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. Jimmy Crack Corn

    Im not surprised people still think Natural Disasters are a sign from God. We are the same species that used to believe cutting out the heart of a human and offering it to the sun would keep the sun moving. Aztec Indians for those of you who are confused by what I mean.

    March 24, 2011 at 7:17 pm |
    • Atheism is the only truth

      With regards to worshipping the sun, that's where the story of "jesus" came from.

      other stories the same as 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".
      I read about those and found it very interesting.

      March 26, 2011 at 2:25 am |
  2. Pyrrho

    How can Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor, come up with this headline " Poll: Few Americans believe natural disasters are signs from God" when the survey showed that "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". Mr Marrapodi needs a serious session with the dictionary definition of "few". 4 out 10 Americans is about 120 million Americans. Maybe Mr Marrapodi would like to invite those "few" Americans over for dinner?

    March 24, 2011 at 7:08 pm |
  3. Terry W. Brookman

    God does not cause these things but there are warnings and if they are ignored then there are consequences. The warnings are proof of the existence of a higher power, how else could you account for the fact that some people can tell what will happen hundreds of years in the future. When I was younger I had dreams of future events that were so accurate that my friends told me to never tell them if I dreamed about them, even if it was a good dream. Where that comes from I have no idea, I guess I could say God talks to me but the truth is I just don't know.

    March 24, 2011 at 7:07 pm |
  4. George

    I dont know how people live without a personal relationship with God. The bible says – the fool has said in his heart there is no God. WAKE UP PEOPLE

    March 24, 2011 at 7:04 pm |
    • Jenn

      You're a fool for believing such a thing exists. WAKE UP!

      March 24, 2011 at 7:06 pm |
    • Darth Cheney

      You can come up with any story you want and qualify it with "the fool has said in his heart" that it isn't true. Proves absolutely nothing.

      March 24, 2011 at 7:08 pm |
    • PraiseTheLard

      Since you didn't specify, which of the numerous gods that have been worshiped during mankind's history do you have in mind?

      March 24, 2011 at 11:22 pm |
    • Atheism is the only truth

      I was never brainwashed as a child, and I'm a more evolved human being that doesn't need to associate the supernatural with answers to questions about things I do not yet have answers to. I don't need to believe in make believe to help me get through the day or live my life or cope with the anxiety of death. The bible is a collection of stories, some plagarized, most stolen from even more primitive and older civilizations and religions, put into a single publication. Why do you believe something written 2000 years ago by ignorant people that thought the earth was flat?
      Why is there no proof that god exists?

      March 26, 2011 at 2:22 am |
  5. dave

    I certainly feel better about my faith after reading all of these comments. As the Bible says ( u know the book that millions try to disprove) in those last days men will be scoffers of the truth. Anyway the clock is ticking quickly. The bible has laid it all out clearly. My suggestion is at least find out for yourself and dont play with ignorance..!! Watch israel and the middle east. Get out of the mainline churchs as they have thrown out the bible and now tickle the ears of so many ppl. Find a bible believing church.

    March 24, 2011 at 6:59 pm |
    • Mike E.

      I'm weary of those who scream out loud "I'm a Christian! I'm saved!" only because Jesus warned us about them.

      March 24, 2011 at 7:02 pm |
    • Maybe

      Mike E.

      Are you: weary = tired, or wary = cautious? Maybe both; but there is a difference.

      March 24, 2011 at 7:11 pm |
    • kite005

      There is nothing to try to disprove. There is no proof offered.

      March 24, 2011 at 7:21 pm |
    • Atheism is the only truth

      Dave, I really honestly feel sorry for you. You're one of those that reads the bible and takes meanings literally from it. Do you know why religion was created in the first place? Did you know the bible is actually a collection of plagarized stories, word of mouth stories, and others, stolen from other earlier civilizations/religions, that were written by ignorant people who thought the earth was flat? did you know the story of jesus isn't real, and has been proven it's simply a plagarized story with the names changed to fit a specific religion? do you have any idea about the psychology about religion and god, and why they even exist?
      why isn't there any proof that god is real?

      March 26, 2011 at 2:19 am |
  6. keeth in cali

    Only control queens believe in an angry, vengeful god.

    March 24, 2011 at 6:57 pm |
    • sargeanton

      You'll find out just how angry and vengeful He is when you meet Him - as everyone will someday.

      March 24, 2011 at 7:01 pm |
    • PraiseTheLard

      sargeanton wrote: "You'll find out just how angry and vengeful He is when you meet Him – as everyone will someday."

      And you know this how???

