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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. alvaro perez

    "few americans think the natural disasters are a sign of god"..."at the same time most americans believe god is responsible for what happens in the world"- And the idiot award goes to...

    March 24, 2011 at 8:37 pm |
  2. Tyhouston

    This is funny cause on Fox they say more people believe these are done by god.

    March 24, 2011 at 8:35 pm |
  3. Atheism is the only truth

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

    1. Causal Determinism, or "we 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.
    People are afraid to look to science and accept that life might end at death and nothing follows afterward.
    There is on proof that any god of any religion exists, and there never will be, because it's all man made and fake.

    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.

    March 24, 2011 at 8:32 pm |
    • S1N

      While I am an atheist as well, your supposedly logical arguments, well, aren't. Since you claim to bring logic, you really shouldn't use a straw man argument. You come off as more of a maltheist than anything else.

      Remember, logically valid only means that the conclusion must be true if all premises are true. Hence, the classical arguments against the existence of god by both Epicures and Hume are nearly the same as the ontological arguments for the existence of god (but the nonexistence of evil).
      Kant, as much as I hate the man's categorical imperative and moral fanaticism made one of the best philosophical arguments against god of all time. The premises are a few hundred pages long (Read The Critique of Pure Reason if you want to know), he basically boils the concept of god down to an a priori truth existing only in one's mind. In other words, god is all in your head, and does not exist outside the minds of people.

      If after reading all of this, you have no idea what I am talking about, and claim to be an atheist like me, stop blindly drinking the kool-aid and learn something about atheism (or more accurately, anti-theism). Yes, it is partly the non-belief in the concept of god, but it also has deep philosophical history that you dishonor when you spout off like a moron.

      March 24, 2011 at 8:51 pm |
    • Pathos with Ethos

      @Atheism is the only truth- You have great faith in what you believe.

      March 24, 2011 at 8:54 pm |
    • crazyvermont

      As stated above, I too would be an atheist if I had enough faith; however, takes much more faith to believe this world is the result of a burp of gas than a divine creator

      March 24, 2011 at 9:02 pm |
    • Atheism is the only truth

      @ Pathos with Ethos No, not faith, it's not an excuse for something make believe to be real, it's knowledge, not faith.

      @ crazyvermont Again, it isn't faith, it's not an excuse, and it doesn't take more anything to believe this world is the result of a "burp of gas" than an invisible non-existant guy in a floating chair to made everything. I don't need to associate man-made supernatural beings as answers to questions I don't yet understand or have answers to. Don't be so simple minded.

      March 24, 2011 at 11:45 pm |
    • Pathos with Ethos

      I am sorry to tell you this but everything you have posted is your opinion and therefor at some level you have faith that you are correct in what you posted. There are nothing that can be tested in what you said in a scientific manner in regards to what ppl believe and why.

      March 24, 2011 at 11:56 pm |
    • Jeanine

      Peewee, your own words right back atcha! All you have is opinion without anything to back it up.

      March 25, 2011 at 10:13 pm |
    • Ethos with pathos

      Did I say otherwise?

      Though I do have "stuff" to back up my faith. But you wouldn't call it proof. But if you would just tell use what criteria you would consider "proof" we might be able to have a real debate.

      March 25, 2011 at 10:55 pm |
    • Jeanine

      Peewee, you've got to provide a basis for that criteria first. Are you stupid or something? Nah, you're just another lying troll, I think.
      Bye peewee.

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

      I love it Jeannie when you use childish insults. Shows your true mentality.

      Hun, as I said before...it's on you to set the criteria since you are wanting the proof. You did set the criteria you know by saying it could be spiritual but beyond doubt. All I have asked is that you be spcific but you keep choosing not to. If anyone is acting a "troll" it is you hun.

      Be honest, you just want me to leave you alone because you want to show how superior you are when you actually aren't. You get some jollies off of ppl of faith not being able to prove to your little mind that God exists. You come on here and demand to be proven when the truth is, nothing could prove to you that God exist.

      How about you be honest and answer thsi, Wgat could make you accept that God exists? I bet you won't answer it because you are closed to the possiblity and therfor your consant demands to be proven wrong are just stupid.

      March 25, 2011 at 11:08 pm |
    • Jeanine

      peewee, there are billions of ways in which your god could prove he exists, yet he does none of them.

      Pick any of them that would be incontrovertible, spiritual or otherwise, and I would have to admit the truth because I value honesty and truth – but it would have to be actual proof of YOUR GOD and not just proof of your ability to falsify any results.

