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Faith comes to the forefront on Sunday in Joplin
May 29th, 2011
08:03 AM ET

Faith comes to the forefront on Sunday in Joplin

(CNN) - Sunday has long been a day for reflection in Joplin, Missouri, with residents flocking to churches and other places of worship for guidance, understanding and a sense of community.

Now, several of those churches are gone, as are scores who might otherwise be going to them, thanks to a horrific tornado that ripped through the southwest Missouri city one week ago. That makes this Sunday especially significant, not to mention the subsequent days, as religious leaders try to offer meaning after such a senseless disaster.

"You could see ... the challenge they are going to face, as they preach funerals in the weeks to come," Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon said after meeting faith-based leaders this week. "It's enormous."

Nixon, along with President Barack Obama, will be among those attending a special memorial service at Missouri Southern State University for the 142 killed (as of Saturday evening) and thousands more affected by the tornado.

Then at 5:41 p.m. - exactly one week after an EF-5 tornado, with winds over 200 mph, first touched down - the city will go silent.

That moment will be a stark contrast to the fury the Rev. Justin Monaghan experienced as the twister barreled toward St. Mary's Catholic Church. The 70-year-old pastor got in a bathtub at the church, put his face down and prayed.

When the winds ceased, Monaghan found himself trapped in the rubble - where he remained until some of his parishioners rescued him, unscathed.

While he's still coming to grips with what happened, Monaghan said he believes that good will come out of this tragedy and in fact already has.

"God allows things to happen that we don't know why," the pastor said earlier this week. "But when we look back, we always hear the good things that happen as a result."

That positive energy was on display Saturday on the church grounds. There, parishioners and volunteers picked through the debris looking for items to salvage, Monaghan said. One found the pastor's Bible, and another was able to save his golf clubs.

"The enthusiasm was unbelievable, even as people were shedding tears," Monaghan said. "It's just wonderful to see."

On Sunday, Monaghan said he will celebrate Mass at St. Peter's, another Catholic church in Joplin. And if and when his church is rebuilt - something that he expects will happen, with the parish council's support - the pastor said a 6-foot cross that somehow braved the storm will be a part of it, behind the altar.

"We wouldn't dream of not using that," he said.

The Bridge Ministries, a nondenominational Christian youth organization, has opened its doors to schools, relief agencies and churches in need of space. They include members of St. Paul's United Methodist Church, which will hold their Sunday services at the ministries' center after their own facility was severely damaged in the storm.

Dan Mitchell, the organization's president, said he has been impressed that so many people, from near and far, offered help. Food, water and clothing have come in everything from car trunks to tractor-trailers, he said, and the center's parking lot has transformed into a distribution point for supplies.

Meanwhile, Mitchell said that locals directly affected have seen their faith strengthened in the past week.

"Faithful Christians who understand that God creates order from chaos have stood up and done what it takes," he said. "They have given up their lives. If they come up against roadblocks, they get around them and they get it done."

CNN's Jacqui Jeras and Mike Pearson contributed to this report.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Catholic Church • Church

soundoff (313 Responses)
  1. Adelina

    @LoneZero, no, I love atheists in Jesus. Telling facts and truth in plain fashion is a form of genuine love. I'm sorry you didn't get it. You need to know what you are(reality) before you can get cure. @John Richardson: Thank you for proving DNA is a creation, a design and a program. That's exactly what I meant. Read my comment for Bucky as well.

    May 30, 2011 at 8:46 am |
    • Dorianmode

      Has there ever been, even one person, on all these boards, who has ever, even once, agreed with you ?
      Does that not tell you something ?

      May 30, 2011 at 9:16 am |
    • Adelina

      @Dorianmode, why should I care for anyone's agreement? Truth is true no matter what. That was the core value of the Western civilization. You Americans are turning into pagans by being cowards. CNN is occupied with liberals so I'm speaking in the "enemy" ground anyway. You guys are living proofs American freedom is turning into dirt.

      May 30, 2011 at 9:30 am |
    • Adelina

      Dorian, if you don't like some perspectives other than yours, just say so. Truth is many times a painful thing. Just don't be cowards. You feminized American boys are just another factor America is going down.

      May 30, 2011 at 9:34 am |
    • Dorianmode

      Whatever. You haven't answered my question.
      As you have not answered even such a simple question, there is no logical reason to expect you will answer any other, but for the sake of completeness I will ask a few more.

      How do you know I am a guy ?
      How did you come to the conclusion that you are in possession of the "truth" ?
      What do you mean when you say the word "truth" ?
      What is one examples of where or how Western Civilization possess the "truth" where Eastern Civilization is lacking therein ?
      Can you explain the process that you use to make the judgement that someone is "turning into a pagan", (please also define what you mean by "pagan", as well as listing the separate steps that are involved in the "turning into a pagan") ? How exactly does being a coward "turn me into a pagan" ?
      "so I'm speaking in the "enemy" ground anyway." Great point. What ARE you doing here ? And what do you think you are doing ?
      "if you don't like some perspectives other than yours, just say so."
      No, I won't be doing that anytime soon. I love perspectives, other than mine. That's why most of us are here.
      "You feminized American boys are just another factor America is going down."
      (Didn't you say yesterday that American Christians were the hope of the world, or some such cr-p ?)
      First of all, I'm not a "boy". And secondly, whatever my estrgen/testosterone levels may or may not be, are not only none of your business, but also irrelevant.

      May 30, 2011 at 10:39 am |
    • Adelina

      Dorian, I don't need to answer any of your questions. But I'll answer the first one. Isn't Dorian boy's name? If you were a girl, you'd be Dorianne. No? I usually ignore long comments unless I see some values there. Don't waste my time.

      May 30, 2011 at 10:44 am |
    • Dorianmode

      The Dorian Mode is a Medieval musical scale, which would be well known to any educated person. You are obviously unaware that you could have easily "googled" it, and thus avoided embarrassing yourself yet again.

      You ARE wasting your time, as no one here takes anything you say seriously.

      I have a couple more questions to add to my long list of those you are completely incapable of answering.
      Have you always been in complete possession of all the truth ? Was there ever a moment in you life where you were missing even one tiny piece of the complete truth ?
      I await even one answer.

      May 30, 2011 at 12:25 pm |
    • Keith

      Adelina, don't worry, I've never heard of Dorain mode either. These eliteist megalomaniacs like doing that, though. If you don't know some trivial thing, you are therefore ignorant, bigotted, hateful, blah, blah, blah. It's okay, I didn't get the secret decoder ring either. I could say you are ignorant if you don't know the firing order of a 350 cu inch Chevy small block engine or how many grains of IMR 4064 does it take to take to propel a .308 diameter, 150 grain hollow-point boat-tail bullet out of a .30-06 at 3000 feet per second; but that certainly doesn't make ignorant, at least not in the degrading way they use it.

      May 30, 2011 at 1:47 pm |
    • Dorianmode

      Ok, never mind all that. Just answer one question then ?

      Why exactly are you here ?

      May 30, 2011 at 3:11 pm |
    • From a distance

      This happens to be one of the fake Adelinas, btw...

      May 30, 2011 at 3:13 pm |
    • Dorianmode

      @Keith
      She wouldn't need a decoder ring if she knew how to "google".
      BTW, can you ask her is America doomed or not? She keeps going back and forth.

      May 30, 2011 at 4:27 pm |
    • Adelina

      @Dorianmode: I never claimed to know all truth. (All truth is God's truth and humans are in a process of finding them. Science is one of those fields.) But there are some vital truth mankind MUST know and it was given by God in the Bible. More you know about the world, including science, more you know God's Word is true. I'm here to transmit the vital truth – how to be saved – and tell you "why" of the matters. I never imagined I'd amuse American atheists so badly. You need proper education to have a good conscience and liberation from narcissism. You guys are quite serious sick, you know.

      May 30, 2011 at 11:24 pm |
    • Adelina

      @From-a-distance: It's me, the original Christian Adelina who's been speaking from Biblical Christian perspectives. If I find my fakes, I usually deny them under the comments and change my user name permanently if the abuse of my user name becomes too much. I haven't found false Adelina much yet. You need to find the same person by the content. I have no idea why some of you keep calling me a fake. @Dorianmode, whether America is doomed or not is not important. Excessive immorality destroys both the person and the nation. Many Christians think the West has crossed the line in many aspects. The Bible says ALL nations will be punished justly. We've seen quite dire consequences and also pure tragedies as well. However, you should concern how you are living before God since you need salvation, not USA. Personally I think it's too late. Only miracle is national repentance, but seeing you guys and the Babylonian witches you entertain yourselves with... no hope in sight. People choose theior course collectively. Study the history of ancient Israel as she was like present USA.

