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May 6th, 2011
08:16 AM ET

Faith unshaken by tornado

By Aaron Brodie, CNN

Tuscaloosa, Alabama (CNN) - The sound of someone playing a piano drew us in to the Alberta Baptist Church in Tuscaloosa, two days after a devastating tornado ripped a deadly gash that will scar this Southern town for years to come.

I had been looking for a high spot where I could to shoot a panoramic image of the endless landscape of destruction, but I turned back toward the church with CNN's Wayne Drash to see where the music was coming from.

Alberta Baptist seemed to have fared better than many of the buildings in the immediate area. It was an oddity in this neighborhood, because it was both standing and clearly recognizable. Whatever had been next door was neither.

The church was hardly unscathed, though. Much of the roof was missing. Stained glass windows were blown out. And the facade of the main chapel was reduced to a pile of rubble spread across the front sidewalk like a bag of building blocks.

Inside the church, we met a small group of members who had come to witness firsthand the challenge that lay ahead. A young girl stopped playing the piano as her mother began to tell us how the building had recently been renovated.

I started taking photos of mangled metal and shattered sheetrock, all covered with a thick dusting of insulation that made you itch just by looking at it. As I was about to leave, I met Joe Southern, a member of Alberta Baptist for 45 years.

Joe lives in a part of Tuscaloosa that was spared the monster's wrath. Yet he decided to make the trek across town through military checkpoints, driving down streets littered with debris into what can easily be described as a war zone, to see the fate of his religious home.

In this video interview, Joe explains that while "we've lost a building," the church is more than just bricks and mortar: The church is the people. He says the congregation will rebuild, and that the tornado and its aftermath have only served to strengthen his belief in God.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Alabama • Baptist • Church • Houses of worship

soundoff (969 Responses)
  1. joe

    it's impossible to tell a parody of fundamentalism from true fundamentalism.

    not that that has anything to do with anything, i just found it funny.

    May 7, 2011 at 7:55 pm |
    • Rogue

      @joe – I have seen plenty of people lay the sarcasm on so heavily that there is little enough to show that it is actually sarcasm. I have been fooled before by sarcasm that wasn't clear enough. But I enjoy the humor too even if it is obscured.

      May 7, 2011 at 9:06 pm |
  2. Carl Sagan

    The universe seems neither benign nor hostile, merely indifferent.

    May 7, 2011 at 7:27 pm |
    • Rogue

      @Carl Sagan – To attribute indifference to our whole continuum is not really the way to go there, bub.

      May 7, 2011 at 7:50 pm |
    • Dexter Skagway

      I'm sure you realize that he is quoting the real Carl Sagan, and I tend to argee with the point. Nature is indifferent, to atomic bombs and Auschwitz and aids and dying and everything else. If an enormous asteriod hit the Earth in 10 minutes and wiped out the planet, the universe is indifferent. And enough random catastrophes have occurred to prove that the universe is indifferent – only humans judge it bad. Nature does not care.

      It's actually a crucial point in the question of the existence of a diety, because the universe would not be indifferent if there were a God running it, especially a God that involved itself in the affairs of humans. It's the Problem of Evil restated – the existence of evil makes no sense if there is a God who protects even part of the human race, because they experience evil and misfortune as well. However, if you accept that the universe operates as a natural system with no supernatural guidance, then everything makes sense. Good things happen to bad people, bad things happen to good people – it's all just randomness in the indifferent universe.

      May 7, 2011 at 10:14 pm |
  3. Dan

    Y'all need to build underground, building the same kind of buildings in the same area seems like a really bad idea and likely the cause of high insurance rates.

    May 7, 2011 at 7:19 pm |
    • js

      The tornadoes that hit us that day were a once-in-a-lifetime kind of event (I'm from Birmingham)...the meteorologists have all said the weather conditions that led to that kind of tornado outbreak are extremely rare. Just like Katrina though, I'm sure better building codes will be one of the many outcomes.

      May 7, 2011 at 7:44 pm |
  4. bu

    Faith = Motivation to delude the public and yourself

    Just more evidence that religious thoughts and feelings spread like a virus. The results are a sick society–chaos, pain and death like a cancer of humanity! We need to find the cure for religion!