      March 24, 2011 at 7:12 pm |
    • kite005

      And you know this how???... Fred Phelps said so!

      March 24, 2011 at 7:23 pm |
    • PraiseTheLard

      Fred Phelps said so?? In that case, it must be true...

      March 24, 2011 at 11:20 pm |
  7. Pray Anyway

    That's the beauty of not trying to predict the end times. Most people would not beleive that the end was right around the corner anyway and when it does happen there's not much you could do about it anyway. My faith in the creator (Jehovah) calls on me to do one thing... focus on how you live. What is your faith telling you to do?

    March 24, 2011 at 6:56 pm |
  8. tom

    lol there is no god.

    March 24, 2011 at 6:54 pm |
    • Caroline

      Paslm 14:1 "The fool has said in his heart, "There is no God'"

      March 24, 2011 at 7:17 pm |
    • crucified

      Preach it Sister!!!!!!

      March 24, 2011 at 7:32 pm |
    • big buddha

      Matthew 5:22 KJV

      But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.

      March 24, 2011 at 10:36 pm |
    • Atheism is the only truth

      There's no proof, nor will there ever be, because religion and god is man made.

      Those that are religious are more primitive and less evolved human beings, or they were brainwashed and don't know any better.

      If being religious helps you get through your life, good for you, I wish you well. You can acquire the same mental state from meditation, without being religious. I personally, don't need to believe in the supernatural to answer all the complexities of the universe.

      March 26, 2011 at 1:08 am |
  9. Darlene

    Yes I believe that God causes these disasters because of all of the wars and fighting between nations and as far as babies and children go GOD IS CALLING THEM TO HIM SO THEY DO NOT SUFFER FROM HUNGER AND MEDICAL HELP. There is a GOD you better believe that.

    March 24, 2011 at 6:53 pm |
    • Darth Cheney

      So what about the more than a billion (many of them small children) who suffer but do not die? I guess GOD gets His jollies watching them suffer for a while.

      March 24, 2011 at 7:07 pm |
    • Balstrome

      So you are saying that your God loves to kill innocent kids? Who are you? Fred Phelps?

      March 24, 2011 at 7:09 pm |
    • crucified

      @balstrome ....Are home is not here... but in Heaven.. we are just visiting to make Atheist really unhappy...and try to show a few that there is more to life than being selfish and end up worm food. as for the children they are going to our home.. not the dirt pile that people with no hope prescribe to.

      March 24, 2011 at 7:14 pm |
    • kite005

      crucified... We should wind up worm food. That's part of the cycle of life. Or do you think your physical body is what winds up in "heaven".

      March 24, 2011 at 7:27 pm |
    • crucified

      @kite005 actually I was refering to scripture in Mark which says a person goes to Hell burns forever and the wrom never dies.. hense worm food.

      March 24, 2011 at 7:30 pm |
  10. PeacefulThinker

    "True" by definition is that which is conformable to fact, what is right, what is accurate. Darwin has a theory that has *never* been verified. In fact, there are so many systems in the body that are missing at minimum 10's of thousands and more like 100's of thousands of changes and mutations that are necessary to prove his theory. In his defense, the cell was so simple. We have discovered the cell is actually made up of little factories that require information to reproduce. Where does that information come from? That information at minimum calls for an intelligent designer, just as a building calls for a blueprint and a designer.

    There is so much missing evidence in this age of discovery and knowledge that statistical mathmaticians know it's impossible for evolution to be mathematically feasible.

    "True" is what can be verified and trusted. It is that something on which you can establish an argument. Too many of these posts and too many people are rude and obnoxious, but that's where so many people live – in the world of thoughtless opinion because James Carville, Rush Limbaugh, Mr. Obama or some other talking head said it.

    If a person claims to be "the Way, the Truth and the Life" I want to at least check them out and give them a fair shake. That way we might come to rock solid, verified facts on which to establish our thoughts and ideas about who we are and who God is. I have no problem with a person who teaches love and justice (consequences for wrong actions). Those who willfully and stubbornly resist knowledge and understanding in the areas of justice, truth, science, religion and love toward fellow man and berate others who don't see things their way are by definition the idiots of society. Others can't help you because you refuse help.

    March 24, 2011 at 6:53 pm |
    • Q

      You mean like Fisher or Hardy and Weinberg or the myriad of other evolutionary/population biology mathematicians/statisticians? Or are you simply projecting your ignorant incredulity? Or worse still, are you parroting the well-refuted ID/creationists who can't seem to produce a single testable hypothesis or win a single court case with all of their "evidence"?