      May 30, 2011 at 11:37 pm |
  2. Adelina

    @LoneZero, if you attempt to disprove my points by answering the same question for yourself, you will get all your answers, because you cannot refute my points. Or google and read related scholarly books. Also, if you really need answers from me, ask me one at a time, not in bunch.

    May 29, 2011 at 11:29 pm |
    • LoneZero

      "@LoneZero, if you attempt to disprove my points by answering the same question for yourself, you will get all your answers, because you cannot refute my points"

      I cannot refute your points because your points don't exist, there not real, it's just mindless ignorant lying points with no substance behind it factless and baseless moot claims with no meaning other then to make yourself feel better while bashing people who think or believe diffrent then you.

      May 30, 2011 at 12:00 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      -> "...with no meaning other then to make yourself feel better while bashing people who think or believe different then you."

      So, pretty much the problem is that she is using the same fighting style as many of the folks here. Good grief, folks have been bashing others that think differently than them for recent months. Why is it that this one poster can not? Maybe many of yall are acting upset because she is successfully "landing punches" and its frustrating to see your own styles used against you.

      Ecch... yall wake me up when both sides finally realize one day that on places like Internet message boards each person comes in believing they are right, have heard all opposing arguments prior to getting here, .... and be they Atheist, Christian, Muslim or whatever...... no one is going to move from their positions.

      ... sooner or later dialogue on how to coexist will happen.

      May 30, 2011 at 1:17 am |
    • LoneZero

      @Mark from Middle River

      Not necessarily, I haven't really seen anyone on here using such blatant ignorant rhetorics, then when someone, whether it be atheist or christian call her out and present facts proving them incorrect she then answer with even more blatant ignorant rhetorics, Adelina's in a league of her own no one either side does that (eh maybe heavensent and cw too). Her blatant ignorant rhetorics are often too sad and surprisingly at times too hilarious to be considered "landing a punch"

      I would say my favorite is her calling atheist communist and at the same time her comments on how everyone even her fellow Christians should perceive Jesus exactly how she sees it and if we don't do things like she says we should were are evil, immoral, dirty, hedonistic, pagans that deserve to suffer is pretty much more or less communist. Oh! Also saying evil activist have brainwashed us or hid fossils for us to find one day, that too!

      "sooner or later dialogue on how to coexist will happen"

      I shall hope so!!

      May 30, 2011 at 2:51 am |
    • Finger Puppet

      @LoneZero
      Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him. Proverbs 26:4
      Never argue with a fool, onlookers may not be able to tell the difference. Author unknown, attributed to Mark Twain

      May 30, 2011 at 5:58 am |
    • Finger Puppet

      @MfMR
      The directly above has absolutely nothing to do with you.
      However re:, " yall are acting upset because she is successfully "landing punches" and its frustrating to see your own styles used against you": The problem is that not even one "punch" has ever come close to ever even "landing". She's not even "in the ring". She's outside the venue, "whistling in the dark".

      May 30, 2011 at 6:13 am |
    • Adelina

      @LoneZero, I never meant to make your life mis-erable... I have no idea why some American atheists got so unhappy with me when all I told was just con-clu-sions from the known facts and ob-ser-vations. I even con-trolled myself on des-cribing the nature of American atheists in order to be nice to them. I think you guys should lis-ten to people other than your own kind more often and read from diff-erent per-spe-ctives. LoneZero, remember this is a blog forum. I think you should not be so upset with someone; it's unfair, you know. Just study au-then-tically in order to understand the world you are in, yourself and humanity in general, and the Word of God. Don't believe in yourself too much. I'm ready to reply you but you are not sincere. You hate me and are ready to only scorn me. You must change your att-itu-de to com-mu-nicate with people.

      May 30, 2011 at 8:25 am |
  3. David Johnson

    @Adelina

    There are no in-between creatures. Apes and humans have a common ancestor. Consider a fork in the branches of a tree. One fork evolved into apes. The other into humans. Humans did not evolve directly from apes.

    Evolution is the way all the different organisms, on this planet, came to be. There is tons of evidence for it. There is no evidence for creation. If evolution did not occur, then why are there transitional fossils? Did Satan put them there, to confuse man? Or did god put them there, to test believer's faith? Or, maybe there was a race of people before Adam, and they account for these transitional fossils? LOL

    Cheers!

    Dolphins, whales and apes do have language. Apes even exhibit the beginning of morals.

    May 29, 2011 at 9:45 pm |
    • Adelina

      @David, you are wrong. Animals and humans are created and designed differently. Apes along with others don't have DNA for language ability. It's a different program. The transitional fossils are way too few, most of them forged and crafted up by the activists. You are being deceived. Planet Earth's massive fossils are only distict species, as the Bible says. I think dogs have better morals than human atheists. No problem. In any case, no honest scientists cling to macro evolution. You are spreading your own most un-scientific religion called evolution.

      May 29, 2011 at 10:43 pm |
    • LoneZero

      @Adelina

      "@David, you are wrong. Animals and humans are created and designed differently. Apes along with others don't have DNA for language ability. It's a different program"

      prove it, what's the program? Why don't animals have a DNA for language abilties? where does it say humans and animals are created and designed differently? What is source? Where did the source aquire this information? when? where is the evidence? where is you proof?

      "The transitional fossils are way too few, most of them forged and crafted up by the activists."

      Who are these activitst? What are the names of these activitst? was it a group or groups? How were they forged? with what? How did they manage to stash fossils in such locations? What was to gain by doing this? How many years ago did they start doing this? where is your evidence, facts, and sources to prove this is true?

      "In any case, no honest scientists cling to macro evolution"

      name the scientists, how many scientists? how many years have been scientists, how long did they study to believe this?

      "You are spreading your own most un-scientific religion called evolution"

      Name and locate all the churches, priest, holy books, and the deity under the religion called evolition, How was it formed? by who? how many members? where are your sources, evidence, and facts to prove this is true?

      put up or shut up, prove your words are your lying again.

      May 29, 2011 at 10:56 pm |
    • Adelina

      @LoneZero, will you please stop stalking me? And get at least a high school diploma first if you want to join grown-up's conversations.

      May 29, 2011 at 11:25 pm |
    • Bucky Ball

      @Adelina
      1. You are incorrect. The higher primates DO have language ability. The easiest example for YOU would be to google "Anderson Cooper Ape Bunny". You SHOULD be able to go from there. The di-chotomy you hypothesize between Ho-mo Sapiens, and animals is simply false. Some animals have a great deal of language.
      2. Apes DO have the DNA for language. In fact apes have about 97.5 % identical deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) structures as humans do. Apes have been shown to also have the ability for abstract thinking. There are examples of that, as I recall in the humorous Andy Cooper piece, you can verify for yourself as you watch it.
      3. Why do you hang around such "unsavory" atheists ? You need to get out more and meet you some better sorts of people. I have never met one I thought was "evil". You clearly make bad choices in your companions.
      4. Your astounding paranoia, "The transitional fossils are way too few, most of them forged and crafted up by the activists. You are being deceived." probably needs psychiatric treatment. I am sure, even in undeveloped countries such as yours, there must be a 1-800-HELP-ME-PLZ equivalent.
      5. "dogs have better morals than human atheists". My puppy wholeheartedly agrees, and is wagging his tail in agreement.
      8)
      :

      May 29, 2011 at 11:45 pm |
    • LoneZero

      wait wait wait, you can come on here and attack numerous athiest and other people of diffrent faiths calling them communist, morals of a dog, accuse us destroying our homelands, knowing nothing of our diffrent histories and not understand the bible the exact same way you do, were dirty rotten horrible people since we don't all follow exacitly what you believe in and when someone ask you simple questions to prove your ignornat claims true you call it stalking? seriously?

      admit it, you can't prove anything you say at all, all you know how to do is hate, bully, and judge others and this is coming from a christian, all just cause their diffrent from you or maybe it's just for fun to make you feel better about yourself.

      May 29, 2011 at 11:54 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      No one doubts that animals are intelligent. God even tells us that He judges man how he treats the animals.

      I see that you are trying to plug the hole in your theory with the split off nonsense. LOL. Guess what David, evolution is the fairy tale.

      Amen.

      May 30, 2011 at 12:32 am |
    • John Richardson

      Adelina, The fact that apes don't have dna for language ability (at least, nowhere near the level humans do) no more disproves evolution than the fact that we don't have dna to form scales on our skin or dna to turn our fore-appendages into wings. It's in the very nature of dna to build different structures and abilities even in closely related species, while also preserving much that we DO have in common with other animals. Arms and wings DO come from a common source, but have evolved in very different directions. Evolution is an elegant account of both the impressive diversity that exists as well as why it seems as constrained as it does. If, for instance, you were to "create" the most efficient flying animal truly "from scratch", you probably wouldn't bother including all the little bones that wings and arms (and hands) have in common. Evolution is a creative process, but it is constrained by having to build on what already exists. It's as if you could build a rocket ship, but HAD to use old airplane and automobile parts to do it.