    May 7, 2011 at 6:33 pm |
    • js

      I am from Alabama...I am not hugely religious and am not a big fan of organized religion, but I do have faith in something higher than myself (I have to...it keeps me going during difficult times) and I know that for many, having faith in something higher than themselves has helped them through difficult times. I know people who have recently lost everything, but their faith and their belief that there is some greater purpose for all of this is the only thing giving them hope right now...whether you agree or disagree with their belief, it helps them, so why bash them for it? These people are using their faith to give them strength to pick up the pieces of their lives that have utterly been destroyed. They have nothing else right now. Organized religion definitely has its faults, but it also has amazing gifts. You should see what faith-based organizations are doing for the people suffering in my state...it is truly remarkable.
      Not all Christians are hate-mongering, ignorant people out to judge non-believers or non-Christians. If you're an atheist, that's fine and your prerogative. By judging all people with faith and all Christians as being a "cancer of humanity," you are being just as bad as the so-called Christians who rush to judge non-believers. Let these people use what they have to pick up their lives without judgment. If faith is all of they have left and it's helping them, so be it.

      May 7, 2011 at 7:27 pm |
    • joe

      @js
      if one's belief in something "higher" is purely because one "needs to believe it to keep going", then one's belief is based on one's desire only: " i believe in god because I WANT the stories to be true."
      Unfortunately, we all already know that wishing something was a certain way has no effect on how it is in reality. God is not more likely to exist just because some people want there to be a benevolent higher power.

      I agree that some of these comments are unnecessarily hateful, but encouraging people to abandon delusional, wishful crutches for their problems could end up being good for them in the end – if they, as a result, develop real ways to deal with the difficulties in their life instead.

      May 7, 2011 at 7:43 pm |
    • js

      @ joe...you missed my point. These people aren't sitting around twiddling their thumbs, simply "praying" and not dealing with their problems in a rational manner. They are just using their faith to give them strength to get done what needs to get done...and to get them moving. They are not "passively" waiting for answers from God...they are simply using their faith in healing. Psychologically, if it gives them some kind of closure in their belief that there is a purpose higher than them for the destruction in my state and losing their homes/loved ones I don't have a problem with that and I don't think anyone else should either. Now if after this event, they use their strengthened faith to promote biblical fundamentalism and dogmatically impose their beliefs on others, I very much will have a problem with that. So far though, they are just using it as their backbone for strength to get them moving and in helping them pick up their lives.

      May 7, 2011 at 7:57 pm |
  5. frank

    I like it when Christians say stuff like "I wasin a car wreck and my wife was maimed and paralyzed for life, our two month old baby girl was agonizingly roasted to death in flaming gasoline, and my legs were torn off, but by the grace of Jesus I still have my arms, praise his name!"

    May 7, 2011 at 5:30 pm |
    • Crysee Edson

      LOL. Yep.

      May 7, 2011 at 7:22 pm |
  6. airwx

    @ Dexter...I appreciate your reply. My personal beliefs are just that, personal. My reason to post is to cause people to stop yelling and start thinking. I rely on science for my living. I rely on science for my daily life. I just want people to realize that for all we do know... there is multi-tudes of things to still learn. Peace

    May 7, 2011 at 5:18 pm |
    • Rogue

      @airwx – If you want people to think then quit arguing for non-thinking religious positions. You would rather people have "faith", right?
      But "faith" is a non-thinking position. That's why I scorn so many religious arguments. They just don't hold water and it's easy to find the errors in their thinking or lack of it.
      Not many people yelling here. If you rely on science, that doesn't mean science relies on you or your "god". If it did we'd still be banging rocks together with feces running down our legs.

      May 7, 2011 at 6:05 pm |
    • airwx

      @ Rogue Please note in my posts that I did not mention G/god, religion, faith or any other such word. My arguement is that we are still an ignorant people in comparison to the wealth of knowledge left undiscovered. You have a belief system and I have a belief system. How do you know they are not the same?

      May 7, 2011 at 6:34 pm |
    • joe

      @airwx
      all right lets assume you are not discussing god or religion.
      I completely agree that we are all relatively ignorant people. That's an important point to make – essentially none of us really know anything for certain, because none of us know everything.
      Now, if I may talk about god for a second, this is kind of why I find definitive positions like "there is no god" or "there is a god" are a little silly. No one has proof of one or the other, and even if they did, they couldn't possibly know that their proof is not going to be invalidated by something we do not yet know. The only reasonable answer seems to be " I don't really know if there is a god or not." agnostic.