      You have personal experiences that you seem to be afraid to share with us. That's okay. We're here for you.
      You might not even have a "faith" based on anything written by humans – that's okay too.

      All you have to do is describe your god and how you have been shown to believe, though, and you'll likely get shot down because you cannot reproduce this experience in any way, shape, or form. If that's how this is going to go, then that's tough noodles for you and another shoulder shrug from me.

      What god are you talking about? Let me know instead of acting like a pouty child who pretends to laugh, okay?
      You'll get more respect from me that way.
      But you probably don't care enough about your god to share your childish secrets about him. That's okay too, but it doesn't exactly evoke respect or understanding or "amazing" personal awareness that you are right after all, either.

      Bye peewee.

      March 25, 2011 at 11:33 pm |
    • Ethos with pathos

      Ah, call forth the devil and she will arrive. Welcome back.

      "there are billions of ways in which your god could prove he exists, yet he does none of them."

      And yet you won't tell us just one of those billions of ways would convince you. You are a weird one.

      "You have personal experiences that you seem to be afraid to share with us."

      Afraid? No, but knwoing that my experience would not be considered proof to you...there is little reason mentioning it now is there? Now if you would just say what you consider spiritual proof and my experience fits into that, I would say it. But then of course you would be stuck in a position you can't worm out of.

      My God? If you must know I worship the God of Abraham, Issac and Jacob. There, I answered a question of yours now answer the one I've been asking you. That would be fair right?

      Bye? You've said that many many times and you keep crawling back. Why do you keep making yourself out to be a liar?

      March 25, 2011 at 11:39 pm |
    • Maybe

      Ethos with pathos,

      A "God" who is all-knowing, as is claimed, would know *exactly* what would be sufficient proof for each and every one of us. If 'he' is all-loving, as is also claimed, he would do it freely.

      March 25, 2011 at 11:44 pm |
    • Atheism is the only truth

      Why are these stories the same as the story of jesus? These stories aren't real either, but they're the same, with different names.

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

      Here is my proof the story of jesus, and thus the basis of christianity, isn't real.

      Where's your proof?

      March 26, 2011 at 2:55 am |
    • Atheism is the only truth

      Pathos, can you explain this fantastic post by "maybe" ?

      "A "God" who is all-knowing, as is claimed, would know *exactly* what would be sufficient proof for each and every one of us. If 'he' is all-loving, as is also claimed, he would do it freely."

      ?

      March 26, 2011 at 2:57 am |
    • Jeanine

      PwE – That's not an honest or accurate answer to any of my questions. You keep failing my tests!

      What attributes does this god of yours have? Anything? Is your god a nothing god with nothing powers who does nothing, says nothing, sees nothing, is aware of nothing, knows nothing and is the god of nothing?
      THAT god might actually exist! But wait! What powers did you say your god had?

      You said, "....but knwoing that my experience would not be considered proof to you...there is little reason mentioning it now is there? Now if you would just say what you consider spiritual proof and my experience fits into that, I would say it. But then of course you would be stuck in a position you can't worm out of."
      –so you know your ONE experience "would not be considered proof" ?????

      Wow. You just pwned yourself. Thanks! 😀

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

      PwE – I should add that you have just given me more than enough reason to not bother with you anymore.
      All you have, instead of proof, is one personal experience that would not be considered proof – and you even admit it!

      So all your childish refusals to face my simple questions is rooted in your refusal to admit the truth? How religious of you!
      I asked for proof, I gave you possibilities, options, criteria, etc. all quite straightforward and simple for someone at your grade level.
      And all you could do is act like someone very young who got caught with their hand in the cookie jar. Just one cookie!
      You squirmed around like someone who didn't want to admit something you felt was shameful.
      Well you SHOULD be ashamed, but of acting like a child, not of having some personal experience you cannot explain nor prove! Everybody has those every time they experience dreams or hallucinations. Not your fault and therefore nothing to be ashamed about.
      Now that you've piddled on my floor, however, I find you guilty of dishonesty and numerous other crimes too sad to list and hereby banish you to the outer darkness of my displeasure, where you are doomed to figure things out on your own (sometimes causing weeping and gnashing of teeth).

      Hope it's not too harsh for you. This is beyond being pwned, though. You simply aren't worth my time at all in this way.