      May 30, 2011 at 8:19 am |
    • Adelina

      @Bucky, no, non-humans don't have DNA code for language like that of human's. Humans are so deverse and different among ourselves but all of us are identical almost 100% in DNA. 2.5% is A LOT of difference. We have a lot of similarity with apples and bananas as well in that regard.
      I don't hang around with atheists. They come to me in volumes. Do religious people still have freedom of speeches in America?
      No, there are no missing links. Your wishful thinking is un-scientific. You'll never find them for there was no such thing.
      Animals live on instinct; humans alone are morally responsible. Animals are only better than atheists in that they acknowledge the Creator in their own ways. You don't.

      May 30, 2011 at 8:37 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @Adelina
      Animals do indeed use language.
      Humans have even taught certain animals how to communicate with us!
      At the University of Nevada, researchers raised a chimp named Washoe from birth to communicate via american sign language. Washoe had a vocabulary of around 350 and was capable of forming phrases. Not knowing the word "thermos", Washoe called it "metal cup drink".
      When one of the her caretakers was off work for an extended period, having suffered a miscarriage, she explained to Washoe "MY BABY DIED". Washoe stared at her, then looked down. She finally peered into Kat (the caretaker) eyes again and carefully signed "CRY", touching her cheek and drawing her finger down the path a tear would make on a human. (Chimpanzees don't shed tears.) Kat later remarked that that one sign told her more about Washoe and her mental capabilities than all her longer, grammatically perfect sentences."

      You stated "In any case, no honest scientists cling to macro evolution" – and yet Doctor Greg Graffin's PHD thesis paper "Monism, atheism, and the naturalist worldview: Perspectives from evolutionary biology" found that the overwhelming majority of prominent evolutionary biologists disagree with you.
      In fact, over 90% of them believe that there is no conflict between religion and evolution – so long as religion/mythology is recognized as a an adaptation in our sociological evolution. Meaning that it was invented by man and effectively removing God(s) from the equastion when it comes to the most important questions about life, the universe and everything.

      May 30, 2011 at 8:50 am |
    • Adelina

      @LoneZero, (This is my second try to post.) I love atheists in Jesus. Telling facts and truth in plain fashion is a form of genuine love. I'm sorry you didn't get it. You need to know what you are(reality) before you can get cure. @John Richardson: Thank you for proving DNA is a creation, a design and a program. That's exactly what I meant. Read my comment for Bucky as well. God fashoined all en-ti-ties; that's why there are meanings and beauties in this world.

      May 30, 2011 at 8:51 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @Adelina
      As for transitional fossils – there are MANY of them.
      Among the most convincing, recently studied speciments, Tiktaalik is perhaps the most stunning.
      I suggest you take a peek at the facts discovered about this fascinating creature that had both gills and lungs, a flexible neck, and weight supporting, jointed fins that had primitive wrists and phalanges.

      May 30, 2011 at 8:55 am |
    • Adelina

      @Doc V-, sure, let them make animals write a paper on the death of child very soon. You guys are such pathetic deniers of reality. I feel sorry for you. Scientists deny God because the thought of God is boring to them, they said, and no other reason. They know big bang theories and other foundations of theories of evolution are contrary to existing observations in every way. But there is no other way to deny God so they stick to their claims as faithful believers of fantasies. Why don't you guys register your belief system as a religion? That's the honesty.

      May 30, 2011 at 9:00 am |
    • Adelina

      @Doc V-, no, there aren't transitional fossils. Tiktaalik proves a particular design, not gradual evolution. Research more.

      May 30, 2011 at 9:08 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @adelina
      I am respectfully presenting you with FACTS, Adelina.
      Tested, proven, peer reviewed, publically released, independantly verifiable facts – and you believe that somehow means I am denying reality?
      To quote the aforementioned Dr. Graffin:
      "Facts are sterile – not vulgar nor sublime – and they're not religion, they're for everyone and signify the times".
      And how did you come to the conclusion that scientists find the idea of God boring? When I made a statement regarding the opinions of scientists regarding religion, I cited a verifiable source. Where is yours?
      Given that evolutionary biologists and sociologists must find the development of life fascinating (or else they wouldn't be in those fields) and that mythology plays an important part in the history of our species, I would guess that most of them ARE interested in the concept of God.

      May 30, 2011 at 9:15 am |
    • Adelina

      @Doc V-, unlike yours, mine is a conclusion from collective studies. Reasearch, you will find my perspectives there. I personally treat quotes and sitations in this kind of blog section as meaningless, since those are unreliable. Who knows how commenters manupilated? If any comment got you interested, you must go for honest researches on your own. I also do not wish to get anyone or anything in trouble by listing them, unless they are universally famous, since great many atheists personally hate me badly here.

      May 30, 2011 at 9:45 am |
    • Adelina

      @Doc V-, it's a moral choice. Scientific observations and human instincts are definitely more for the Creator's existance. Atheists chose to deny it and believers chose to believe in God. Atheists' conclusion is in the willful choice, not upon scientific data. That's why there will be judgment from God and that's why Christians keep speaking up to rescue you from your self-willed destrution.

      May 30, 2011 at 9:51 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @Adelina
      If you're inviting people to research for themselves, give a starting point – a book, a paper, an educational insti.tution...
      If your "collective research" has nothing published and has not been subjected to scrutiny, then it is not a proper study.

      Dr. Graffin's study is very real and very relevant to the discussion at hand (the opinions of evolutionary biologists pertaining to religion).
      You can buy a book copy, or download it.
      Cornellevolutionproject.org

      May 30, 2011 at 10:02 am |
    • Adelina

      @Doc V-, thanks. Read on Intelligent Design and give them ears. They are very logical and intelligent. AND read the Bible. Antony Flew's "There is a God" must be good for you as well.

      May 30, 2011 at 10:11 am |
    • John Richardson

      Adelina, The fact that DNA codes for certain things doesn't prove that it's a creation. Once again, there are all sorts of vestiges of its history in dna that would have been edited out of, eg, a computer program truly created by a programmer. But you wouldn't understand the difference because of your satanic habit of intentional deceit, including self deceit.

      May 30, 2011 at 11:06 am |
    • From a distance

      boy you guys sure are having fun being trolled by the fake Adelina....or haven't you noticed the difference yet?

      May 30, 2011 at 2:58 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Adelina

      Several people answered you, better than I could have. Doc Vestibule is always an education for me.

      I have a thought though. As I read your comments, your command of the English language seems to "waver", almost as if you are trying to construct an ignorant sort of person. Are you putting us on Adelina? I think it is funny, if you are. I think it is pathetic if you aren't.

      Anyway, I won't be posting to you again. You can make any claims you like. I am an atheist, but I do not hate you.

      Cheers!

      May 30, 2011 at 4:14 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @From a distance

      You said: "boy you guys sure are having fun being trolled by the fake Adelina....or haven't you noticed the difference yet?"

      I thought something was odd. I just wasn't sure.

      Cheers!

      May 30, 2011 at 4:17 pm |
    • Adelina

      @John Richardson: I thought you were talking about your favorite atheistic scientist. He claims computer created its own programs. Humans were unnecessary for computer or for its programs. Satan always gave humanity the most evil absurdity and atheists are hooked into it. You are another stupid creature who claims evil autonomy. @David, I'm original Christian Adelina. I haven't found my fake. Atheists never learned textual criticism; that's why you are confused. Christian haters change tactics; I hope you understand truth always prevails at the end. David, you don't hate Christians but you don't love them and are ready to die to protect them. That's why your goodness is as good as nothing and are inferior to Christians.

      May 30, 2011 at 11:56 pm |
    • Adelina

      @David: I mean, "you are not ready to die to protect Christians." To be good, you must actively live for God and for others, giving up all of yourself, and yet never claim to be good. Christianity is in a different dimention, you just refuse to see it. English is not my main language and I make typo mistakes as well. The reason you see many un-naturality in my writings. Well, you guys understood me enough to be angry, though your memories and comprehentions are bad.

      May 31, 2011 at 12:04 am |
    • Bucky Ball

      @Adelbrain
      I had a comment to make on that, but I'll just let that stand out there all by itself.
      Apples and bananas indeed.