      May 7, 2011 at 7:13 pm |
    • airwx

      @ Joe....my point exactly...whew... I had a hard time making myself understood, thank you for being patient enough to follow the convuluted path.

      May 7, 2011 at 7:25 pm |
    • Rogue

      @airwx – Okay we are all ignorant of what we don't know. This is a point you felt the need to make? Arguing from ignorance is not exactly solid ground from which to move forward.
      Are you trying to equate ignorance with something? Why don't you spell it out for us instead of acting all coy about it?

      May 7, 2011 at 7:48 pm |
    • airwx

      @ Rogue...I am sorry if you did't understand my point. No matter who we are, no matter what our beliefs....we know far less than is required to make many of the statements we make in these discussions. I merely argue from civility until we are all enlightened far more than we are now...Peace to all...... I must leave for the night.

      May 7, 2011 at 7:58 pm |
    • Rogue

      @airwx – "arguing from civility" That's a meaningless statement. Perhaps you meant something else? You want people to be civil and yet make no arguments as to WHY they should be civil? Nor do your other arguments address civility.
      Well, for your other remonstrations, here is a quote from one of your other posts: "No, I am not speaking of the God of the Gaps. My understanding of God comes from a belief that there are physical forces we have yet to find a scientific method of measuring...ones that I have come to believe exist because I have translated certain portions of the Bible for myself. It would take me weeks to type in what I found. I will say this... it isn't taught from pulpits...."
      I laughed when I saw this, because you are spelling out the "god of the gaps" as your belief!
      You can deny it all you like, but you spelled it out yourself. You believe in the god of the gaps. Making a bunch of coy arguments over everyone's ignorance just shows you are arguing from ignorance, saying that science has yet to discover proof of your "god" but that it is definitely out there somehow.
      Yeah, airwx / Lycidas, you are really blowing us away with your cleverness here. Wowee. I may have to revise my whole position. lol

      May 7, 2011 at 8:52 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @Rogue

      You Said: "If you rely on science, that doesn't mean science relies on you or your "god". If it did we'd still be banging rocks together with feces running down our legs."

      LMFAO...!!! 🙂

      Peace...

      May 8, 2011 at 2:34 am |
    • Peace2All

      @airwx

      You Said... "we are now...(Peace to all)...... I must leave for the night."

      Hey... careful...!! Just kidding -airwx. I hope that you are well...?

      Peace...

      May 8, 2011 at 2:36 am |
  7. 21k

    i think it's time to pick a different god, no? maybe one that doesn't kill good people for no apparent reason.

    May 7, 2011 at 4:54 pm |
    • joe

      god doesnt kill people. tornadoes kill people. tornadoes != god.
      is god all-powerful? yes.
      could he have saved those people? yes
      why didnt he? who am I to question the unknowable wisdom of god.

      May 7, 2011 at 5:13 pm |
  8. chefdugan

    God has absolutly nothing to offer. You deal with what's inside you or you have nothing. Praying is just another word for whining.

    May 7, 2011 at 4:26 pm |
    • airwx

      And you base you statement on what experience????

      May 7, 2011 at 4:29 pm |
  9. joe

    some people wonder how my faith in God can be so strong.
    Here's my secret: Anytime anything at all happens or anyone shows you anything that might be an argument against the existence of God, just re-interpret it so that it strengthens your faith!
    If there's no possible evidence that could ever be presented to you to dissuade you, then you have a "strong faith". No question about it.

    May 7, 2011 at 4:04 pm |
    • joe

      you'd also be totally unreasonable, but let's not let that get in the way of anything.

      May 7, 2011 at 4:06 pm |
    • seen it before

      two girls, one cup of joe

      May 7, 2011 at 4:09 pm |
    • airwx

      Interesting thought... That means if someone showed you that the probability of you being you genetically is 1X10^-7000 vs the number of atoms in the universe is (only) estimated at 1X10^80th, you would hold on to the concept that you think you are an accident. To put that into perspective...you would have to pick the next 667 powerball lotteries a priori to equal that number. Are Ya Feelin lucky?

      May 7, 2011 at 4:13 pm |
    • chefdugan

      No, that is blind obedience to ignorance. More of the littany of disillusion.