      March 24, 2011 at 7:28 pm |
    • PraiseTheLard

      Peaceful said: "If a person claims to be "the Way, the Truth and the Life" I want to at least check them out and give them a fair shake. "

      There are a bunch of those hanging around the New York subway system... and I think I saw another one in downtown Chicago... I wonder which one of them is the real messiah...

      March 24, 2011 at 7:39 pm |
    • PeacefulThinker

      "can't win a court case"

      Who needs to win a court case? Science has just proven how spectacularly wonderful the body and world is and come up with wonderful facts. It's amazing. None disprove, nor prove a God.

      "I wonder which one of them is the real messiah"

      You'll know when you find Him and put your trust in Him. Your life will dramatically change for the better. Rather than berating and condemning, you'll find peace, patience, confidence and a fantastic love for others that helps them in times of difficulty, even when they don't believe like you do. But do keep looking.

      March 24, 2011 at 7:54 pm |
    • PraiseTheLard

      Isn't self-delusion wonderful?

      March 24, 2011 at 11:18 pm |
    • Pathos with Ethos

      Basing it on your love life, I am sure it is as wonderful.

      March 24, 2011 at 11:35 pm |
    • Q

      @PeacefulThinker – Yours was a non-response. You stated, "There is so much missing evidence in this age of discovery and knowledge that statistical mathmaticians know it's impossible for evolution to be mathematically feasible." I offered evidence to the contrary. You were/are factually incorrect and then arrogantly continue on as if you had some ethereal wisdom to bestow. Enjoy your "bliss"...

      March 24, 2011 at 11:43 pm |
    • Atheism is the only truth

      @ PeacefulThinker: you said "Your life will dramatically change for the better."

      Oh wait a minute... What about all the people that have ever been murdered by god in any/every natural disaster? Did their life improve for the better by being murdered? I'm sure some of them were religious, and yet, they died. You're religious beliefs have so many flaws, and yet you follow them so blindly, because you are weak minded and primitive.

      March 26, 2011 at 2:12 am |
  11. Mike E.

    Disasters although horrible and tramatic give humanity the opportunity to love and care for each other. There is a positive side to this dark tragedy. My personal belief, which I seldom share with others, is that we as a collective conscious choose our lives and our destinies as a way to learn and grow. We are spirits learning to become human, not the other way around. I believe in God and Jesus but not in the traditional sense. My God and Jesus care more about what we do for each other, then if you believe that they exist. Why do we assign human negativities to beings that are supposed to be so much more advanced than us?

    March 24, 2011 at 6:50 pm |
  12. Kalee

    It must be a great comfort for some people to believe that their entire world is one big coincidence, and that after you die, everyone will remember you for, oh, maybe five minutes. As for me, I know where I'm going.

    March 24, 2011 at 6:50 pm |
    • Darth Cheney

      As for you, you have faith where you are going. But you don't know what the word "know" means.

      March 24, 2011 at 6:58 pm |
    • Balstrome

      Reading these replies I see that things have not changed, the theists are still bat dung crazy and the atheists understand reality. One of those can be cured and the other is the preferred way to live this one short life that we get.

      March 24, 2011 at 7:07 pm |
    • crucified

      Preach it Sister! can I get an Amen!

      March 24, 2011 at 7:10 pm |
    • Pathos with Ethos

      @Balstrome- No, the atheists think they know what's going on. You see, faith in what you think you know is still faith. Whether it's science or not, it's still faith.

      March 24, 2011 at 8:46 pm |
    • Kalee

      And what you think you know but actually it shows you are an idiot and are what is wrong with Christians.

      March 24, 2011 at 10:22 pm |
    • Pathos with Ethos

      Your pitiful opinion is noted Kalee and discared like the trash it is 🙂

      March 24, 2011 at 11:11 pm |
    • Kalee

      "Your pitiful opinion is noted Kalee and discared like the trash it is" LOL! The fact you responded with trash talk makes you even more pitiful. This shows your emotional maturity is still back in grade school.

      March 25, 2011 at 11:20 am |
    • Ethos with pathos

      Thank you for showing us that you are right there with me 😉

      March 25, 2011 at 4:14 pm |
    • Atheism is the only truth

      Essentially what you are saying is that your "religion" and belief in a make believe higher power is just a blanket you like to wrap yourself in to feel safe.
      You're too weak minded and insecure about your life and the unknowns in the universe that this is the only way you can go through your life.
      You actually have no idea "where" you're going, but if you must believe in some story, that isn't real, to help you deal with the anxiety of death, to cope with not knowing about your afterlife, good for you. The ignorant people thousands of years ago thought the same thing. Luckily humans are evolving, and religion and these ridiculous beliefs will go away. Atheism: 15% of the world population and growing.