      March 26, 2011 at 4:10 am |
    • Lycidas

      We cannot make God visible to us, but we can make ourselves visible to him,. So we open our thoughts to him...feeble our tongues but sensitive our hearts. We are more than we can say. The trees stand like guards of the Everlasting; the flowers like signposts of God's goodness...only we have failed to be testimonies to his presence, tokens of God's trust.
      How could we have lived in the shadow of greatness and defied it?

      March 27, 2011 at 9:08 pm |
  4. bobaloo

    The truth shall set us free

    March 24, 2011 at 8:31 pm |
    • PraiseTheLard

      You can't handle the truth...

      March 24, 2011 at 8:32 pm |
    • steve

      @PraiseTheLard...Thank-you. I also make tortillas out of TheLard! Better yet save bacon grease, same stuff and adds flavor. If there was a god he would have made tortillas out of something less harmful to our health.

      March 24, 2011 at 8:44 pm |
  5. Jonny

    . . . and those Few are the Tea Party !

    hahahahahaa

    March 24, 2011 at 8:28 pm |
  6. Alex

    Please , many please no one say cause they don't believe in the christian's God Jesus

    March 24, 2011 at 8:27 pm |
  7. JJ

    By the way, did they have metal detectors at your high school when you were a kid? Did they need the new scanners at airports when you were a kid? Didn't they allow kids to carry pocket knives to school when you were a kid? Really think about it. Is it a better world for our kids today, or was it a better world 30 years ago? Maybe it's because we took prayer out of schools, out of society, and do nothing but push moral integrity and ethics out. Go ahead and laugh and criticize; it doesn't change the truth that we're making a poorer country both financially and socially for our children.

    March 24, 2011 at 8:27 pm |
    • PraiseTheLard

      The problems you site... I attribute many of society's ills to the constant pandering to and exploitation of the ignorant – and that includes the relentless promotion of religion.

      March 24, 2011 at 8:31 pm |
  8. dave

    God's main character nature is love and holiness. the Bible says that it is impossible for God to sin. He always judges rightly and gives blessings even to the evil...but GOd is not only love. God will judge sin and yes sometimes He will use calamity when the people do not listen or repent from sin. I have learned to trust in Jesus no matter what so God doesnt have to punish. Why would a kid constantly test their parents or why would a criminal test the justice system. they will get owned one day so repent from sin, we see it everywhere the world is turning crazy so be good for Jesus or you will witness Gods wrathful side instead of His loving side.

    March 24, 2011 at 8:22 pm |
    • PraiseTheLard

      You seem to put an awful lot of credence in stories that were made up about 2000 years ago...

      Do you also use ancient texts when deciding what type of medical care you should undertake?

      March 24, 2011 at 8:27 pm |
    • Read some books other than translated versions of the bible

      The bible ALSO says,
      If a man is caught in the act of raping a young woman who is not engaged, he must pay fifty pieces of silver to her father. Then he must marry the young woman because he violated her, and he will never be allowed to divorce her. (Deuteronomy 22:28-29)

      You can't cherry pick the parts that make you feel better about yourself and ignore the parts that are disgusting. Its the word of your god. All of it.

      The bible is a book of horrors and the basis of modern morals? I don't think so.

      March 24, 2011 at 8:28 pm |
    • crazyvermont

      @praisethelard.........I put credence in that book because it's been a road map for my life. I also it lines up pretty well with historical events as prophetic events. Hard to imagine a book 2000 years ago could predict Israel becoming a nation. Also was reading the other night about weapons being burned as fuel after one of the great end time battles. I've heard people scoff and laugh at that verse, but as someone familiar with military this is an amazing prophesy. Russia currently uses a material for their heavy artillery that is harder than steal, yet will burn seven times hotter and longer than comparable amount of coal. Pretty hard to believe man 2000 years ago could have known that Russia would have this material today

      March 24, 2011 at 8:59 pm |
    • crazyvermont

      I don't see the Bible as a book of horrors in any sense of the word when you delve into history. To understand Old testament scripture, you have to understand middle eastern culture, which really hasn't changed much to this day. New testament scripture reveals a different way of life and love for fellow man. There are numerous examples of how Christ showed we should love others and the world. Unfortunately, I doubt Christ would recognize his church in today's world.

      March 24, 2011 at 9:09 pm |
    • Atheism is the only truth

      jesus never existed, it's just a story, it isn't real, but it's funny and pathetic that there are still people to this day, such as yourself, who are stupid enough to believe that a story in a book that's 2000 years old is real.

      March 24, 2011 at 11:51 pm |
    • Atheism is the only truth

      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. 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.

