devoted their life to religion, to find reasons to believe in supernatural beings but they simply no longer fit. So, rationalizing is required to make them fit. And the emphasis is on faith because faith is the only way it does fit. But faith is nothing more that the ability to fool yourself into believing in the unbelievable. But much like children eventually understand that they were fooled by their parents into believing in Santa Clause, humanity is slowly growing out of the childlike phase of believing in supernatural beings. Imagine what it would be like not to have terrorism based on which religion you do or don't believe in. Imagine what it would be like if we did the humane and just things we should do, not because some big brother in the sky is looking over our shoulder but because it's simply the right thing to do. That is where the myriad versions of the golden rule come from – humans doing the right things because it's how they want themselves to be treated. This is why the number of atheists has been growing at a steady rate, and eventually there will not be a need for religion, because man will evolve out of this childlike phase completely.

      March 25, 2011 at 5:19 am |
    • Ethos with pathos

      Yay, more copy/pasting from Aitot

      March 25, 2011 at 5:09 pm |
    • Atheism is the only truth

      Cry more. Read it, you might learn something. That is unless you would prefer to be ignorant.

      March 26, 2011 at 12:44 am |
    • Lycidas

      @Aitot- Heck, I don't think you understand it. Copy/pasting isn't exactly a sign of a well thought belief.

      March 27, 2011 at 1:12 am |
    • Atheism is the only truth

      I'm sorry you're so blinded by your primitive religious beliefs that you don't bother reading the content and try to learn something instead of continuing to be ignorant.

      March 27, 2011 at 3:27 am |
    • Lycidas

      Nothing primitive in my beliefs.

      March 27, 2011 at 4:56 pm |
  15. Atheism is the only truth

    Why do less (mentally) evolved human beings create and believe in "god" and/or any "religion" ?

    1. Causal Determinism (some humans are hard wired to need answers)...to explain phenomena, afterlife, the unknown they do not YET have answers for.

    2. Coping mechanism for Death/starvation/natural disaster/etc.

    3. Maintain social order, instill morality on society etc.

    The problem is when we don’t find a logical answer, we settle for a stupid one.
    Ritual is what happens when we run out of rational answers.
    Some people are afraid to look to science and accept that life might end at death and nothing follows afterward.
    To alleviate this anxiety and fear, they believe and have faith in the supernatural to help them cope.
    There is no proof that any god of any religion exists, and there never will be, because it's all man made and not real.

    Once upon a time, it was necessary to have a god to be able to answer all the mysteries in the world. Science has eroded this need by discovering explanations for much of what humanity did not know at the time of "jesus", who never actually existed, the story of jesus is the same story told in other religions, tweaked to fit christianity, it isn't real. Of course, one would expect anyone, who has devoted their life to religion, to find reasons to believe in supernatural beings but they simply no longer fit. So, rationalizing is required to make them fit. And the emphasis is on faith because faith is the only way it does fit. But faith is nothing more that the ability to fool yourself into believing in the unbelievable. But much like children eventually understand that they were fooled by their parents into believing in Santa Clause, humanity is slowly growing out of the childlike phase of believing in supernatural beings. Imagine what it would be like not to have terrorism based on which religion you do or don't believe in. Imagine what it would be like if we did the humane and just things we should do, not because some big brother in the sky is looking over our shoulder but because it's simply the right thing to do. That is where the myriad versions of the golden rule come from – humans doing the right things because it's how they want themselves to be treated. This is why the number of atheists has been growing at a steady rate, and eventually there will not be a need for religion, because man will evolve out of this childlike phase completely.

    Stories similar/identical to the story of jesus, and proof it is not real.