      March 26, 2011 at 1:05 am |
    • Lycidas

      "Essentially what you are saying is that your "religion" and belief in a make believe higher power is just a blanket you like to wrap yourself in to feel safe."

      No, that is waht you are saying. Get it together.

      Oh, and a growing % equals something being right? My gosh you are daft if you believe in group-think as proof you are right.

      March 27, 2011 at 5:33 pm |
  13. idiots defined

    Gonna make this simple. FIRST..U Non believers LOVE to put down those who believe..who have faith in something more..call them names..yet when they say something..u attack. Even tho u dont believe..dont down those who do. SECOND...how hilarious is it going to be to many..evn tho u dont believe NOW..that when your time comes...you find out u were wrong..and pay for eternity?...lol...too late then. believers on the other hand..if what u believe is true..what do they lose? so..in reality..while you r poking fun at the "yodel" whos truck is in tree..lost his dog and family..but still thanks god....whos the more positive? nothing was promised to be wonderful..or saved..or even explained you idiots after free will entered into scenario....so....lash back with your crazy rhetoric at what im saying....but truly...idiots are defined in ego..obnoxiousness..and sense of knowing it all....u want proof...dont worry...u will soon have it my friends...........either way....death and finality waits on no one

    March 24, 2011 at 6:47 pm |
    • Maybe

      idiots defined,

      You're kidding, right? Please read what you just said.

      March 24, 2011 at 6:53 pm |
    • John Sharp

      You didnt make anything simple, you only provide how simple you are.

      March 24, 2011 at 6:58 pm |
    • Mike E.

      I don't understand those that preach of God's love and greatness only to say that his pride is more important. How is someone so full of love also so full of such hatred? Such a wonderful creator and he's not beyond petty indifference? I don't think the two mix.

      March 24, 2011 at 7:00 pm |
    • xtofer

      Believing just so that you are 'safe' in case there is a God is called Pascal's Wager and is seriously flawed. You are screwed according to Muslims (about a billion of them) for believing in your God. What if they are right? Then you burn in hell. This goes on and on for all gods. So your wager makes no sense. What if Zeus is the right God? Chances are you are worshipping the wrong one, meaning chances are you will burn in hell. Oh well, such are the odds. Now live your life with some purpose instead of pining for an afterlife.

      March 24, 2011 at 7:08 pm |
    • Pathos with Ethos

      Whose pining for the afterlife? So many wild assumptions from the supposably educated and logical ppl on here.

      March 24, 2011 at 8:44 pm |
    • xtofer

      Anybody that is religious is pining for the afterlife. That is all that it is about. Without the nonsense that there is something after death, there would be no religion. It is a crutch to get you through your life.

      And did you just use the word 'supposably'? And in a sentence to to point out that we are uneducated?

      March 24, 2011 at 9:32 pm |
    • Pathos with Ethos

      @xtofer- No, you are again wrong. For many ppl, a faith is a disciplne on how to live their lives, not pining away for an afterlife. Your assuptions are unfounded.

      Hehe, may I point out that you said "What if Zeus is the RIGHT God". What? is there a left God? I do believe you meant to use a better term like "correct". Are you sure you are educated?

      March 24, 2011 at 11:09 pm |
    • Atheism is the only truth

      If you look at the history behind why religion was created, by man, and where the story of jesus really came from, how the story of jesus is the same as the following stories and isn't real:
      Alexandria: Aion
      Asia Minor: Attis
      Babylonia: Antiochus
      Egypt: Osiris and Horus
      Greece: Dionysus and Asclepius
      Syria: Adonis
      Italy: Bacchus
      Persia: Mithras

      ... you will have a better understanding why those of us that aren't religious, think it is so incredibly stupid to believe in some supernatural being. It can all be explained with science, but religious people desire to stay ignorant, and thus, we think they are stupid for doing so.

      March 26, 2011 at 12:59 am |
    • Lycidas

      "think it is so incredibly stupid to believe in some supernatural being."

      What about that is supernatural like love? Are you stupid enough to believe in love? You have to admit, that love beyond the biological function of it is rather irrational right?

      March 27, 2011 at 5:32 pm |
  14. SSampson

    I think it is all goblins – I know some of you think they are imaginary and all.... but why can't I get support for my imaginary friends like everyone else??