      May 31, 2011 at 12:20 am |
  4. T-party

    great posts....Feel for the surviving families I wish them peace and healing

    May 29, 2011 at 9:01 pm |
  5. John Richardson

    Oh, and one technical point that may or may not be of use. One of the problems with possible world semantics is that every model is supposed to specify a set of possible worlds and every possible world is modeled as a set of propositions about every blessed thing that is true in that world. Of course, no one ever really modeled even one possible world, let along anything remotely like the set of all possible worlds. But you still kinda had to pretend that you had. And what's worse, in belief contexts, you had to pretend that people had models of all possible worlds in their head, and so on. Because of these and other problems, a couple of guys whose names I am embarrassed to say I'm spacing out developed "situation semantics", in which one modeled only small portions of the complete world and indeed only those portions that were relevant to a given proposition and those were modeled somewhat schematically, and not in absurd detail, even hypothetically. So, I was wondering whether something analogous might be tried to avoid the assumption that ENTIRE NEW WORLDS is created whenever a fluorescent light flickers or whatever in many worlds quantum physics. I don't know if that is even desirable, but the thing does seem awfully unwieldy in a way quite reminiscent of possible world semantics. You can google "Situation Semantics", I suppose. Oh, one guy was named Barwise, Barwise and Perry, if I now suddenly recall correctly, but there's probably a huge literature by now going way past the original stuff.

    May 29, 2011 at 8:52 pm |
    • John Richardson

      Dang it! That was meant for Quantum Gravitational Fluctuation, obviously....

      May 29, 2011 at 8:54 pm |
    • Quantum Gravitational Fluctuation

      Thanks John.
      I need to read this carefully and think about it, as well as you prior post. I also have a family emergency. It may take a few days. Behave.

      May 29, 2011 at 11:17 pm |
    • John Richardson

      OK, QGF! All the best re your family emergency. Hope it's nothing too dire. Take your time responding. As for me behaving, well, we'll see about that! But I'll do my best to let my worst behaviors occur only in other possible worlds, eh? 🙂

      May 30, 2011 at 8:24 am |
  6. frank

    By all appearances, God is insatiably amused by torturing the innocent.

    May 29, 2011 at 7:54 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @frank

      You said: "By all appearances, God is insatiably amused by torturing the innocent."

      It is just Him, being mysterious. Remember God has a plan for each of us. Apparently, the plan for some...sucks.

      Cheers!

      May 30, 2011 at 11:08 pm |
    • Adelina

      You guys are the ones who take pleasures in sufferings of others when you are not omni-scient or all-wise. Atheists are evil; they accuse God when tragedy hits, do nothing, and just slander Christians who go and help.

      May 31, 2011 at 12:12 am |
  7. Peace2All

    From the Article:

    "God allows things to happen that we don't know why," the pastor said earlier this week. "But when we look back, we always hear the good things that happen as a result."

    For me personally, I quite often have had problems with any statement/belief that starts out with "God allows things/bad things, etc... to happen, and basically we just don't know why, etc..."

    However, I have learned a long time ago that it becomes a way for people to cope with the situations/life events that are tragedies. I certainly appreciate the need for people to find the silver-lining... to see the good, and leave out the bad, such as all of the death and destruction, etc... that has happened. By believing God has his reasons, and we just don't know the 'why' of his reasons, may be the only thing that gets some people through these terrible events.

    I imagine, 'within' the belief systems of those involved, the statement above can does make sense to them. And it certainly can make things a bit easier to deal with during these tough times.

    I do not wish for people to have to suffer. Life can be hard enough.

    So... If their -beliefs- that God has his reasons 'eases' some of that suffering, then I'm o.k. with it.

    I wish the people of Joplin the best in their re-building and recovery.

    Peace...

    May 29, 2011 at 6:07 pm |
    • John Richardson

      @Peace But at what point does looking for "purpose" where there is none simply become dysfunctional delusion, and dangerously so. There are lots of things that help you "cope" in the short run that hamper your ability to cope in the long term. Detox centers and morgues are full of people who have "coped" themselves into serious trouble or even death. In short, when is an intervention called for?

      May 29, 2011 at 6:39 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @John R.

      Hey -John...

      You Said: "@Peace But at what point does looking for "purpose" where there is none simply become dysfunctional delusion, and dangerously so..?"

      Good question, John. You have seen enough of my posts to know where I stand as far as a belief in a deity. My thinking at this point, without having the ability to 'de-program' every single believer of their beliefs in a deity, is looking at 'this' particular situation from the article,... again... if believing that God has a 'reason' but they don't know why gets them through, and not only in the short term, but in the long run, helps them to live a happy, healthy productive life (without hurting me or others) then that would be certainly 'one' criteria that I might use. (Wow... that was a long run-on...*sorry).

      I actually know people out there that are believers. And, it is not, in my opinion, the right time nor the right call for me nor anyone else to do a 'belief intervention' on these people, especially during these times.

      So, when you say..."when is an 'intervention' called for ?" I truly don't know in a 'general' sense. You tell me...? How would you do it...?

      Do realize -John, again... from my postings, you know where I am with these kinds of beliefs, and, for some believers to keep believing in their god doesn't necessarily 'presuppose' that they won't take the necessary physical 'actions' to make stronger buildings, be more prepared, etc... as I agreed with you in your comment below.

      Peace brother...

      May 29, 2011 at 7:09 pm |
    • John Richardson

      Yo, Peace! At the risk of oversimplfying, I would call you one of our few "belief-tolerant non-believers" and I commend your willingness not just to recognize but to respect the benefits of belief as something separate from the matter of evaluating the content of the belief. Which is a longwinded, ambling, scrambling way to say that you are cool with someone holding whatever belief "gets them through the night", even if you dismiss the content of that belief. I generally agree, But I am also keenly aware that there can be short term vs long term effects with all coping mechanisms, and am particularly troubled but the way religions that are defended as ways people comfort themselves mutate rapidly into doctrinaire excuses to hate and persecute non-believers.

      In any case, I agree that getting in the face of people in Joplin seeking "purpose" right here and now would probably be grossly counterproductive and arguably cruel. But really, when WILL we admit that nature does all sorts of things that have no purpose even though they have profound effects.

      May 29, 2011 at 7:36 pm |
    • John Richardson

      Or maybe I can put it more cogently this way: To what extent is this alleged "need" to find purpose/meaning/silverlingins/upsides a genuine basic need versus to what extent does prior belief in things that don't exist create the tortured mindset that then tries to cope by seeking meaning and purpose where there is none?

      May 29, 2011 at 8:04 pm |
    • BG

      @ John Richardson

      "To what extent is this alleged "need" to find purpose/meaning/silverlingins/upsides a genuine basic need..."

      Doesn't that depend upon -whose- need it is? Do you want to critique something by your standard, or should you consider it in it's context to a believer? I'm sorry, John, but your question is conditional, and has an inherent bias ("belief in things that don't exist create the tortured mindset.") I'm not sure what kind of answer you're fishing for, or more importantly, what relevance -any- answer from a believer would or could possibly have to you. That's not a slam, John, it's just an observation, so don't take it the wrong way.

      May 29, 2011 at 8:39 pm |
    • John Richardson

      @BG Well, yes, I suppose this would vary according to the individual believer, what EXACTLY they believe and perhaps other aspects of their psychological make up. But I still think that one can still ask the ceteris paribus questions: To what extent does the need to find meaning and purpose in natural events TEND to come from people prior belief systems? To what extent can it be attributed to more general, basic human psychology? IF it is more a matter of the former than the latter, or even if there is at least a significant contribution by the former, does encouraging people to find those meanings and purposes simply reinforce a belief system that creates or heightens the need in the first place? It's rather akin to challenging a drinker, like my former self, with the question: How many of the stress that you "drink away" every night stems from life problems that have been caused or at least exacerbated by the drinking itself?

      May 29, 2011 at 9:02 pm |
    • BG

      @ JohnR

      Your use of 'ceteris paribus' (all things being equal) tells me that you've missed my point.

      Equal to whom? Logical based on -what- beliefs (logical belief – there's an oxymoron for you...)

      "To what extent does the need to find meaning and purpose in natural events TEND to come from people prior belief systems?"
      Now you've stated a different question entirely. The short answer might be 'what's it matter to you.' Why be concerned? Are you defining belief as a social mental illness in need of abatement? Are those Jehovah's Wit's zombies knocking down your door again?

      "To what extent can it be attributed to more general, basic human psychology?"
      Normal or abnormal psychology?

      " IF it is more a matter of the former than the latter..."
      Again, belief vrs. intrinsic need?

      "... or even if there is at least a significant contribution by the former, does encouraging people to find those meanings and purposes simply reinforce a belief system that creates or heightens the need in the first place?"
      Pavlovian reinforcement? Going to church reinforces belief. Revelation.

      "It's rather akin to challenging a drinker, like my former self, with the question: How many of the stress that you "drink away" every night stems from life problems that have been caused or at least exacerbated by the drinking itself?"
      You're equating belief with a psycho-social behavior and neuro-physiological chemical reaction. Unless the communion wafers are laced with something or they're downing mugs of wine during communion, maybe you should trim down the analogy.

      May 29, 2011 at 9:29 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @John Richardson

      Hey -John...