    Alexandria: Aion
    Asia Minor: Attis
    Babylonia: Antiochus
    Egypt: Osiris and Horus
    Greece: Dionysus and Asclepius
    Syria: Adonis
    Italy: Bacchus Persia: Mithras

    The reason why all these narratives are so similar, with a godman who are born to virgins, who were born in caves or mangers, who were visited by 3 wise men, who lives were threatened by evil rulers, who had to flee for his life, who was at 12 noon in the house or temple of the "Most High" thereby beginning "his Father's work" at "age" 12, who begins their ministry at the age of 30, who was tempted by a Devil, who has 12 followers or disciples, who later sends out the 72 disciples, who walked on water, who raised the dead, who does miracles, who was crowned with thorns, who was crucified and resurrected after 3 days, who descended into hell for these 3 days, who rose again after 3 days, who ascended into Heaven, is that these stories were based on the movements of the sun through the heavens, an astrotheological development that can be found throughout the planet because the sun and the 12 zodiac signs can be observed around the globe. This same story is repeated down through history over and over again in almost every sun worshipping nation under "the Sun".

    March 25, 2011 at 1:27 am |
    • Observer

      Atheists cannot prove that God doesn't exist. Believers cannot prove that God does exist.

      They could both be wrong. There may be a God that is far more like Jesus in the Bible than the often vain, arrogant, mass-killer God portrayed in the Bible.

      March 25, 2011 at 1:31 am |
    • Atheism is the only truth

      – Quote:
      The Bible says God is almighty who answers your prayers. So how do you know if God is real other than that faith crap? Try the power of prayer when an earthly situation occurs which is beyond your control and only an almighty God who created the universe and all life can control.

      Suppose you or a close family member has a terminal disease like cancer which cannot be medically cured? A certain time line is given, so like all hopeful human beings, you humbly and diligently pray to the almighty God who says in the Bible he answers prayers. Time and reality passes, the disease takes it's toll, and your prayers go unanswered.

      Maybe one in a million may be saved, but looking at a 99.9999% failure rate for prayer is evidence that God does not exist. Now, compare it to an atheist who suffers the same terminal disease and wishes for healing. The same 99.9999% failure rate occurs.

      Now compare it to a devout Muslim suffering the same terminal disease and prays to his/her god for healing, and still results in a 99.9999% failure rate. Similarly, the Hindu, Jew, Buddhist, etc... all face 99.9999% failure rates.

      Doesn't this indicate you you that there is no God? Perhaps one of the numerous worshiped gods do exist, but wouldn't that omnipotent god produce better than a 99.9999% failure rate, or else what is the purpose of worshiping that god if he doesn't answer your prayers? Doesn't common logic and sense exist anymore?
      – End quote.

      Why use logic when believing in a supernatural power, that cannot be proven exists, is so much more convenient? Why risk not being able to explain something when you can simply make it up and fill in the blanks with nonsense?

      March 25, 2011 at 1:39 am |
    • Observer

      The problem for believers and atheists is that for most of them, their expectation is that for a God to exist, he should be as described in the Bible. While it may be quite easy to use logic to dismiss the existence of God from the Bible, there is nothing so conclusive to dismiss the existence of some deity that we don't know about, such as a God that stays completely separate from man and only judges them on the lives they lived.
      Bottom line: neither believers nor atheists can prove their points.

      March 25, 2011 at 1:53 am |
    • Atheism is the only truth

      Atheists can prove that the stuff believers reference as proof, is not proof at all, hence we can prove our points. The belief in something greater than man, such as a deity, or "god", is nothing more than a psychological crutch that man used in the past for the aforementioned reasons. This crutch is no longer needed nor necessary, and is also the reason the number of atheists is growing.

      March 25, 2011 at 2:02 am |
    • Observer

      "Atheists can prove that the stuff believers reference as proof, is not proof at all, hence we can prove our points."

      Nope. You can "prove" that the stuff of the Bible is not proof. That certainly does not prove that other deities don't exist.

      For now, AGNOSTICISM is the only "truth".

      March 25, 2011 at 2:06 am |
    • Mighty Dane

      Observer has struck gold. We don't even master our surroundings and the universe, so to claim Atheism, Catholicism, Islam ... is absolute truth is preposterous. You can prove the existence of a deity, you can't prove there is no deity either. You ca only attempt to prove a certain deity exists not.

      March 25, 2011 at 3:26 am |
    • Atheism is the only truth

      I respectfully disagree. The existence of a deity is unknown or unknowable because it isn't real, not because there isn't any evidence to prove/disprove it exists. You cannot prove something doesn't exist, when it doesn't exist. The belief in god and religion is nothing more than a psychological crutch that primitive man used to help him get through life and deal with the anxiety and stress of death and the unknown, as stated above in another post in this thread. You can be agnostic. I'll be atheist because I understand the psychology behind god and religion, where they came from, and why man created them.