      March 24, 2011 at 11:53 pm |
    • Pathos with Ethos

      Your lackluster opinion has been noted and thrown into the hater pit. Have a nice night 🙂

      March 24, 2011 at 11:54 pm |
    • Atheism is the only truth

      You mean reality and logic pit.

      March 24, 2011 at 11:56 pm |
    • Ethos with pathos

      No, opinion...I was right the first time I said it.

      March 24, 2011 at 11:57 pm |
    • Cindy

      "To understand Old testament scripture, you have to understand middle eastern culture, which really hasn't changed much to this day."

      Trying saying that to the religious people that keep taking it literally about gays. Watch out...here they come. 😉

      March 25, 2011 at 1:33 pm |
    • Ethos with pathos

      Is someone afraid of them on here Cindy?

      March 25, 2011 at 4:19 pm |
    • Atheism is the only truth

      Do you believe in Santa Clause? No? why not?

      Why is there no proof that god exists?

      baaaaaa

      March 26, 2011 at 2:53 am |
    • Lycidas

      We cannot make God visible to us, but we can make ourselves visible to hi,. So we open our thoughts to him...feeble our tongues but sensitive our hearts. We are more than we can say. The trees stand like guards of the Everlasting; the flowers like signposts of God's goodness...only we have failed to be testimonies to his presence, tokens of God's trust.
      How could we have lived in the shadow of greatness and defied it?

      March 27, 2011 at 9:01 pm |
  9. JJ

    Funny how brave those are that mock God. Statiscally, at least one person that reads these blogs or posts to them will die soon (day, month, or year). You won't know when it will come and won't know if you're the one who's it. Are you ready? I would do a little soul searching in case you're the one who meets his or her maker. It's sad that so many who post to this blog have so much contempt for the God who made you. I guess you really just don't think much to the miracle of your birth.

    March 24, 2011 at 8:19 pm |
    • PraiseTheLard

      And where did you get this fairy tale about god (which one of the thousands made up during man's history?) creating anything?

      March 24, 2011 at 8:23 pm |
    • crazyvermont

      interesting blogs. I too would be an atheist if I had enough faith. It takes much more faith for me to believe everything just evolved with a burp of gas than a divine creator. There is heartache in this world; in fact, I've had my share; however, that doesn't point to a schizophrenic God. I also disasters and many heartaches come because we live in a fallen world, not as direct punishments from God. With that said, I think those mocking God with no beliefs need to read prophecy to see the things which have come true or being fulfilled. Hard to believe man could have predicted some of these things so accurately in a book written several thousand years ago.

      March 24, 2011 at 8:49 pm |
    • Nicole

      The reason this world is in chaos is because we lack faith in GOD. You owe your life to GOD you were not born because your parents willed you to be! There is a reason you were born at a specific time and you will die at a your appointed time. You were born for a purpose and that purpose and plan is GOD'S. GOD does not need you to believe to exist that my friend is your free will and choice. How can you all hate GOD... the love of your life. Saying there is no GOD is saying you have no soul and that there is none higher than you! To believe you are in complete control of the universe is a bigger fantasy than anything ever written in bible. You will surely die to this life but there is a life after this don't be fooled into hell believe in GOD!!!!

      March 24, 2011 at 8:53 pm |
  10. Um...

    I have an uncle who thinks everything is God's judgment on unsuspecting, innocent people for something their government did or did not do that he doesn't agree with. Of course he gets a lot of that from Pat Robertson. My mom is kind of the same way but she doesn't watch that guy...just Fox News. I'm surrounded by morons.

    March 24, 2011 at 8:15 pm |
    • soysauce

      ..and yet is says in the bible that god doesn't concern himself with the affairs of men. and furthermore, psychics are seen as evil agents of satan or pagans in the bible and are condemned and yet pat robertson claims to "channel" god...wouldn't that make him a psychic? oooh the hypocrisy...

      March 24, 2011 at 8:17 pm |
  11. Read some books other than translated versions of the bible

    "Millions long for immortality who don't know what to do with themselves on a rainy Sunday afternoon." Susan Ertz

    Now that's funny. People simply do not comprehend what 'infinity' really means.

    March 24, 2011 at 8:12 pm |
    • soysauce

      may I suggest..."A Brief History of Time" by Stephen Hawking to expand on your statement.

      March 24, 2011 at 8:15 pm |
  12. bobaloo

    Whales are creatures of God; Do not play with fire. Oilbama said high tech Nuke plants are safe and modern oil rigs don't pollute and he's against starting wars. Line up on the Euphates. Take a side for Satan is in charge. Solve for 666...