      You Said: "Yo, Peace! At the risk of oversimplfying, I would call you one of our few "belief-tolerant non-believers" and I commend your willingness not just to recognize but to respect the benefits of belief as something separate from the matter of evaluating the content of the belief. Which is a longwinded, ambling, scrambling way to say that you are cool with someone holding whatever belief "gets them through the night", even if you dismiss the content of that belief."

      Thank you for your awareness of that in me -John...and for your compliment !!!

      You Also Said: "I generally agree "

      Yes, we are in agreement.

      And, at the same time... I 'do' hold some of the same (concerns) you have about beliefs in general. Because as we both know, from a person's individual beliefs, their 'actions' will typically follow. So, I am not unaware of the often negative and hurtful to (self and others) that people's (actions) can and often do have that stem from their beliefs.

      And, as @BG in my opinion accurately suggests, it depends on the person, the context, the particular belief, etc... right...? I think 'you' have even stated in other posts that certain beliefs are harmless, and some are not... and it depends on the person, the belief and how they 'act' from those beliefs, yes...?

      If, IMHO... someone who I would consider or label a 'radicalized fundamentalist zealot' decides to blow up the Earth to hasten the 'second coming' then, I think that would be very clearly, (at least to you and I, and i'm sure several billion others on this planet) a very sick and harmful belief, and should be stopped/intervened, etc... immediately.

      So, I think you and @BG already covered a lot of this ground, so I don't see the need to necessarily go any farther with it, but I do want to make it clear to you ... that for me personally, I do respect a person's (right) to believe and think what they want, and I do 'at times' (depending on the person, context/belief/circ-umstances, etc...) 'respect' the benefits that some people derive from their beliefs,... but... knowing that I am 'not' 'always' "cool" with ("whatever belief") someone holds. That would be in linguistics, as you know, a very big 'universal' mistake that could lead to tremendous harm.

      You Said: "In any case, I agree that getting in the face of people in Joplin seeking "purpose" right here and now would probably be grossly counterproductive and arguably cruel."

      Yes, we are definitely in agreement on this as well.

      You Said: "But really, when WILL we admit that nature does all sorts of things that have no purpose even though they have profound effects."

      That is a very 'generalized' open-ended question made as a statement. Or, as you prefer a conversational postulate. You 'marked out' the word WILL, for emphasis which again, would still lead me back to saying... I don't know -John, when will 'some' people will begin to recognize what you are suggesting or asking...? Your inference is that (everyone) should by use of the word 'we.' While I may agree in general with you there, still I keep coming back to ... depends on the person, timing, evolution, change, etc...

      You Said: "Or maybe I can put it more cogently this way: To what extent is this alleged "need" to find purpose/meaning/silverlingins/upsides a genuine basic need versus to what extent does prior belief in things that don't exist create the tortured mindset that then tries to cope by seeking meaning and purpose where there is none?

      Another good question, -John. That's certainly one of the 'biggies'... and probably we could be discussing that one for a long time, yes...?

      Anyway, it seems that you and -BG, have a pretty good discussion going on this, and I will jump where I can, and/or if you have other questions for me.

      Good discussion -John, I'm very glad you are here on the blogs...!!!

      Peace brother...

      May 30, 2011 at 1:34 am |
    • John Richardson

      @BG Well, there's one pointing I'm missing: yours. I honestly can't even begin to grasp why you are even responding if this is your response. You feel perfectly fine telling an ostensible convert to islam to admit that he's doing it just to have legal s-e-x with 10 year olds and then waft a "what's it matter to you?" at me when I ask the not uncompassionate question of whether part of the pain felt by believers looking for "meaning" in natural disasters isn't due to the very belief systems the search for answers tends to reinforce. I find that truly inexplicable.

      May 30, 2011 at 8:33 am |
    • John Richardson

      @Peace Well, both you and BG are unquestionably correct when you emphasize how things can vary according to the specific belief in question and other aspects of the specific believer. And that of course counts as a warning not to overgeneralize. But there is also a danger in failing to undergeneralize. To push the addiction analogy a bit further, there are ALL SORTS of different stressors and triggers that tend to exacerbate dependency in different ways in different people and the sort of life experience that one recovering addict will walk through w/o even noticing anything to worry about can knock someone else off the wagon. But the GENERAL ISSUE of stressors and triggers is still there and is rightly emphasized in recovery work. That's point 1. Point 2 is that we are discussing something well known to stress faith, ie major bad things happening to good people. Not only is it well known, but it's something of a "duh" that truly disastrous events that can end up killing some of the best people you know would stress faith in a just and loving god. I have been considering all of this as the screamingly obvious background to my query. Now that it's in the foreground, let me put it out to all once again: If part of the anguish you feel stems from not accepting that natural disasters are blind to the moral standing of their victims, will coming up with some "meaning" for why what happened in disaster A that rehabilitates and reinforces one's faith in cosmic justice make it easier or harder to accept what happens in the next disaster?

      May 30, 2011 at 8:51 am |
    • John Richardson

      I really got to start proofreading! Change "danger in failing to undergeneralize" to "danger in undergeneralizing".

      May 30, 2011 at 8:53 am |
    • BG

      @ John Richardson

      First attempt: "...at what point does looking for "purpose" where there is none simply become dysfunctional delusion, and dangerously so?"

      Then the qualifier to Peace: "I commend your willingness not just to recognize but to respect the benefits of belief as something separate from the matter of evaluating the content of the belief."

      Then back you go to the business of "evaluating the content," thus your first restatement: "But really, when WILL we admit that nature does all sorts of things that have no purpose even though they have profound effects?"

      Then, my personal favorite so far, the "more cogent" restatement: "To what extent is this alleged "need" to find purpose/meaning/silverlingins (sic)/upsides a genuine basic need versus to what extent does prior belief in things that don't exist create the tortured mindset that then tries to cope by seeking meaning and purpose where there is none?" Quite honestly, I had to pa rse this one in order to make any sense of it whatsoever...

      [ is "need" to find purpose genuine {or does} belief in {the non-existent} create {a} mindset that seeks meaning and purpose where there is none? ] Wow, John. Congrats on the circular argument. If I seek a 'truth', am I pursuing it because I sincerely believe that 'the truth is out there', or am I creating the possibility of a make-believe realty in my own little mind? Thus my comment about your question(s) being biased and conditional, i.e, "where there is none {meaning and purpose}"

      Third (or fourth?) attempt: "To what extent does the need to find meaning and purpose in natural events TEND to come from people (sic) prior belief systems? " I guess the answer to that depends upon the ratio of believers to secular meteorologists and geologists in the room at the same time.. Now, if you were to say "find a {supernatural or ethereal} meaning or purpose in natural events" we could tell all the scientists that they could take a coffee break and leave the room, couldn't we? That -might- help you 'answer' your 'question,' you think?

      In summary, I tried to get the gist of your question after slogging through the various edits only to realize that you really weren't asking a question, were you? You were simply making an editorial comment in the guise on a poorly worded, unanswerable 'non-question.' Ergo, my smart ass reply, "What's it too you?" stands. If a believer wants to rationalize being hit by lightening twice as a 'sign from God', so what? How does this impact you? After all, you know better anyway... What're you going to do, argue with them? To what end? Leave 'em the hell alone, for pete's sake.

      May 30, 2011 at 11:46 am |
    • BG

      @ JohnR

      * What's it matter -to- you *

      urp.

      May 30, 2011 at 12:12 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @John R.

      Good morning/afternoon -John...

      You Said: "@Peace Well, both you and -BG are unquestionably correct when you emphasize how things can vary according to the specific belief in question and other aspects of the specific believer."

      Yes, correct.

      You Said: "And that of course counts as a warning not to overgeneralize. But there is also a (danger in undergeneralizing)."

      Of course, that is obvious(at least to you and I, anyway).

      You Said: "we are discussing something well known to stress faith, ie major bad things happening to good people. Not only is it well known, but it's something of a "duh" that truly disastrous events that can end up killing some of the best people you know would stress faith in a just and loving god."

      Yes, it is a "duh" for you and I... and some others, but again, I would ask 'you'... what do 'you' suggest we do about it...(people that claim a god for *reason(s)* when disastrous events happen)...? And, what would be your 'criteria' for taking action against someone that believes in god...? What, why and how would you go about doing an "intervention" as you suggested...? How would you know when...? I gave an example of my posting above. (radicalized zealot–2nd coming, etc...) While I gave a very obvious example to make my point, it becomes a bit 'foggier' with each individual, yes...?

      You Said: "If part of the anguish you feel stems from not accepting that natural disasters are blind to the moral standing of their victims, will coming up with some "meaning" for why what happened in a disaster that rehabilitates and reinforces one's faith in cosmic justice make it easier or harder to accept what happens in the next disaster?"

      What do 'you' think, John...?