      March 25, 2011 at 5:09 am |
    • David Johnson

      @Observer

      You said: "Nope. You can "prove" that the stuff of the Bible is not proof. That certainly does not prove that other deities don't exist.
      For now, AGNOSTICISM is the only "truth"."

      I think Atheism is the default position. And is the only truth, until something can be proven.

      I can't prove Santa, unicorns, satyrs, fiery serpents etc. aren't real. But I can say they don't exist, until we find proof that they do exist.

      Everyday, society decides what is real and not real, by a preponderance of the evidence. You don't believe in Santa do you?

      We can show that individual gods are most unlikely. Does that mean that no gods exist? No, but it works until someone proves a god exists. Until that happens, Santa and the god(s) don't exist.

      Cheers!

      March 25, 2011 at 10:59 am |
    • Observer

      @David Johnson,
      You said "We can show that individual gods are most unlikely. Does that mean that no gods exist? No". That is my point.

      If there was only one choice available and it was whether atheists are right or believers are right, it's quite possible that most agnostics would side with the atheists based on what is in the Bible. But that is not the issue here. Believers BELIEVE that God exists and atheists BELIEVE that gods don't exist. Neither side can prove their point and that is what agnostics KNOW.

      March 25, 2011 at 11:49 am |
    • Magic

      Observer,
      "Believers BELIEVE that God exists and atheists BELIEVE that gods don't exist. Neither side can prove their point and that is what agnostics KNOW."

      There is a semantic distinction between the terms 'atheist' and 'agnostic', but the bottom line (excuse the cliche) is that neither one holds a god figure in mind.

      Even if one claims not to know if there is a god, the conduct of his/her daily life reflects the absence of one. You don't pray to or worship a god that you don't know is there or not. You don't worship Jesus one day and Allah the next and Zeus the next. You don't pray one day and not the next.

      Atheism means, a=without, theism=belief in a god. Some atheists claim 100% certainty of this, but many (if not most) don't. The evidence for a god is not sufficient, so they are "without belief" in one.

      March 25, 2011 at 6:57 pm |
    • Ethos with pathos

      @Magic- Thank you for your well thought out point of view. It's a refreshing change of pace on here.

      March 25, 2011 at 7:00 pm |
    • NL

      Observer-
      "For now, AGNOSTICISM is the only "truth"."
      Nobody, no believer and no atheist, knows for certain that God does, or does not exist, right? Both, however, have decided to live their lives according to God's being real, or not. What does that say about agnostics? They haven't made up their minds yet? Kinda of a big thing to be uncertain of, isn't it? If you spend your whole life being uncertain then you've been a poor believer unworthy of salvation, and a poor atheist wasting valuable time worrying about a non-threat.

      March 28, 2011 at 12:14 am |
  16. Observer

    @Alex,

    Which version of the Bible mentions California? The more than 20 different English versions seem to omit it.

    March 25, 2011 at 1:18 am |
  17. Light

    Yes god is responsible for everything in the unvierse, including disaster

    March 25, 2011 at 12:53 am |
    • pProf

      It is true that God brings devastating events into our lives. Both the kindness and severity of God are intended to bring us to repent of our sins and to embrace Jesus by faith, so that we might know God.

      March 25, 2011 at 1:04 am |
    • HeavenSent

      Amen. Life is a test and 2nd chance from God. Love and follow Jesus (truth), and live spiritually while in human form on earth, as it is in Heaven and reside with Him for eternity. 2nd Choice with the free will that He gave us, love and follow satan (lies) and you die spiritually while housed in human form on earth, as it is in Heaven. Then the Day of the Lord, still don't believe. He obliges everyone of their desires. If you still refuse Him. It's simple. No eternity for you.

      Choose wisely. Jesus is not the bad guy for those that love and follow Him.

      Amen.

      March 25, 2011 at 1:19 am |
    • EvolvedDNA

      pProf.. I think that a god could do better than the apparent convoluted, contorted methods he uses to get us to know him..how about a simple " Hi I'm God, your creator, what questions about the universe would you like ? ...Why destroy countless lives and cause extreme suffering just because he cannot get an email connection in heaven..I would have thought the Ethernet would have been available up there at least..