      May 7, 2011 at 4:29 pm |
    • joe

      @airwx
      is that a serious argument? i thought mine was pretty clearly sarcasm, but your rehashing of an oft quoted and disproved argument is more borderline.
      why? if someone showed me that the probability of me being me is anything less than one then they'd be wrong, since I am me.
      its like saying what is the probability that 1 is 1, when there are an infinite number of numbers that it could have been!
      put another way, its the same argument as "clearly there is a god, because such a small fraction of planets are habitable and yet we miraculously find ourselves on one." Its really not a valid argument in any way. why? because your sample group is "people who asked the question": in other words, "people who are, either by accident or not, on habitable worlds." (obviously, people/bacteria on non-hospitable worlds never evolve far enough to ask the question.) It proves nothing about god, only that there is a 1 to 1 correlation between "known people on habitable worlds" and "known people on habitable worlds".

      May 7, 2011 at 4:30 pm |
    • airwx

      @ chef....I do not understand the basis for your comment. Dispute my numbers if you can, but you missed the point that they show an appreciation for genetics, the Genome project and mathmatics as a whole. Why would you call that ignorence?

      May 7, 2011 at 4:33 pm |
    • airwx

      Your rebuttal is based on postori statistics. It is the only hiding place for those who refuse to look beyond the empirical world as we know it. Consider where we are in cosmology. We can only explain 23% of the visible universe; what is in our 3 dimensions. We postulate, and hope at Cern to investigate, the other 77% ( string theory 1-5, M theory etc). We have no clue what is beyond our visible Hubble sphere, yet science calculates that our total universe is 251 times that size. My point is not to prove the existence of anything....only to illuminate illogical conclusions.

      May 7, 2011 at 4:40 pm |
    • Dexter Skagway

      airwx, the probability of me being me is 100%.

      You are trying to say that because I or anything else exists, there must be a God. That's called non sequitor, and it is a logical fallacy that usually loses a debate.

      Your understanding of probability is very strange and inadequate. Perhaps people who are hostile to science should not turn around and attempt to use it in a discussion.

      May 7, 2011 at 4:45 pm |
    • airwx

      @ Dexter ... my arguement goes to the unique qualities that comprise us all. Yes, a postorii, you are correct. The odds of anyone else being born identical to you (other than a twin, etc) is so far beyond the pale as to be ludicrous.

      May 7, 2011 at 4:50 pm |
    • joe

      @airwx
      and amazingly enough, you will not find someone else born identically to dexter.
      your point?

      So you try to argue that "it is so amazing that 1 coincidentally is equal to one", and then defend your argument with reference to string theory and possible more dimensions, which, as far as I can tell, have nothing to do with your argument being a non-sequitor in even only 3 dimensions.
      Contrary to popular belief, the first person to refer to m- theory in a discussion of god is not automatically the winner.

      your original argument is that "its unlikely that you are the way you are"
      we are saying, no, it's guaranteed by your sample size.
      you respond "but its unlikely that someone ELSE is the way you are"
      we respond: "agreed, and amazingly enough, there isn't anyone."
      you respond: "BUT KNOWN UNIVERSE 23% and M-theory and STRING THEORY WITH POSSIBLE MORE DIMENSIONS!"

      yeaaaa. i think we're done here.

      May 7, 2011 at 4:58 pm |
    • Dexter Skagway

      Have there ever been any incidences of people being twins who were not biologically twins? I have not heard of that. However, the probability is that it would eventually happen if enough time and generations occur, no matter how improbable that might be at any given moment to any given individual. And the "twins" would probably be separated by centuries or more.

      But I'm not sure how your point related to your original point. I think you are trying to say that the statistical probability of events starting at the Big Bang and ultimately combining to have me as a result is statistically incredibly improbable. However, things must of course occur, many things, based on the prevailing laws of nature. As enormous amounts of time and interactions and generations pass, ultimately everything that happens is specifically highly improbable, and yet it happens anyway. It is highly improbable that someone will win the lottery, and yet people do it every week. It is even more improbable that there would be a roomful of these highly improbable lottery winners, and yet that has happened.

      Highly improbable does not mean it does not happen. It is actually highly probable that highly improbable things will happen. Having a highly improbable thing happen is not evidence of the existence of a supernatural ent-ity – that is a non sequitor.

      Have you ever heard of lying with statistics? That's structurally what is happening here, though I do not think you are lying.