    March 24, 2011 at 8:08 pm |
    • Wow.

      You are loco.

      March 24, 2011 at 8:16 pm |
  13. soysauce

    I admire the great spiritual religions of the great native north american people...the beliefs that the entire earth was infused with a spiritual life force that connected all things, both living and non-living.

    I guess god is offended and hates me.

    March 24, 2011 at 8:04 pm |
    • Lorelord

      Infused by what or whom? Surely it didnt just infuse itself aye?

      March 24, 2011 at 8:06 pm |
    • soysauce

      well, they had their own creation myths to answer those questions 🙂

      March 24, 2011 at 8:09 pm |
  14. YBP

    I can't wait until the headline reads: "FEW THINK GOD IS REAL" rather than Few Believe...

    March 24, 2011 at 8:01 pm |
    • Lorelord

      TRUTH! That is really what this is poll is hinting at. I KNEW there was a political agenda to this poll. Why even poll on this? What does it accomplish? Why do people ven want to know what polling data has to say on this subject?

      You answered my question!

      March 24, 2011 at 8:05 pm |
    • Atheism is the only truth

      YPB: that day is coming, we're evolving and becoming smarter, I hope that day comes sooner than later too!

      March 26, 2011 at 2:40 am |
  15. G B

    Lmao to those who believe these are acts of God. The weak are those that believe this is God's will yet they're the scariest as they'll do anything for the scriptures that apparently link them to God. Ugh.
    As someone mentioned, the fossils, and the history of the lives of previous systems and species explains far more than God. Lmao. Ugh.

    March 24, 2011 at 8:00 pm |
  16. Joshua Ludd

    Well, if one were to believe that natural disasters were signs from god, they would also have to come to the belief that their god is schizophrenic, as his messages and signs would make no real sense.

    March 24, 2011 at 7:59 pm |
  17. David

    Since when is 38% considered "few". Does this mean that few American's are; black or poor or lack health Care?

    March 24, 2011 at 7:57 pm |
    • Atheism is the only truth

      there are a lot of dumb people in the world, many of them primitive/religious.

      March 26, 2011 at 2:39 am |
  18. alan

    God controlls everything! Maybe this is not a sign because everything that happens whether it be Bad or Good is Gods will. I get sick of people blaming mother nature whenever something bad happens and than credits God when something good happens.

    March 24, 2011 at 7:56 pm |
    • G B

      I get sick when people live by god's words. Just live and let live. Do good. No need for someone or something to think for you

      March 24, 2011 at 8:03 pm |
    • Objectivetruth

      Well if God wills everything to happen, that completely rules out free will, now don't it??? That would also make an infinitely loving god a logical impossibility, if he were to be the cause of all the horrendous misery and suffering along with anything good. Why then, the undeniable fact that life really ISN'T fair would be the responsibility of God, and that sounds more like a twisted puppet master to me. I'm gonna have to say No Thank You to that particular imaginary being.

      March 24, 2011 at 8:22 pm |
    • Rob C

      Objectivetruth
      Well that is the age old question isn't it, but to ask it you of course have proven you are an infidel.

      March 24, 2011 at 8:54 pm |
    • Rob C

      You should all watch this
      [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AD0WbP0Q0Oc&w=640&h=360]

      March 24, 2011 at 8:58 pm |
    • Atheism is the only truth

      Cool alan, so god murders us, good to know, sounds like more of an enemy of humanity than something we should "pray" to.

      March 26, 2011 at 2:39 am |
  19. Lifewhispers

    Excuse me? 3 to 4 out of ten? That's NOT just a "few" who think such a ridiculous thing as God punishes people with natural disasters.

    Time to wake up and leave the Bronze Age behind, people.

    March 24, 2011 at 7:56 pm |
    • andybud

      I would leave the Bronze Age behind, but that would mean leaving my cave. I heard thunder, and I know the gods are angry, so I dare not tread outside!

      But, wow, yes, people are remarkably dumb.

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

      I think you are making a pretty wide generalization on a group of ppl. This poll wasn't exactly scientific you know.

      March 24, 2011 at 8:19 pm |
    • Rob C

      Whqat is with this "moderation" thing it must be that I used the word HE!!.

      March 24, 2011 at 8:55 pm |
    • Atheism is the only truth

      first 2 posts, total awesomeness lol

      March 26, 2011 at 2:37 am |
  20. Pilfer

    Wy do my comments need moderation?