      March 25, 2011 at 1:22 am |
    • Atheism is the only truth

      read my post below, ye sheep.

      March 25, 2011 at 1:29 am |
    • EvolvedDNA

      Heavensent Life is most definitely not a test it is the real thing.. to be a myth controlled carcass does not secure anything except a dread of life and a ghoulish fascination with death. A god that continually needs to be loved and worshiped has to have some issues...what point would such a being ascribe to such acts? Blindly following your early human superst-itions and pagan rituals are quaint but of no real value to human existence. You are also a proud member of the great ape family, along with Bonobos, Chimps and Gorillas... so if we were created in his image he could be very hairy .

      so be it.

      March 25, 2011 at 1:55 am |
  18. Reality

    A view of God and natural disasters from Father Edward Schillebeeckx, the famous contemporary theologian:

    from his book: Church: The Human Story of God,
    Crossroad, 1993, p.91 (softcover)

    "Christians must give up a perverse, unhealthy and inhuman doctrine of predestination without in so doing making God the great scapegoat of history" .

    "Nothing is determined in advance: in nature there is chance and determinism; in the world of human
    activity there is possibility of free choices. Therefore the historical future is not known even to God; otherwise we
    and our history would be merely a puppet show in which God holds the strings.

    For God, too, history is an adventure, an open history for and of men and women."

    ..........................................................................................................................................................................

    March 25, 2011 at 12:10 am |
    • PProf

      Agreed that it is an adventure for God, humanly speaking, but of course God declares the end from the beginning. He knows all that will come to pass. Behold, our God is in the heavens; he does whatever he pleases. And none can stay his hand, or say, What are you doing!

      March 25, 2011 at 12:53 am |
    • HeavenSent

      Well, you buddy blew it because His Story is already written. It's called the Bible. The truth about Life and the hereafter.

      Amen.

      March 25, 2011 at 1:13 am |
    • Atheism is the only truth

      Jesus didn't exist, its just a story, and it isn’t real.

      Stories similar/identical to the story of jesus.

      Alexandria: Aion
      Asia Minor: Attis
      Babylonia: Antiochus
      Egypt: Osiris and Horus
      Greece: Dionysus and Asclepius
      Syria: Adonis
      Italy: Bacchus
      Persia: Mithras

      The reason why all these narratives are so similar, with a godman who are born to virgins, who were born in caves or mangers, who were visited by 3 wise men, who lives were threatened by evil rulers, who had to flee for his life, who was at 12 noon in the house or temple of the "Most High" thereby beginning "his Father's work" at "age" 12, who begins their ministry at the age of 30, who was tempted by a Devil, who has 12 followers or disciples, who later sends out the 72 disciples, who walked on water, who raised the dead, who does miracles, who was crowned with thorns, who was crucified and resurrected after 3 days, who descended into hell for these 3 days, who rose again after 3 days, who ascended into Heaven, is that these stories were based on the movements of the sun through the heavens, an astrotheological development that can be found throughout the planet because the sun and the 12 zodiac signs can be observed around the globe. This same story is repeated down through history over and over again in almost every sun worshipping nation under "the Sun".
      Do your research before you so blindly believe your religious beliefs, whatever that may be.

      March 25, 2011 at 5:20 am |
  19. tallulah13

    It's funny that someone who calls themselves the greek words for "emotions with ethical appeal" is neither ethical nor appealing.

    March 24, 2011 at 11:54 pm |
    • Ethos with pathos

      Funny that you offer up absolutely nothing but your biased opinion 😉

      March 24, 2011 at 11:59 pm |
    • Ethos with pathos

      plz reference the book "The Prophets" by Rabbi Heschel for the meaning of pathos in reference to God. It's a good book.

      March 25, 2011 at 12:00 am |
    • tallulah13

      And yet the term is Greek, and was used Aristotle, an ancient Greek, which predates your Rabbi. And you persist in being rude to those who don't agree with you, therefore I stand by my statement.