      Respectfully,

      Peace brother...

      May 30, 2011 at 1:24 pm |
    • John Richardson

      @BG I'm sorry you're too friggin' stupid to follow the discussion. I can't do anything for you. But for people willing and able to comprehend: Yes, there are those of us (me, Peace and Free have made the point) who do recognize the benefits of the act/state of believing even those beliefs whose content we reject, and it is precisely those who recognize said benefits who ought to ask ourselves at what point might that short term benefit come at a serious long term course. I was actually literally nodding in agreement with this bit from Peace:

      "However, I have learned a long time ago that it becomes a way for people to cope with the situations/life events that are tragedies. I certainly appreciate the need for people to find the silver-lining... to see the good, and leave out the bad, such as all of the death and destruction, etc... that has happened. By believing God has his reasons, and we just don't know the 'why' of his reasons, may be the only thing that gets some people through these terrible events"

      when I had a sudden jolt of "wait a minute, this suddenly sounds like the sort of rationalizations for drinking and drug use, etc, etc that we all know and don't feel all warm and fuzzy about". Then I thought about it some more and saw a potentially toxic feedback loop from despair to a search for meaning to some meaning constructed to setting oneself up for another tumble because one once again refused to learn the real lesson: these acts of nature are acts of forces that have no plan or intention and have NO meaning in the sought for sense.

      So, when do short term coping strategies create or exacerbate long term problems that beget future needs to cope and so on and so on? It's a serious question to ask of all sorts of coping strategies, INCLUDING this business of searching for meaning in the results of the acts of mindless forces that neither we nor anyone else can control. I'm eager to discuss this with anyone who understands the issues. As for Boy Genius here, well, I'll do us both a favor and do my best to ignore your existence.

      May 30, 2011 at 1:27 pm |
    • BG

      @ Peace2All

      Well, Peace, at least I can honestly say that I made an effort to slog through John's clumsy syntax and convoluted line of 'reasoning' (I'm being generous with the -reasoning- part...) Oh well, I tried.

      I feel an attack of 'honestanon' coming on... best I quit before I relapse. You know it ain't pretty.

      May 30, 2011 at 2:05 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @BG

      "I feel an attack of 'honestanon' coming on... best I quit before I relapse. You know it ain't pretty."

      😯

      May 30, 2011 at 2:50 pm |
  8. frank

    Sorry, not today, I have a headache.

    May 29, 2011 at 6:01 pm |
  9. Anglican

    The peace of the Lord be with us all. Simply peace.

    May 29, 2011 at 5:52 pm |
    • KingdomCome

      Yes, peace be to you... but evil vs. good... evil deserves no peace... kingdom shall rise against kingdom.... and Wisdom comes softly, too

      May 29, 2011 at 5:56 pm |
    • frank

      lol!

      May 29, 2011 at 5:57 pm |
    • KingdomCome

      no debating, frank?

      May 29, 2011 at 6:00 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @KingdomCome

      Hey...King C...

      You Said: "Wisdom comes softly, too."

      You have said that line a few times here on the blog. I don't know without context or definition that it makes any sense... but, it looks and sounds good to me.

      I like it. Don't know why.

      Peace...

      May 29, 2011 at 6:12 pm |
    • BG

      @ Peace

      It's a contemporary Christian song. Careful, Peace, or you'll get sucked down the rabbit hole.

      May 29, 2011 at 8:56 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @BG

      Thanks for the heads-up !

      You are correct: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tiUHU66_MGc

      I like the tune...at least this version.

      Peace brother...

      May 30, 2011 at 1:43 am |
  10. Colin

    Bereaved Parent: God, you killed my little girl. The tornado ripped her out of my arms and dashed her against a tree. Why, oh Lord? I have been a good person all my life. I have kept your commandments and attended church every Sunday?

    God: It’s all part of my “grand plan” for you. Your small mind cannot comprehend such matters.

    Bereaved Parent: Try me. You killed my little girl. You expect me to turn up at church next week and praise your endless love. I think you owe me an explanation. She was only five years old!

    God: I was moving in mysterious ways.

    Bereaved Parent: What the %*#@ does that mean?

    God: Well, I kill thousands of small children all over the planet every day, and if I say I am “moving in mysterious ways,” for some reason people stop asking questions and go back to worshipping me. My favorite method is starvation. I also enjoy wars, cancer and miscellaneous violent acts.

    Bereaved Parent. I can’t believe what I’m hearing?

    God: Yeah, it’s pretty rare that I speak frankly. Look, if it makes you feel any better, tell yourself it’s Satan’s work. Satan sent the tornado, I just sat back and did a quick miracle to save that cross you see on the church to demonstrate my omnipotence.

    Bereaved Parent: But you’re god!! You could have stopped Satan.

    God: Ok, you’ve got me there. Look kid, the truth is, I don’t exist. I never have. Wasn’t it obvious to you that you made me when I seemed to love all the same things you do and hate all the same things you do? Haven’t you noticed that every culture that has ever existed has had its own gods and they all seem to favor that particular culture, its hopes, dreams and prejudices. What, do you think we all exist? If not, why only yours?

    Bereaved Parent: That’s a shame, because I intended to give you a free pass. To still believe in you despite everything telling me you are nonsense, simply because I have nowhere else to go. I have been taught to believe in you and never to question it, and I accepted it when they told me it was wrong to doubt.

    God: Well, look at it from my perspective. How long would I last if I positively promoted healthy skepticism, independent thought and rational criticism? You people would see right through me in a minute.

    Bereaved Parent: Ok. I have to go now. My wife needs me. We have a little girl to bury.

    God: Good luck. I’ll say a prayer for you. Hey – even I need a god sometimes.

    May 29, 2011 at 5:37 pm |
    • Lynx

      you misspelled colon there...

      May 29, 2011 at 5:45 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @Colin

      Hey...mate !

      I have officially become a 'fan' of yours. Excellent !!!

      Peace brother...

      May 29, 2011 at 5:46 pm |
    • Colin

      Hey Peace- thanks for the kind words. Hope you're enjoying the long weekend.

      May 29, 2011 at 5:48 pm |
    • John Richardson

      Colin! Spot on perfect!

      May 29, 2011 at 5:58 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @Colin

      You're welcome ! And yes... enjoying the weekend. I hope that you are as well.

      Peace brother...

      May 29, 2011 at 6:20 pm |
    • Bucky Ball

      As usual, when Colin speaks, there is simply nothing else to say. Amazing. Thanks.

      May 29, 2011 at 7:28 pm |
    • fimeilleur

      ***slow clap building into thunderous applause***

      Absolutely brilliant.
      Your comment made my weekend.

      May 29, 2011 at 9:03 pm |
  11. Jose Sanchez

    So if God wants to be praised more he kills a lot of people and wrecks their town? And that works? Battered wife syndrome..

    May 29, 2011 at 5:34 pm |
    • Lynx

      yep, it works real gud, mmmhmmm..

      May 29, 2011 at 5:44 pm |
    • John Richardson

      Jose! Good one!

      May 29, 2011 at 5:59 pm |
    • Muneef

      Man over sucking the crude oil from the deep layers of grounds,cause spillages of crude oil to seas and rivers, man spoiled the fresh deep ground waters and river beds with fertilizers and pesticides, man polluted the skies with carbon smokes from factories,engines of ground,ocean,skies. Man made weapons of all types and affects...
      By the few examples of man created causes of disastors for their excessive corruptions that causes all those so called natural disastors...so why blame God for our mess?

      May 29, 2011 at 11:31 pm |
    • Muneef

      Earth is being deflated,shrinking like due to excessive drilling and pulling out of crude oil and gases...isn't that one of the reasons for those slides to move...oil layers on water obstruct the water evaporation and causing droughts....weren't the excessive heats caused by global warmings that were caused by man messing about causing such ternados or cyclones ?? Above all that we messed up with we claim it to God to scape responsibility....!

      May 29, 2011 at 11:42 pm |
    • John Richardson

      @Muneef: I don't think Jose IS blaming god. I think he's running a sort of reductio of the simultaneous belief in a god who is all loving but also omnipotent and therefore either the cause of these disaster or at least willing to stand aside and let them happen when he supposedly has the power to stop them.

      May 30, 2011 at 8:57 am |
    • Muneef

      John Rich.

      We make the mess and expect God to stop that?...God will only save those whom he will or reduce the impact with his mercy but will not stop what we had created since that would not be a test if the tester will be interfering ??
      May be we need Superman to clean or protect us from our created mess but not God....!!
      God already gave us all that was required to be done and avoid to have a peaceful living on the planet but did we do?
      We ignore all rules and regulations given to us inherited from generation to the next but still when things went wrong as we were warned...! Only then when we messed up things and face the dangerous results of our action we remember to call upon God to save us but still we continue and never learn from our past and present lessons....
      Only on such occasions of disastors would our deeds be enough to save our skins or send us to our faiths....