    March 24, 2011 at 6:47 pm |
    • John Sharp

      Dude, I am totally supportive of your imaginary friends. I think they are more real than any that were created 2000 years. Yours are probably more interesting than the talking snake or the man that lived in a whale.

      March 24, 2011 at 6:57 pm |
  15. Salem

    If God punishes people and their nation for their Sins, than the same God should also bless the people and the nations who are doing good. But I don't see that. So why do we always blame natural dissaster as a God's punishment.

    March 24, 2011 at 6:47 pm |
    • seiLnoigileR

      Shhh....don't try logic on the religious, it just makes them angry. Like Nostrodamus' prophecies, there's pretty much an excuse or way to read everything in the bible to make it fit your own agenda. It really is brilliant propaganda that way.

      March 24, 2011 at 7:19 pm |
    • Pathos with Ethos

      Such unprovoked hatred. What is the logic in that?

      Or does it soothe that which you worship most? Yourself.

      March 24, 2011 at 8:42 pm |
    • Susan

      "Or does it soothe that which you worship most? Yourself."

      You have shown that you worship yourself by your constent need to reply or are you addicted to this site.

      March 24, 2011 at 10:18 pm |
    • Pathos with Ethos

      No Susan, I just like to rile up the non-religious and rude on here that think a thread on an aspect of a certain faith is an appropriate place for them to make fun of ppl. You know, ppl like you 😉

      March 24, 2011 at 11:06 pm |
    • Susan

      "I just like to rile up the non-religious and rude on here that think a thread on an aspect of a certain faith is an appropriate place for them to make fun of ppl." – Well guess what you are now equal on their level which just shows how dumb you are.

      March 25, 2011 at 10:58 am |
    • Ethos with pathos

      Oh no Susan, I have risen up to your level. I used to be kind and nice on here but then I saw how evolved ppl like you behave and figure I would join in. You aren't being prejudice against me because I am acting like you are you?

      March 25, 2011 at 4:13 pm |
    • Atheism is the only truth

      Most people are religious because they were brainwashed, others because they are too stupid or weak minded to think for themselves, and others use it as a psychological crutch to help them get through life and deal with the anxieties of death and answer questions of the unknown.

      For those of us that are a bit more educated and modern, we realize it's no longer necessary, and science will eventually be able to explain everything.

      March 26, 2011 at 12:56 am |
    • Rabbi Heschel

      "When I was young, I admired clever people. Now that I am old, I admire kind people." – Rabbi Heschel

      Looks like one of his fans did not get the memo.

      March 26, 2011 at 3:36 am |
    • Lycidas

      @RH- It's nice that you can google, but it gives you no wisdom. If you actually read his works you would know that he admired some of the most insulting and blatant ppl ever that the Bible calls Prophets.

      But again, it's cute that you use mature adult words while having a mind of a child. Spiritually speaking of course.

      March 27, 2011 at 5:30 pm |
  16. freethinker

    We live on a geologically active planet. On average this planet has 2 or 3 enormous natural disasters per decade and everytime the sheeple start blaming it on Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny. Its easier for people who dont understand the natural order of things to blame everything that goes wrong on some sort of devine punishment. Religion and greed have killed more people than anything natural disaster or plagues. 80% of the people on the planet are to stupid to be living and this due to swift progression of technology. I think we are due form some sort of cataclism that will thin the herd and cleanse the ingnorance so to speak.

    March 24, 2011 at 6:46 pm |
    • crucified

      Hahh you just said natural order of things... thats funny.. because atheist believe we came from a chaotic boom and that there is no natural order! It is the Christian thought that prescribes to a devine ordered Creator.. maybe you should become a Christian.

      March 24, 2011 at 7:03 pm |
    • pProf

      I suspect you humbly consider yourself to be in the other 20%.

      March 24, 2011 at 7:05 pm |
    • Say Tan

      Stop using logic, common sense, and scientific fact! Religious drones hate those things! They get in the way of a good fairy tale.

      March 24, 2011 at 7:11 pm |
    • seiLnoigileR

      Oh crucified, so ignorant. Isn't it time to move out of the cave and stop believing that everything bad that happens is because you ticked off some magical super-being? Atheists believe that the laws of physics, some of which we don't understand yet, are the cause of the big bang. There's not really any true 'chaos' as you spin it – even the big bang was subject to the physical laws at that time. The fact that many believe that since there are physical laws, that something or someone had to have thought them up is really silly.