    March 24, 2011 at 7:54 pm |
    • Rob C

      Bcause gadahfi is in charge of cnn

      March 24, 2011 at 8:49 pm |
    • CNN Moderation Filter Tips for new people -----

      You ran afoul of the dreaded "moderation filter" which blocks certain words or letter combinations – The list:
      -----------------------------------------–
      bad letter combinations / words to avoid if you want to get past the CNN "awaiting moderation" filter:

      Many, if not most, are buried within other words, so use your imagination.

      NOTE: You can use dashes, spaces, or other characters to modify the "offending" letter combinations.
      ----------–
      ar-se.....as in Car-se, etc.
      ba-stard
      co-ck.....as in co-ckatiel, co-ckatrice, co-ckleshell, co-ckles, lubco-ck, etc.
      co-on.....as in rac-oon, coc-oon, etc.
      cu-m......as in doc-ument, accu-mulate, circu-mnavigate, circu-mstances, cu-mbersome, cuc-umber, etc.
      cu-nt.....as in Scu-ntthorpe, a city in the UK famous for having problems with filters...!
      do-uche
      ef-fing...as in ef-fing filter
      ft-w......as in soft-ware, delft-ware, swift-water, etc.
      fu-ck......!
      ho-mo.....as in ho-mo sapiens or ho-mose-xual, ho-mogenous, etc.
      ho-rny....as in tho-rny, etc.
      jacka-ss...yet "ass" is allowed by itself.....
      ja-p......as in j-apanese, ja-pan, j-ape, etc.
      ji-sm
      koo-ch....as in koo-chie koo..!
      nip-ple
      pi-s......as in pi-stol, lapi-s, pi-ssed, therapi-st, etc.
      pr-ick....as in pri-ckling, pri-ckles, etc.
      ra-pe.....as in scra-pe, tra-peze, gr-ape, thera-peutic, sara-pe, etc.
      se-x......as in Ess-ex, s-exual, etc.
      sh-@t.....but shat is okay – don't use the @ symbol there.
      sh-it
      sl-ut
      sn-atch
      sp-ic.....as in disp-icable, hosp-ice, consp-icuous, susp-icious, sp-icule, sp-ice, etc.
      ti-t......as in const-itution, att-itude, ent-ities, alt-itude, beat-itude, etc.
      tw-at.....as in wristw-atch, nightw-atchman, etc.
      va-g......as in extrava-gant, va-gina, va-grant, va-gue, sava-ge, etc.
      who-re....as in who're you kidding / don't forget to put in that apostrophe!
      wt-f....also!!!!!!!

      There are more, some of them considered "racist", so do not assume that this list is complete.
      -----
      Allowed words / not blocked at all:

      anal
      anus
      ass
      boob
      crap
      damn
      execute
      hell
      kill
      masturbation
      murder
      penis
      pubic
      raping (ra-pe is not ok)
      shat (sh-@t is not ok)
      sphincter
      testes
      testicles
      ---
      The CNN / WordPress filter also filters your EMAIL address and NAME as well – so you might want to check those.

      I have found the best way to re-submit is to hit the back button, look for and fix the problem, delete your cookies, and then hit "post".

      If you don't want to use dashes or other characters and seriously want your words to remain correct, you can paste in the proper code strings to take the place of any letter. To do this, either google "html ent-ities" (without the dash) also known as unicode strings or go to "w3schools.com/tags/ref_ascii.asp".

      Look for simple tables that show the alphabet with the associated character string and replace any letter with the string – and it will post the correct letter without falling afoul of the nasty filter.
      Example: fuck (I used the characters &,#,1,1,7,; to form the "u") 😯
      --–
      Also: there is no "moderator" as many people like to assume. The filter is automatic. As is the "report abuse" button – it deletes the post after a certain number of hits.
      NOTE: When a post is deleted, all the replies get flung to the end of the thread – there to stay and become a stumbling block to anyone trying to post. Any replies to the replies will be jumbled around within that area at the end of the thread. You must check timestamps to determine where this occurs.

      p.s. All "Smilies" supported by this blog can be found at: en.support.wordpress.com/smilies/

      March 24, 2011 at 8:55 pm |
    • 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;
      right here now:

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

      March 24, 2011 at 8:57 pm |
    • Rob C

      There is absolutely NOTHING in my post that should be sensored, no swear words, no violent comments, no racist comments NOTHING. SOOO frustrating.

      March 24, 2011 at 9:06 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.