      March 25, 2011 at 12:16 am |
    • HeavenSent

      How would you know taullulah13, I thought your ancestors were apes.

      Amen.

      March 25, 2011 at 1:11 am |
    • Frederica

      HeavenSent, that's so funny and so true!

      March 25, 2011 at 2:24 am |
    • tallulah13

      Heaven Scent, Fredrica:

      I wasn't going to respond to you, but neither of you seem to have any understanding of human evolution. Here's a very basic primer: Evolution shows that humans and apes evolved from a common ancestor. Even if you don't believe in something, you should have a basic idea of what you are opposed to. For example, I was raised around christians and one point in my life I went to church and did basic bible study. When I discovered that I didn't believe, I understood exactly what I found to be unbelievable.

      Also, the truth remains that Ethos and Pathos are both Greek words, used by Aristotle long before the previously mentioned Rabbi sought to change the meanings in his own writings. The earth and humanity have a rich and fascinating history. You should read about it some time.

      March 25, 2011 at 10:38 am |
    • Cindy

      Rabbi Herchel: argues that religious experience is a fundamentally human impulse, not just a Jewish one, and that no religious community could claim a monopoly on religious truth.

      March 25, 2011 at 1:52 pm |
    • Ethos with pathos

      @tallulah13- See, you are commenting about something you don't understand. I do believe that a Rabbi can reference such terms if they go with his topic. BTW, Judaism might predate Aristotle by a few years 😉

      @Cindy- Thank you, finally a person that knows something on here.

      March 25, 2011 at 2:19 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Unless Rabbi Hershel wrote his book before Aristotle wrote his works, the age of judaism doesn't even come into play.

      Ethos and Pathos are Greek words, used by the Greek philosopher Aristotle. Ethos is credibility, Pathos is emotion. You are right about emotion. You certainly get very emotional when people don't agree with you. But mileage definitely varies on credibility.

      March 25, 2011 at 7:32 pm |
    • Ethos with pathos

      @tallulah13- I am confused why you seem upset that a Rabbi is using the terms. What's the problem. And not suprisingly, you do not understand what pathos or ethos means in the manner I am referring to them. But plz, keep guessing. It amuses me 🙂

      March 25, 2011 at 9:31 pm |
  20. myvoice

    You know, living in a country where there is freedom of religion also means for many, freedom from religion. I respect your freedom to not believe in my God, so please refrain from the negative attacking comments. I have the freedom to believe in the true Living God. One God in three persons: God the Father (Creator), God the Son (Savior) and God the Holy Spirit (Comforter). I only have to look closely at all of the different plants and animals in all of their varieties and colors, each different sea creature in the vast ocean waters, each different insect with their unique contributions (like the honey bees), the way the body functions from head to toe, and so on and on, to know that no Big Bang Theory could ever orchestrate such a complex life system and keep it in balance. One simple challenge to those of you so quick to exclaim Him a myth or fairytale, just ask Him to reveal himself to you. Ask Him to show you the TRUTH about Himself and then sit back and watch with wonderment of all that He will reveal to you.

    March 24, 2011 at 11:50 pm |
    • tallulah13

      It's funny, the more I look at the wonder of nature, the less room I find for god. It's a personal thing. You see what you see, I see what I see. The more I learned about natural science, the more I realized that there was no need for a god; in fact, I was making excuses for the existence of a god. When I realized that, I realized that I was, in truth, an atheist.

      March 24, 2011 at 11:58 pm |
    • Ethos with pathos

      If you find fulfillment with all that, good for you. Exactly how does that have to do with the purpose of this thread again?

      March 25, 2011 at 12:05 am |
    • Chakka

      You ask that people refrain from negative attacking comments; yet, you rush on to announce your belief and urge others to join you. You offer your simple challenge to people that have studied theology for years and expect us to 'watch in wonderment' as we are transformed? You 'respect' our freedom to not believe; then, you yank that respect away when you try to get us to accept Jesus.

      People that hold little/no faith in religions have already been down that road. We perceive the process of science and nature differently than people that grasp theology. I respect your right to believe whatever you choose. And, unlike you, will uphold that respect by not working to control your ideology.