      March 24, 2011 at 7:16 pm |
    • crucified

      @ san tan & @ Seilnoligic....How are you going to resppond to me and say you do not know how it happen.. if you do not know then do not attack the people that believe in a devine Creator.. Your theories go against Causation and thermal Dynamics 2nd law Entropy increases.. By the way all explosions are Chaotic no repeating. and no ordered.. There is too much order in the universe for it to be an explosion but you continue to be a minun of the university system so Professors that already know this can keep their invalid Doctorate degrees.. You cannot have something from Nothing. glad to educate you.

      March 24, 2011 at 7:23 pm |
    • Akira

      I think it has to do with the human tendency to anthropomorphize what they don't understand.

      March 24, 2011 at 8:08 pm |
    • Pathos with Ethos

      What's really amazing is how so many on here like say tan (or whatever) and Akira deify their own opinions. As if anyone cares what they think or believe in. It is quite humorous and sad that they think they matter more than the true billionth of humanity they represent.

      March 24, 2011 at 8:41 pm |
    • pegger

      The minority wants to be the majority. Until they find the evidence to prove themselves they will always be at the bottom looking up to those that more intelligent.

      The "creators" of our society and inventions were mostly Atheists. That's a fact Jack. Read your world history. Who invented the helicopter and airplane? Who were the greatest musicians of the early world. The greatest writers? Most of these "so called nuts" were tossed from the church because they would not conform. Smart people seek the truth while dummies plunder and pray to their god that they win the war they began against those that don't believe the same way. Bushdog is a prime example.

      You're right @freethinker. I agree 100% and most intelligent people would.

      These idiots that believe refused to accept anything else. The refuse to accept my religion and my beliefs. The people go to church and pray for their sins and then go out and commit the same sin again and again. And they say they are "saved" and that they are "forgiven" for their atrocities. Yeah, right!

      They are "born again" because they live in fear. They look for the easy way out through their god.

      I wish these idiots would stay away from my god-damn door. They say don't use their god's name in vain! But it's okay to screw the preacher and be forgiven though it destroys family and friends.

      March 24, 2011 at 9:36 pm |
    • Lisa

      "As if anyone cares what they think or believe in. " And you believe other do about you think so what does that make you, – stupid.

      March 24, 2011 at 10:16 pm |
    • Pathos with Ethos

      @Pegger- I must disagree with you. Not all that believe live in some kind of fear.

      @Lisa- Lol, no hun, I am just having fun getting all of your high and loft non-religious ppl riled up. It's fun because you are used to ppl throwing Bible verses at you but I tend to break that trend and most of you don't have your preconcieved script ready for that 🙂

      March 24, 2011 at 11:04 pm |
    • Lisa

      "I am just having fun getting all of your high and loft non-religious ppl riled up" No that means you admit your an a$$-whole..

      March 25, 2011 at 10:57 am |
    • Ethos with pathos

      See, you're just like an old wind up toy. So predictable, thank you for confirming my faith in the faithless.

      March 25, 2011 at 3:55 pm |
  17. earthquake

    This was an act of God. God should destroy those who destroy the earth. Go to youtube username israel5535 and view, "11 stars 12 stars 7 stars in the bible found." No one knows the day or. Hour, but signs will b given when the time draws near.

    March 24, 2011 at 6:43 pm |
    • Say Tan

      Jesus may love you but everyone else thinks your an @sshole

      March 24, 2011 at 7:10 pm |
    • steve

      @Say Tan...good line! I doesn't matter how many bible bashers pop up...we still out number them and they keep praying for more members to attend their churches and give money!

      March 24, 2011 at 7:29 pm |
    • Akira

      Gotta love the transient nature of Bible prophecy, whenever the date for the end of the world passes, it's time to move the goalpost again.

      March 24, 2011 at 8:05 pm |
    • Pathos with Ethos

      @say tan- Since when did group think become the way to plan your life? Grow up will ya.

      March 24, 2011 at 8:38 pm |
    • Pathos with Ethos

      @Akira- I think if you will pay attention, most religious ppl in the world don't put a date on the end of the world. But it's amazing that so many atheists pay attention to those dates.

      March 24, 2011 at 8:39 pm |
    • steve

      @Pathos with Ethos Yes dear! And did you know that the smartest people "know" that the smartest people are Atheists. If it wasn't for present Atheists, I would still be waiting for my iPod.

      March 24, 2011 at 9:13 pm |
    • Pathos with Ethos

      Sounds more like arrogent ppl slapping each other on the backs and praising themselves for their misplaced superiority.

      I have nothing against atheists, they are welcome to their opinion and faith as anyone else in this great nation of ours.