      Interesting discussion, though.

      May 7, 2011 at 5:12 pm |
    • Mike

      Two questions for Joe and Airwx,

      So how do you know that your religion, out of all the religions throughout time, is correct? Why are other religions and their holy books wrong?

      And the second question. Most people say they believe in a god because the world is too perfect to have just happened. But if you actually think that statement through. In order for a god to have created this world, he/she/it would have to be exponentially more complex than we are. So who made god? If you think this world is too complex to not have a designer than how could this god have come to existence?

      May 7, 2011 at 7:32 pm |
    • joe

      @ mike
      sounds like you need to adjust your sarcasm meter, or just read what I wrote.
      although if you like, I can play devil's advocate and answer your first question for a "religious person":

      If I somehow know christianity is true, and part of christianity is the statement "no other religion is true", then I do not need to examine and evaluate all other religions because I already know they, by virtue of being "not christianity" are false.

      That actually would be logical .......................if you could somehow know that christianity IS true.

      May 7, 2011 at 7:50 pm |
  10. jesuslovesyou

    Faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance of what we do not see Hebrews 11. You are right in that many people have faith in many silly things that are not of God. ..and many use His name for their own selfish reasons....If you try having faith in God you will see you will see how He works..He is the real deal..He will not give you false hope but real hope that is eternal....you will know that he can defy scientific laws because He created science. ...He is as real as your next breath and He wants you to know He cares for you more than you can imagine...whatever has been done to you in your past He can heal it

    May 7, 2011 at 3:53 pm |
    • jesusisdeadfool

      You are so full of crap.

      May 7, 2011 at 4:01 pm |
    • Peace

      "You are so full of crap."

      Typical non-believer can't come up with anything intellectual to say, except to insult those that are different than you.

      May 7, 2011 at 4:12 pm |
    • chefdugan

      No the man is absolutly right. You are really full of crap.

      May 7, 2011 at 4:27 pm |
    • Scramas

      I also say you are full of crap. no need to go into all the details.

      May 7, 2011 at 4:56 pm |
    • Rogue

      @Peace – You, too, are full of crap. Intellectual arguments are the hallmark of atheist comments here and of an atheist position in the first place.
      Your anti-intellectualism is really a sad and pathetic position to hold.
      You are, in effect, saying "I'm stupid and I am too stupid to see it and I like to insult smart people for being smart by pretending they are saying stupid things all the time."
      But feel free to continue looking bad. We all get a chuckle from it.

      May 7, 2011 at 5:55 pm |
    • Free

      If you turn out to be listening to somebody give their opinion about anything they haven't the slightest idea about then intellectual responses would be like the proverbial pearls thrown before swine. Sometimes it's actually an act of kindness to tell people they're full of crap just so they stop embarrassing themselves by demonstrating just how full they are.

      May 8, 2011 at 2:06 pm |
  11. deb

    Good idea to research your claims about education and science, most scientist these days , have come to the conclusion that has to be a God there simply is no other explanation. research it!

    May 7, 2011 at 2:14 pm |
    • Know What

      deb,
      "...most scientist these days , have come to the conclusion that has to be a God."

      No, "most scientist [sic]" have not come to that conclusion. You research it... and not on Creationist/ID sites, please.

      While you are educating yourself, take a look at the proper pluralization of 'scientist' and 'atheist' - it is 'scientists' and 'atheists'.

      May 7, 2011 at 2:36 pm |
    • Free

      Know What-
      All deb has to do is say it and most believers will just take it at face value, like they do other stuff they want to believe is true.

      I, however, can offer you this table of scientist's views from this site http://www.lhup.edu/~dsimanek/sci_relig.htm

      The results were as follows (figures in %):

      BELIEF IN PERSONAL GOD 1914 1933 1998

      Personal belief 27.7 15 7.0
      Personal disbelief 52.7 68 72.2
      Doubt or agnosticism 20.9 17 20.8

      BELIEF IN IMMORTALITY 1914 1933 1998

      Personal belief 35.2 18 7.9
      Personal disbelief 25.4 53 76.7
      Doubt or agnosticism 43.7 29 23.3

      Of course, if you catch any particular scientist as she is leaving church with her kids and ask her if she really does actually believe in God, creationism and the supernatural you may not get as forthright a response as you would otherwise get with an anonymous survey.