      May 30, 2011 at 11:58 am |
    • Muneef

      HALAL AND HARAM (lawful and unlawful things)

      Rasulullah (sallallaho alaihe wasallam) said : It is compulsory on every Muslim to seek lawful earnings. He termed this compulsory subject as a thing of wisdom for a wise man out of other compulsory things. Lawful things are clear and unlawful things are also clear. between these two , there are doubtful things which are not clear and difficult to know. All things are limited within these three things.

      MERITS OF LAWFUL EARNINGS AND CONDEMNATION OF UNLAWFUL
      http://www.as-sidq.org/halal.html

      THE ISLAMIC PRINCIPLES PERTAINING TO HALAL AND HARAM

      The question of what ought to be halal (lawful) and haram (prohibited) was one of the matters concerning which, prior to the advent of Islam, the peoples of the world had gone very far astray and were utterly confused, permitting many impure and harmful things and prohibiting many things that were good and pure.
      http://www.witness-pioneer.org/vil/Books/Q_LP/ch1-pre.htm

      May 30, 2011 at 12:47 pm |
  12. Quantum Gravitational Fluctuation

    @Bucky
    And he forgot that the double slit experiment is an observed phenomenom.

    May 29, 2011 at 4:14 pm |
    • Bucky Ball

      When he buys his first quantum computer next year, he may rethink it.

      May 29, 2011 at 4:18 pm |
    • Lynx

      yeah we only get to watch them and never get to join in the fun.

      May 29, 2011 at 5:46 pm |
    • John Richardson

      No pills needed here! And stop acting like fundamentalists. The "many worlds" model of quantum physics is, as you both OUGHT to know, only one of several competing models. ALL have some counterintuitive aspects. Indeed, it's not too much of a stretch to say that more recent models like the many worlds model were developed in large part in reaction to discomfort over the counterintuitive aspects of previous models, notably the Copenhagen interpretation. And, far from forgetting the double slit experiment, which is REALLY, REALLY OLD NEWS, it's the double slit experiment that I feel the many worlds model deals with notably weakly. These many worlds are generally totally opaque to each other. It doesn't matter how many tornados you survive in other worlds if you didn't make it in THIS one, eh? So what about this model really PREDICTS that multiple worlds would be in effect simultaneously "visible" in this world in just this sort of instance? Saying that one particle goes through both slits in alternative worlds doesn't tell me why there is a this worldly interference pattern visible in this case but noting remotely of the sort in the case of two tornados traveling similar but non-identical paths in alternate worlds (paired tornados in one and the same world tend to circle each other, if videos I've seen are representative).

      Anyway, I at first was very enthusiastic about the many worlds model as perhaps the least counterintuitive model amongst those currently in the game and was perhaps "preadapted" to finding it intellectually congenial because of my familiarity with possible worlds semantic theories of modal logic. But those semantic theories seem to have taken something of a beating in more recent semantic theory and the more I mulled the very fact that many worlds are supposed to explain, the less explanation I actually saw re why these worlds seem to "collide" at the quantum level but nowhere else. In other words, what is odd about phenomena like the double slit phenomenon remain odd within the many worlds model, even if that model does give a reasonably neat way of talking about these things and avoids the "observer paradoxes" of the once very dominant Copenhagen interpretation.

      But hey, this ain't my main racket and if you have any latest, greatest in the many worlds model that you think make it particularly compelling, let me know!

      May 29, 2011 at 5:57 pm |
    • Quantum Gravitational Fluctuation

      @JR
      Your REALLY REALLY OLD news happens to be the subject of many current faculty and grad student's (of major Physics Departments), reinterpretation and reinvestigation of same, drawing further conclusions, proposing further explanations, including the reinterpretations, (and, concede, speculations), in Hawking's "Grand Design". It is obvious it's not your "main racket". Hope you do collect on at least one of those power balls. I don't provide the easy way out, either for my grad students or for obviously brilliant guys, such as yourself. You get to do your own research. I mainly ask questions. Cheers.

      May 29, 2011 at 7:57 pm |
    • John Richardson

      Re the "old news", I was simply cringing, or maybe snarling a bit, at the suggestion that I had "forgotten" about the double slit experiment. And technically it IS old news, as the first time the experiment was done and the results reported has to go back to, what, 1920s? Maybe earlier? The fact that it is still a hot topic is, I would say, testimony to just how truly bizarre and difficult to comprehend this result is, at least from the point of view of the world we know – or think we do. The one 100% safe conclusion that all can agree on is that that experiment and several other confirmed phenomena in the quantum world guarantee that SOME COMPONENT of our commonsense (or even macroscopically scientific) understanding of the "middle sized" world we are familiar has to go out the window to accommodate the quantum (and of course commonsense about space and time takes a different but equally potent beating at the other end of the size spectrum in the case of relativistic phenomena). Dragging this back on topic, when people throw spitballs at, eg, Stephen Hawking's recent conclusions in large part because they offend their pre-conceived notions of how things "must " be, they no doubt have no idea how useless their pre-conceptions are to modern science regarding all sorts of 100% certified empirical phenomena that can be directly studied in a way that the origin of the universe admittedly can't. So while Hawking is clearly extrapolating, and extrapolating is for sure always riskier than interpolating, he is at least extrapolating from concepts that have a place in modern science and not from some silly pre-Aristotelian naive realism.

      OK, NOW I feel better! 😀

      May 29, 2011 at 8:38 pm |
  13. bill

    A question. For argument's sake we'll assume there is a God. If God exists then something HAD to create God so wouldn't that something BE God. And if something created God then something had to create the something that created God so WOULDN'T that something be God. Have a migraine yet? It's the whole chicken and the egg thing. Something had to create the something that created the something that created the something etc. etc. that created God. In the end it's an endless cycle of nonsense.

    May 29, 2011 at 3:48 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      And I beleive the best way to end this cycle of nonsense is to conlcude that the probably of there being any gods is very, very small (so small that no gods is an excellent approximation) and that we do not yet know, and probably never will know, how the universe came into being, and it really doesn't matter in any event. That being said, my faith is with men of science such as Stephen Hawking and Richard Dawkins, certainly not charlatans such as the rcc's pope-a-dope and his ilk leading the numerous cults society tolerates!

      May 29, 2011 at 5:16 pm |
    • John Richardson

      The way I put it is that truly comprehending a moment when not just matter but space and time itself began and truly comprehending there never having been a beginning are roughly equally impossible for our finite minds, but ALL talk about how we therefore need to posit a god to make sense of it is actually just a matter of admitting that WE will NEVER make sense of it, so we posit a god with an infinite mind who can do the comprehending for us. Well, okay, if you wish. But it doesn't EXPLAIN a danged thing. Rather it's just an obscure way of saying we can't explain it. So why not just say "beats me!"???

      May 29, 2011 at 6:10 pm |
    • Fordham Jock

      Bill,
      Your "first cause" argument /question is nonsensical. There was no space-time "before" time was "created" (for argument's sake only), by a creator. Most theologians would say God exists free of a "time" dimension, "outside" His creature, space-time. There would be not now, nor ever was, a "before" in a timeless dimension. (All terms "for arguments sake" ONLY).

      May 29, 2011 at 8:14 pm |
  14. David Johnson

    From the article:
    "Now, several of those churches are gone, as are scores who might otherwise be going to them, thanks to a horrific tornado that ripped through the southwest Missouri city one week ago. That makes this Sunday especially significant, not to mention the subsequent days, as religious leaders try to offer meaning after such a senseless disaster."

    The disaster is only senseless, if you believe it was sent / guided by a god. If you realize that it was a NATURAL disaster, with no SUPERNATURAL overtones, then it is not necessary to give it any kind of meaning.

    If you live where tornadoes occur, what's the big surprise? If you live where earthquakes occur, what's the big mystery?

    All this does is add further proof, that god does not exist. LOL

    A tornado races through a trailer park, destroying everything in its path. One man and his trailer are untouched. It is a miracle!
    No it isn't. It's random chance. Rewind everything and send the tornado back through the park. This time the fellow and his trailer will be toast. Someone else may well survive.

    Miracles consist of coincidence and random chance. No god required.

    Cheers!

    May 29, 2011 at 1:56 pm |
    • Quantum Gravitational Fluctuation

      Actually they probably both occur, but that's a long story.

      May 29, 2011 at 2:39 pm |
    • John Richardson

      @QGF Yeah, and I have at least one every powerball jackpot in some possible world or other. Why stop there? I've won ALL of them in infinitely many possible worlds! Ooops, my head just exploded in god only knows how many possible worlds.