      March 24, 2011 at 11:01 pm |
    • Atheism is the only truth

      And the time has been "drawing near" for 2000 years!

      You really are an idiot if you think some supernatural being decided to move the plates of the Earth to cause an earthquake/tsunami. Science can explain everything. Stay in school.

      March 26, 2011 at 12:52 am |
  18. Ed

    My is this country stupid.

    March 24, 2011 at 6:43 pm |
    • Leucadia101

      Stupid because we don't believe what YOU believe?

      March 24, 2011 at 6:57 pm |
    • GodIsDead

      I think its more stupid that 4/10 believe that natural disasters are a sign from God....

      March 24, 2011 at 7:01 pm |
    • Say Tan

      One thing is for sure. 3 out of 10 Americans are complete retards.

      March 24, 2011 at 7:08 pm |
    • Pathos with Ethos

      Ed, you confirm your own statement.

      March 24, 2011 at 8:35 pm |
    • Pathos with Ethos

      For you other two "enlightened" ppl, I would guess you are quite prejudice. I say this because you will take one aspect of a random group of ppl and deem them stupid as a whole. Would you have called the creator of the Big Bang theory stupid? He was a priest.

      March 24, 2011 at 8:37 pm |
    • Sharkù

      Suffering with belief (pathos with ethos) – try looking up the word "hyperbole" and maybe you'll understand that you are misunderstanding the reason for any exaggerations here. Are you not doing the same? Yet we all come to the same end.

      March 24, 2011 at 11:34 pm |
    • Pathos with Ethos

      I understand the use of ppl's exaggerations on here, but I am merely having fun with the fact that such exaggerations are hardly scientific. Many ppl on here love to flaunt there supposed intellectualism but end up using terminology that isn't very scientific at all. It's rather odd of them.

      March 24, 2011 at 11:51 pm |
    • Jeanine

      Pathos, it is perfectly normal of them to do so.
      You need to get out in the real world more and see how real people interact with each other.
      TV will just give you distorted ideas about that stuff. Hanna Montana is not a real person, either.

      March 25, 2011 at 2:38 am |
    • robert


      March 25, 2011 at 8:40 am |
    • Ethos with pathos

      @Jeanine- I am sorry that I hold ppl such as yourself to standards you set for everyone else. You seem to be a hypocrite. I know quite well how the world works and the ppl on it. But I'll tell you what, I'll treat all of you to the standard you are more comfortable with. Now is this better? I can pace the wording out more if it's too fast for you. 😉

      March 25, 2011 at 3:53 pm |
    • Hank

      Again, getting your kicks by being insolent to others continues to show your are insecure and nothing more than a cyber bully.

      March 25, 2011 at 6:48 pm |
    • Ethos with pathos

      @Hank- You are quite daft aren't you? Ot not able to see beyond your own small grasp of the world around you. How am I a bully for treating atheists that come onto a specific religious thread in the same rude manner they treat others? If you notice, which you didn't, they came on here and was rude first. I assume they would want to be treated in the same manner they treat others.

      If you have a problem with this, maybe you should talk to the weak minded atheists that have some odd desire to come onto a religious thread to yell what their beliefs are.

      March 25, 2011 at 9:54 pm |
    • Jeanine

      PwE – can I call you Peewee?
      You rightly assume I am a hypocrite like every other human being on this planet. Hypocrisy is an adjunct to irrational mental processes.
      I am honest enough to say that I am a hypocrite about many things, but I do my best to avoid acting upon my hypocrisy.
      Sure, I'm an arrogant and rude atheist. I don't have a problem with that. I guess you do. That's okay.
      I'm not so insecure that I need to attack everyone who disagrees with me. You appear to be the sort of person who absolutely HAS to have the "last word" – since you post everywhere like a child always trying to say something last as if being last made you right or correct in what you say.
      Oh, well.

      March 25, 2011 at 10:08 pm |
    • Ethos with pathos

      "Sure, I'm an arrogant and rude atheist. I don't have a problem with that. I guess you do."

      You are an odd one. No, I have no problem with you being this way but don't be such a whiny child when I respond in kind.

      You just got pwned! You see, it must be true because I declared it just like you do..lol.

      March 25, 2011 at 10:16 pm |
    • Ethos with pathos

      "I'm not so insecure that I need to attack everyone who disagrees with me."

      Well that's a bold face lie. But I will forgive you since you obviously don't know what you are talking about.

      What you don't seem to understand is that the only ppl I have "attacked" as you call it on here is the ones that came onto a thread about how those that believe inn God view natural disasters and start ranting about there atheist views. I am sorry that you feel you can be rude but have such thin skin when it comes to being treated in kind.