      March 25, 2011 at 12:10 am |
    • myvoice

      Hi tallulah! I do agree; it is a very personal choice. I still extend my original challenge to you and I would like to include one more thought. Everything that we produce as humans must first become an idea and then be researched and developed. Why would we think that our world and all that is naturally in it could just happen without a plan or purpose? There are just too many pieces to this puzzle that are required for life as we know it. I just can't believe that it 'just happens'. Deep within, I believe that God is the one who put it in place and keeps it in balance. I do hope that you will one day experience Him through all that He has created. I do wish you the best and thanks for sharing your thoughts with me.

      March 25, 2011 at 12:20 am |
    • tallulah13

      Ew/P: I don't know if you were speaking to me or the original poster, but I was responding to the individual post, not the entire thread. Myvoice's comment didn't really have anything to do with the topic either, so I felt my answer was in keeping with this comment.

      If you were not responding to me, I apologize.

      March 25, 2011 at 12:23 am |
    • myvoice

      To Chakka, I was in no way forcing my beliefs on anyone. I could not do that if I wanted to because we are free to make our own choices about whether to believe or not to believe in anything. I only entered my comments because there were so many harsh negative comments aimed at believers. The challenge I presented was one that I took myself many years ago when I just wanted to know the truth. I had heard many different preachers speak and some with different interpretations of the same scripture. I just wanted to know the truth so I started seeking Him (the truth) for myself. I thank you too, for sharing your thoughts with me.

      March 25, 2011 at 12:41 am |
    • tallulah13

      myvoice, while I respect your beliefs, I just can't see it that way. It's amazing what can be accomplished with simple matter and enough time - and the universe is very, very old. The earth is pretty old, too. I can't find a divine plan in a world that has stumbled forward, where most of the species that have ever existed have gone extinct. I cannot put in words how much I value the life on this planet, because it is so fragile, but I can't find a single instance where a divine power was needed.

      I respect that you believe what you do. I can only hope that you respect other beliefs. I used to think I was christian, but I can't honestly believe in a god when I have to make excuses for that god to exist. To pretend that I believe would be a lie, and I was raised to tell the truth.

      March 25, 2011 at 12:49 am |
    • myvoice

      tallulah, of course, I respect your views. I am very grateful that you have taken your time to share them with me. I am currently studying geology so I am experiencing many new discoveries about this world we live in, more the planet we live on. I am amazed at much of what we have been taught so far.

      March 25, 2011 at 1:06 am |
    • HeavenSent

      myvoice, good post since God created ALL. Even the non-believers are God's test to the rest of us to practice patience.

      Amen.

      March 25, 2011 at 1:09 am |
    • Atheism is the only truth

      If believing in the supernatural helps you get through your day, good for you. There are those of us who realize that religion and belief in a "god" is unnecessary, and we don't need it to explain the unknown, to cope, to learn morals. We are not afraid of death, or the unknown of what happens when you die, we don't need to believe in a god to try to explain the complexities of the universe. It will all be explained with science eventually.

      March 25, 2011 at 1:32 am |
    • tallulah13

      Thank you, myvoice. It's a lovely thing, to have a civilized conversation with someone with differing opinion. I hope you enjoy your geological studies. No matter our religious beliefs, I'm sure we both can agree that the Earth is a marvelous and beautiful place, and that we should do our best to protect it.

      March 25, 2011 at 1:41 am |
    • God

      Well, you know the Big Bang Theory originated from the ideas of a Belgian priest named Georges Lemaitre. You're giving me much more credit than I deserve. The truth is, your observations are more attributable to your imagination than my handiwork. If I agreed that all in the Firmament are the results of the works of My mighty hand then I would be no better than the rooster who takes credit for the dawn. The fact that you point out to people that you know something they don't know simply because they don't see things the same way you do (irregardless of the American's freedom of religion bit) sort of proves you don't get my message. One person lording their view over another (regardless of how soft you do it) sounds more to me like the kind of things I hear from Satan.

      March 25, 2011 at 1:54 am |
    • 3rdMLNM

      All religions on earth and their gods are "imanigary false gods"
      concocted by greedy, crook, ignorant, or naive human beings!