      May 7, 2011 at 2:43 pm |
    • JohnR

      Deb! Take your own advice! And learn a little grammar, spelling and punctuation. Here is your post with all the necessary corrections: "Good idea to research your claims about education and science. Most scientists these days have come to the conclusion that there has to be a God. There simply is no other explanation. Research it!"

      Of course, correcting the spelling, grammar and punctuation doesn't make it any more true than it was when you wrote it.

      May 7, 2011 at 3:05 pm |
    • Crysee Edson

      ......could you give us an example of some of these scientists that believe in god? Please use citations as well.

      May 7, 2011 at 7:43 pm |
  12. jesuslovesyou

    William God loves you so much He gave his only son for you that you might choose Him....He gave us all free wil to choose Him to choose to believe that our sins might be washed away but this world is not the end.... this ugliness and sorrow is passing away...we are not inHeaven yet but Id like to see you there my brother.....that is what we all long for whether you acknowledge it or not....because no matter what you try to fill it with there is always an emptiness that only God can fill....people will always dissapoint you...Christians are peoplle full of flaws. Like everyone..the world is broken because people..including. Christians...choose sin over the life God wants for us...... if you sincerely ask God into your heart you will know why people have comfort. Why they speak of great love that surpasses understanding and why they want to see you in Heaven. if you don't ever try you'll never know

    May 7, 2011 at 1:58 pm |
    • Free

      And homeopathic remedies are also said to really work ... as long as you have faith that they will, which doesn't make much sense when talking about a medicine, right? I saw on a show just a few weeks ago a group of skeptics down about 100 times the recommended dose of a homeopathic 'cure' for headaches with zero result. It was a very, very expensive demonstration, but it seemed to completely fail to persuade any of the 'true believers' witnessing it. That's the power of belief, and I'm sure you wouldn't have much trouble thinking of things people believe that you just can't understand how. Astrology maybe?

      I have no doubt that God offering his son is a very comforting thought to many, but so is the knowledge that things really do happen without somebody controlling them that has the power to intercede, and save more people, through miracles, but chooses not to for everyone. In reality, the idea of God creates just as much anxiety as it supposedly relieves.

      May 7, 2011 at 3:00 pm |
    • jesusisdeadfool

      Jesus is dead. Paul of Tarsus made up all the details. Your Bible is crap.

      May 7, 2011 at 4:05 pm |
    • Peace

      "Paul of Tarsus made up all the details"

      Please provide the source that proves this statement to be true. I bet you can't.

      May 7, 2011 at 4:09 pm |
    • Arthur Destrada

      Well, there cannot be anything of proof in these matters, but Paul did create the earliest surviving Christian writings. His letters date about 48 – 68 CE. The earliest gospel is Mark, dating to just prior to 70 CE, and Luke, Matthew and John to 80 CE or later. That means that the story of Christ handed down as gospel could would almost certainly have been influenced by Paul, perhaps a lot.

      Biblical scholars generally agree that no Gospel seems to have been written by anyone who knew Jesus. Considering how focussed Paul was on controlling the form of Christianity, as well as his difficulties with the Old Testament pronouncement that anyone executed on a tree is guilty, then it seems likely that the whole resurrection/died for your sins thing was a Pauline addition. Jesus never said that his death would be important, nor any of the "died for your sins" implications – indeed, those things don't really fit his preachings.

      I would tend to think that Paul did not make it up, that there was a historical Jesus, and his story was repeated word-of-mouth for decades. And like word-of-mouth stories tend to be, things got added, subtracted, and changed. I suspect Paul added and subtracted from the story to fit his design – he was very control-oriented.

      Do note that there are absolutely no accounts or records from the time of Jesus that mention him, none at all. Some people claim that there are lots of eyewitness accounts and Roman records, but there are none.

      May 7, 2011 at 4:38 pm |
    • Free

      Peace-
      The point is that you can't prove that Paul didn't make up the details either, and humans have a very long history of making things up, right? That's reason enough to be skeptical. If you want to override your better sense with this then that's totally your own business, just don't consider the rest of us somehow less moral if we don't, OK?

      May 8, 2011 at 1:57 pm |
    • PraiseTheLard

      So you think he should be given the Paulitzer Prize?