      March 25, 2011 at 10:19 pm |
    • Jeanine

      Thanks for proving me right again, peewee!
      Consider yourself pwned. You cannot beat me for you refuse to face me. You hide yourself like a child.
      Poor peewee!

      March 25, 2011 at 11:09 pm |
    • Ethos with pathos

      The ignorant declaring victory where there is none, I love it. keep it up Jeannie.

      How can I face you with your back turned?

      Can you give specifics on what spiritual proof would convince you that God (or any god ) exists? You are the one that brought up spiritual proof child. Is the question too hard for you? I cannot begin to give you any proof till I have some idea what you want. Why don't you understand that?

      But hey, keep up with the pwns and such. It shows that the younger generation don't know much and try to declare a victory when there is none and pat themselves for being clever when they are being very average.

      Will you be coming back again? It's been so much fun seeing you saying bye then crawling back to be shown how you are wrong.

      March 25, 2011 at 11:14 pm |
    • Atheism is the only truth

      The ratio goes a little something like this:

      80% are "stupid"
      15% are above average / smart
      5% are brilliant / genius

      March 26, 2011 at 12:51 am |
    • Jeanine

      PwE – I say "Bye", but you assume I'm saying "goodbye forever" or something like that. Why? Is that what your parents did to you as a child or something? Is that what your god did to you? One religious experience and that was it?
      And now you can't quite understand where everyone went, right?
      Poor kid. I wish I could help you, but you are stuck in your shell like a hermit crab. Find a bigger shell and quit acting like a retard.
      Just for you I'll quit saying "Bye" since it seems to confuse you. Sorry.

      March 26, 2011 at 12:58 am |
    • Jeanine

      PwE – and here's a simple question for you....

      Would you even bother to provide proof?
      (I don't think so, yet I could be wrong.)

      The word criteria is defined as a standard of judgment or criticism; a rule or principle for evaluating or testing something.

      You ask for criteria, I keep giving you different ones based upon your as-yet-unknown-or-determined god.
      I am being as specific as I can in the light of your refusal to define the terms under which we might narrow down the possibilities for useful "criteria" in this case.

      You keep showing a decided lack in the knowledge department.
      I could call you retarded and it would be true in terms of this back-and-forth flame war we are having fun with.
      I call BS on you and your god. You can pretend all you want, but this is the real world where everyone actually dies.
      You can believe what you want, but that does not make it true or even intellectually honest no matter how many books you read that were written by Rabbi Heschel. I think he was intellectually dishonest, but he at least meant well.
      Can you say the same? I doubt it.

      March 26, 2011 at 1:11 am |
    • Atheism is the only truth

      PathosEthos guy: using any criteria anyone has used in human history to prove something else is real (not theory, but real), please provide evidence or proof that god is real?

      If god is so powerful and omnipotent, can't god prove he/she/it is real? why is this so hard to do? It should be easy for an all powerful deity, shouldn't it? Please don't make excuses, I want proof, god can show me he/she/it exists, or you can show us your proof. Go ahead.

      March 26, 2011 at 2:07 am |
    • Lycidas

      @Jeanine- I've been quite clear in what I am asking in criteria. But if you need me to spell out who God is to you in the context of this thread, then I suggest you need a few more years of study under your belt. Obviously you are a bit ignorant on the subject.

      But, I have asked you what it would take for you to believe in God. Obviously there is no evidence that could change your mind ever. I am not about to say why I believe in God before I know you would even consider it. It would serve no point to throw "pearls before swine", you are the swine in this case.

      March 27, 2011 at 5:22 pm |
    • Lycidas

      "using any criteria anyone has used in human history to prove something else is real (not theory, but real), please provide evidence or proof that god is real?"

      I know love is real because I feel love. Therefor feeling can equal evidence. I feel the spirit of God, therefor God it real.

      Or if you want to be a literalist, God is love, love is God. Love is real yes? Therefor God is real.

      But I bet you won't accept that will you? And the reason is that there is NOTHING that could ever convince you there is a God is there? Tell the truth; Is there any spiritual or physical evidence that could ever be presented to you that would result in your believing in God? Yes or No.

      March 27, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
  19. Freethinker Seeking Reason

    What a silly story... there are no sky fairies.

    March 24, 2011 at 6:43 pm |
  20. pothead

    Wow, my bad! There is a god, she just walked in with a baggie and a 6 pack of Pilsner U and a box of Wheaties for my leftover tomato juice.

    March 24, 2011 at 6:42 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.