      But here is the one and only real GOD and His true RELIGION
      who has created His Universe and His Word
      thus in a "Superb Mathematical Language,"

      no human or no extraterrestrials can NEVER bring a Message like this,
      right here now:

      http://www.holy-19-harvest.com

      If any atheist, agnostic here can meet this challenge and bring a "Mathematical Message" like this, I will join them,
      otherwise know that there is truly a GOD in heaven, now and forever!

      March 25, 2011 at 6:34 am |
    • 3rdMLNM

      Jesus said:

      In the beginning of this most anticipated THIRD and LAST "DAY" (=MILLENNIUM)
      please, in this regard certainly see Psalms 90/4 = John 6/40, 44-45 first of all)

      There will be Signs in the Sun, the Moon and the Stars,
      and on earth Nations will be in dismay,
      perplexed by the roaring of the SEA and the –those historic Tsunami– WAVES!

      Some people will die of fright in anticipation of what is coming upon the World,
      for the powers of the heavens will be –through those historic (8 or 9 magnitude) Quakes– SHAKEN!

      And then they will see the SON OF MAN coming in a CLOUD with Power and great Glory!

      So when these SIGNS begin to happen, stand erect and raise your heads, because your Redemption
      is at hand; (Luke 21/25-28)
      right here now:

      http://www.holy-19-harvest.com

      March 25, 2011 at 6:43 am |
    • David Johnson

      @HeavenSent

      You said: " Even the non-believers are God's test to the rest of us to practice patience."

      Tell us some more about your weird beliefs. LOL

      Cheers!

      March 25, 2011 at 8:56 am |
    • myvoice

      @GOD–One person lording their view over another (regardless of how soft you do it) sounds more to me like the kind of things I hear from Satan.
      Do you ever get tired of talking to yourself?
      “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.” – Matthew 7:15 KJV
      Not just anyone can successfully play the part of GOD. Your performance lacks much to be desired.

      March 25, 2011 at 1:45 pm |
    • Lycidas

      @Atheism is the only truth: No one asked you what you don't believe. Go to the Belief Never board.

      March 25, 2011 at 2:16 pm |
    • Bob R Jurney

      Amen, Myvoice

      March 25, 2011 at 5:10 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      David, we have to practice patience with all you spiritually dead walking among us. Dry bones, wells without water. None of you knowing what you do. You send yourself to the eternal flames to be blotted out for eternity. In other words, no soup for you.

      Amen.

      March 25, 2011 at 9:54 pm |
    • Atheism is the only truth

      Lycidas
      @Atheism is the only truth: No one asked you what you don't believe. Go to the Belief Never board.

      Did god make you type that? Do you believe in Santa Clause too? If not, why not? PROVE IT!

      March 26, 2011 at 3:42 am |
    • Jay Gardner

      I guess I'm one of those who is still waiting for the memo from the big one in the sky. Haven't received Iit yet and don't believe I ever will. You might actually read a real book on science sometime. Everything we observe in the natural world is perfectly explicable through natural causation. A deity wasn't needed to get the whole thing cranking at the moment of the Big Bang and certainly isn't needed to explain the intricacies of speciation. The world will be a much better place when no one believes in God. We can then get on with the serious business of making this planet a decent place to live for every human with adequate housing, food, quality education, quality healthcare, safe working conditions, and a secure retirement guaranteed as a basic human right.

      March 26, 2011 at 8:23 pm |
    • Lycidas

      @Aitot- Why? Tell me the criteria it would take for you to believe in God. If you can.

      March 27, 2011 at 1:09 am |
    • Atheism is the only truth

      Any proof that humans have used to prove anything else is real, ever, in recorded human history.

      You didn't answer my question. Do you believe in Santa Clause too? If not, why not?

      March 27, 2011 at 2:51 am |
    • Lycidas

      Why would I believe in Santa Claus?

      Oh, and I feel love...and love is real. I feel God in my life like love...therefor God is real. Good enough for you?

      You do feel that love is real right?

      March 27, 2011 at 4:55 pm |
    • Sharone

      I appreciate your comments! We have an awesome God and we are blessed that He has revealed Himself to us. That road leading down is wide and well travelled. Except by the grace of God go I! Bless you!

      March 30, 2011 at 9:03 pm |
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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.