      May 8, 2011 at 2:00 pm |
  13. Mike

    It would seen that many of you are very quick to read a story about faith and then denounce it. Why read the piece? There has been a lack of rational arguments on both sides, but i will leave you with this. There was a comment made earlier about the lack of education in regards to people of faith. I would counter with this, most major colleges in the united states were started by Christians. To work as a pastor in most churches today you need the at least a four year degree. Some pastors go as far as to have phd's in theology. They're is a cross section of the faith that is uneducated and unable to defend they're faith but please don't tell me that just because you get educated you out grow your need for God.

    May 7, 2011 at 1:29 pm |
    • Rogue

      @Mike – A PhD in Theology is just a degree in silly nonsense. You can sound really educated with your nonsense but it remains nonsense.
      There are different types of education.
      Being an expert in mythology and fairy tales is not really something to be proud about unless you are teaching honest mythology and not a belief system to your students.
      Any idiot can start a college of bullshlt knowledge as we can plainly see, yes.
      Religious colleges are nothing but overpriced diploma mills, cranking out graduates in all the different ways to lie about religion.
      But if your education is in how to think clearly using logic and reason and science and evidence, then at some point you have to acknowledge the essential insanity of religion. Perhaps some are just playing along with religion and you have no way of weeding them out. Haven't you ever thought of that?

      May 7, 2011 at 2:39 pm |
    • Free

      Rogue-
      "A PhD in Theology is just a degree in silly nonsense"
      About as silly as a PhD in Warp Technology. 🙂

      May 7, 2011 at 3:04 pm |
    • Free

      Mike-
      "They're is a cross section of the faith that is uneducated and unable to defend they're faith but please don't tell me that just because you get educated you out grow your need for God."

      It's not really a question of outgrowing your 'need' for God. You just come to understand how utterly un-unique the Christian belief system is within the world of other religions and ancient myths. Once you step back and really get a good, objective, comparative view of the faith you happened to grow up with it loses all it's mystique, and becomes as easy to dismiss for the same, exact reasons as the thousands of other faiths that you don't believe in.

      You were likely taught to some degree that other religions' beliefs and practices were silly and weird, but everyone thinks that way about the other guy's religious beliefs and practices, including yours. You just have to realize why that's so, is all.

      May 8, 2011 at 12:56 am |
  14. Reality

    As per the famous contemporary theologian, Edward Schillebeeckx, God is not omniscient. Please read, pause and contemplate the following by Schillebeeckx:

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

    "Christians (et al) 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."

    Schillebeeckx's words were addressed to the citizens of the Netherlands who were blaming God for the devastating North Sea storms in 1958 that killed many and destroyed a substantial number of farms.

    My take: No one, not even God (if there is one) can prophesy since that would violate the Nature-given gifts of Free Will and Future.

    May 7, 2011 at 12:15 pm |
    • Muneef

      Nice and Wise one of you Reality although you believe in no God...
      "The Religious are Making of God the Great Scapegoat of History."

      May 7, 2011 at 7:20 pm |
    • Reality

      SAVING 1.5 BILLION LOST MUSLIMS:
      THERE NEVER WAS AND NEVER WILL BE ANY ANGELS I.E. NO GABRIEL, NO ISLAM AND THEREFORE NO MORE KORANIC-DRIVEN ACTS OF HORROR AND TERROR

      SAVING 2 BILLION LOST CHRISTIANS:
      THERE WAS AND NEVER WILL BE ANY BODILY RESURRECTIONS I.E. NO EASTER, NO CHRISTIANITY

      SAVING 15.5 MILLION ORTHODOX FOLLOWERS OF JUDAISM:
      ABRAHAM AND MOSES NEVER EXISTED.

      Added details upon request.

      May 8, 2011 at 12:15 am |
  15. McJesus

    Thank you for the tornado Jesus! I have faith in you!

    May 7, 2011 at 12:08 pm |
  16. myklds

    @William...The number 2 is maybe welcome but definitely neither needed nor required.

    May 7, 2011 at 9:36 am |
  17. James

    I'd love to see an article someday about how overwhelmingly tragic events led someone to finally grow OUT OF their "faith." But I'm not going to hold my breath.

    May 7, 2011 at 8:56 am |
    • William

      Such an article is unlikely. It requires 2 things: 1) someone willing to write/publish an article and risk the violent reaction from people of hope, and 2) an person of hope having enough intellect and courage to extricate him/herself from the cult

      May 7, 2011 at 9:21 am |
  18. Keith

    I find it interesting that the Yesha in Israel sent UN General Secretary Ban Ki Moon a letter pointing out how the Bible gave Israel it's covenant land. It's almost like God giving yet another warning to the world not to divide up the land. Hosea 4:6 "my people are destroyed for lack of knowledge". If our nation's leaders had a better understanding of the Word of God, many of these judgements would not befall us. Replacement theology has done us great harm.

    May 7, 2011 at 8:12 am |
    • Free

      The problem is that the Palestinians, you know, actually believe in the same God and kinda got it into their heads that he may be as much on their side in all this.

      May 8, 2011 at 12:39 am |
    • Keith

      YHWH and allah are not the same ent-ity. YHWH is real. allah may as well be carved from wood or stone or my kids' playdoh.

      May 8, 2011 at 3:57 pm |
    • PraiseTheLard

      Keith wrote: "YHWH and allah are not the same ent-ity. YHWH is real. "

      And you know this... how? Can you demonstrate that YHWH is more real than the Great Flying Spaghetti Monster or Santa Claus?

      May 8, 2011 at 4:01 pm |
    • Free

      Keith-
      YHWH is more real to you because that's he's your god but, objectively, Allah is far easier to comprehend because he's a simpler being, without all that incomprehensible trinity stuff weighing him down.

      "Ridicule is the only weapon which can be used against unintelligible propositions. Ideas must be distinct before reason can act upon them; and no man ever had a distinct idea of the trinity. It is the mere Abracadabra of the mountebanks calling themselves the priests of Jesus." _Thomas Jefferson

      May 9, 2011 at 8:35 am |
  19. paul

    @ Mike that statement is a two way street.I could only pray that you would find what God has to Offer,but if you were given it you would know it and then not deny it. Faith is a gift,preceded by hope. I'm glad I have it and sorry most people dont.

    May 7, 2011 at 8:11 am |
  20. jesuslovesyou

    We are called to show love to all...that includes atheists!!!!!!!! Christians responding to these posts I beg of you to search your heart....pray that if you can't show Gods love on your own to people who say hurtful things to you or about God....that God might pour His love through you and give you the strength to turn the other cheek and LOVEthem as He has loved us...it is difficult but that is where God show up ...to do impossible thing by the world standards....if we respond wit hate we are in opposition to God...I pray that you hear this and apply it to you life! God requires us to relinquish control of our need for retribution and. To simply let Him love us that we might show love to a broken world...

    May 7, 2011 at 8:07 am |
    • William

      Since Christianity is among the main causes of this "broken world", it is ironic to suggest that "He" could or would fix anything

      May 7, 2011 at 8:52 am |
    • deb

      there is evil in this world that wishes to kill and destroy us and we will be subject to it until we return to be with our lord, man tends to want to make himself god , education , success, money. but when the rubber meets the road and tragedy strikes alzhiemers, cancer,bankruptcy,homelessness,loss of a child, terrorists attack, unknowingly we all cry out to the same god. remember pride comes before the fall. what if the atheist and agnostics are wrong what a loss to the kingdom of god.

      May 7, 2011 at 2:09 pm |
    • Free

      deb-
      "man tends to want to make himself god"
      Wouldn't that include all who think they know God's mind by claiming the only 'true' interpretation of the Bible? It may not be making oneself God, but in the absence of God being around to update the Bible, claiming to be His only real spokespeople amounts to the same thing in practice.

      May 7, 2011 at 2:29 pm |
    • Skippy

      Free, based on the quality of deb's thinking, I seriously doubt an appeal to reason will be effective on her.

      May 7, 2011 at 4:01 pm |
    • jesusisdeadfool

      etc

      May 7, 2011 at 4:06 pm |
    • chefdugan

      Faith is just another word for "I don't know what the hell happened!" Mother Nature is what happened you fools!

      May 7, 2011 at 4:23 pm |
    • Crysee Edson

      Lol. You're god is a d-bag. He just loves killing people, doesn't he?

      May 7, 2011 at 7:20 pm |
    • Free

      Skippy-
      Well, maybe all that 'magical thinking' must be rubbing off on me, but I suppose a miracle really is too much to hope for, eh?

      May 8, 2011 at 12:36 am |
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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.