      Sorry, IMHO, the many world models, which philosophers and logicians and linguists have been goofing around with far longer than physicists have, strike me a just another in a long line of blather generated by vexed yet overeager minds toiling at the frontiers of the comprehensible. Just sayin', eh?

      May 29, 2011 at 3:34 pm |
    • Quantum Gravitational Fluctuation

      @JR
      Did we forget our pill today ?

      May 29, 2011 at 3:47 pm |
    • Bucky Ball

      @QGF
      I guess Uncle Albert promised him an intuitive rose garden. 😳

      May 29, 2011 at 4:11 pm |
  15. Ron

    I'm glad the author of this article mentioned "other places of worship" because there are many different religions present in Joplin. There is a large Pagan community there as well.
    The tornado affected many people of many beliefs. All are simply trying to find peace and move on with their lives. Yes, it's going to be hard, the memories will bring sadness and joy, but life continues as it is meant to do. Nature is neither good nor evil, it simply is what it is.

    May 29, 2011 at 11:39 am |
    • myweightinwords

      I was curious about whether or not there was a sizable Pagan community. My thoughts are with them as they try to pick up the pieces.

      I can not fathom the destruction and chaos.

      May 29, 2011 at 11:54 am |
    • gerald

      Jesus loves you Ron.

      May 29, 2011 at 3:27 pm |
    • Lynx

      Here's a link for you gerald:

      http://freethinker.co.uk/2011/05/27/more-vice-than-virtue-loose-living-catholic-monks-paedophilia-and-drug-dealing/

      May 29, 2011 at 5:41 pm |
    • Evolved DNA

      Gerald..if that is gods love he can keep it himself...

      May 29, 2011 at 5:56 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Evolved DNA

      Disasters are gods way of drawing people closer to Him. It is like smacking the wife and kids around, to make them love you more. Amen.

      Cheers!

      May 29, 2011 at 9:07 pm |
  16. myweightinwords

    Faith is an amazingly resilient thing. It can bring hope in the dark times. It can offer inspiration and uplift in the best times.

    What is even more amazing is that is true of all faith, whether it is in a god or religion, or in yourself.

    The city of Joplin has a long road to recovery. And the people there need their faith, in whatever they chose to believe. May they all find peace.

    May 29, 2011 at 11:36 am |
    • Lynx

      insanity is a very resilient thing
      there, fixed it for you.

      May 29, 2011 at 5:48 pm |
  17. LivewithFlair

    I still can't get over Sally Smith's comments to Anderson Cooper about "not falling apart over something like this." Her faith really inspires me. http://livewithflair.blogspot.com/2011/05/sally-smith-says-you-cant-fall-apart.html

    May 29, 2011 at 11:08 am |
    • Fordham Jock

      I saw that. I instantly loved her. Maybe someday, Sally will realize that she, of herself, is a wonderful, beautiful, resourceful, optimistic, confident person, and the way she chooses to talk to herself can change and evolve. Meanwhile, she gets to be and think whatever is best for Sally.

      May 29, 2011 at 11:35 am |
  18. Adelina

    If these same natural disasters happened elsewhere, the casuality could have been thousands or tens of thousands. We all have our time-limits on earth – equally. Prayers for Americans. Calamities are no longer if but when. All mankind needs humility and the Gospel.

    May 29, 2011 at 9:08 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      When are you going to start working on humility, addledbrain?

      May 29, 2011 at 10:28 am |
    • John Richardson

      Calamities happening somewhere on the earth have ALWAYS been "not if but when". And while you are right that the death toll likely would have been higher in at least some other places, the key to the lower death toll is learning curve, building codes and early warning systems, not Christianity.

      May 29, 2011 at 10:45 am |
    • Bucky Ball

      So can you expound for us, oh wise one, on the fact that the family with the "safe room" in their upscale home survived ? Does THAT ring any bells in there ?

      May 29, 2011 at 11:10 am |
    • HotAirAce

      John R got it right! We should thank those that truly learn from these disasters to build stronger buildings, better warning systems and better emergency response organizations, and tell the religious charlatans (which would be all of them) to "shove off!"

      May 29, 2011 at 11:19 am |
    • tallulah13

      It's very sad that bad things happen to people, and I hope all the survivors recover and move on. But it is a useless exercise to think this has anything to do with any supernatural ent.ity. The Earth is a violent place. It always has been. What is calamitous to humanity is nothing to the planet. Earthquakes, tornadoes, tsunamis, hurricanes – pretty much any natural disaster– are all just a part of nature. What humanity builds may last for thousands of years, but that is a blink of an eye compared a to the lifespan of a planet.

      As others have said, the best way to prevent this sort of death is to improve early warning systems and to construct safe places for people to take refuge. That is what practical people, christians included, have been and will be doing. However, if you are too lazy to do anything for yourself and your fellow humans, by all means just pray. That way you can feel smugly self-important without lifting a finger.

      May 29, 2011 at 1:06 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @John R.

      Yes.

      Peace...

      May 29, 2011 at 6:25 pm |
  19. Keith

    What these pastors need to do is to study the scriptures to see if God meant what He said in Genesis 12:3; Zechariah 12:3,6 ; Joel 3:2; Deuteronomy 6; Obahiah....My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge...Hosea 4:6. Hopefully the spiritual "leaders" in the church will wake up to the harsh reality that you can't go against God and His Word without consequences. I contend that the church is all but dead in this country. I don't know what it will take to wake it up. This is sad to watch.

    May 29, 2011 at 8:35 am |
    • Adelina

      I think every American should stop chanting "do not judge" and "God bless America" – both are out of context and inappropriate.

      May 29, 2011 at 8:55 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      You "think" you have some right to decide what Americans "should" do? Why? You aren't an American and no one cares about what you think anyone else should do. Put your own crummy house in order.

      May 29, 2011 at 10:29 am |
    • John Richardson

      So, Keith, are you going to repent when something happens to you? Or do you play the old "if it happens to me, it is a tragedy, but if it happens to you, it is divine retribution" game?

      May 29, 2011 at 10:42 am |
    • Reality

      A sign that needs to be posted on every door of every mosque, church and synagogue.

      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 PROBABLY NEVER EXISTED.

      Added details upon request.

      May 29, 2011 at 10:55 am |
    • Finger Puppet

      Un huh. Yep.
      It's about those dead babies. Those EVIL dead babies.

      When are we going to ask for an application to go from first grade to second grade ?

      May 29, 2011 at 10:59 am |
    • Keith

      John Richardson, this is no game. You don't have any spiritual discernment because you're not a believer. You are part of the world that is perishing. I don't expect you to understand. I live in Michigan. I haven't checked lately with the USDA, but in my area maybe 50% of the fields are planted and the clock is ticking. This is not only a problem here but come harvest time it will be your problem, too. Michigan is like 51 out of 50 in the economy and has been for quite some time. If you had taken the time and if you had any spiritual discernment, you will notice that Hosea 4:6 says, "My people". This doesn't mean you atheists, agnostics, whatever...It's God's people who are destroyed for lack of knowledge. No sir, this is no game in which I somehow exempt myself.

      May 29, 2011 at 2:08 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Keith

      You said: "Hopefully the spiritual "leaders" in the church will wake up to the harsh reality that you can't go against God and His Word without consequences."

      Except, god doesn't exist.

      Natural disasters have always occurred. The gods have always been credited for their occurrence.
      People have prayed to their gods, because of droughts, and plagues and floods etc. Humans have been sacrificed to appease these gods.

      In virtually every instance, people blamed themselves for the "punishment". They believed their suffering was due to their making their god angry.

      And what you are proposing is exactly that. We are attempting to give civil rights to gays! We are allowing abortion! We are teaching evolution in school! ad infinitum OH LORDY, GOD MUST BE ANGRY!

      When the gods were first created, they were believed to be the cause of everything. They guided the sun across the sky and caused a good harvest. To every question, the answer "God Did It" was posited. But, god didn't do a damn thing. *smile*

      Your god is no more real than the ancient gods. No more likely to be the cause of anything.

      Cheers!

      May 29, 2011 at 2:27 pm |
    • Chicken Little

      The sky is falling, the sky is falling.

      May 29, 2011 at 2:43 pm |
    • Elphaba

      I'm melting. I'm melting.

      So you're also just sitting around waiting to get "raptured away", just like your grandpa Harold ? If living in Michigan is such a problem, how about you get off you dead a-s, and move somewhere else, instead of playing the victim to some extra terrestrial nonsense ?

      May 29, 2011 at 2:52 pm |
    • Get A Grip

      Keith: "I contend that the church is all but dead in this country. I don't know what it will take to wake it up. This is sad to watch."

      Yes, the Zeusists were pretty depressed about the decline and demise of their religion too.

      May 29, 2011 at 3:24 pm |
    • Charge Nurse Betty

      Religious Discernment Class will begin at 5 PM out in the day room. Don't be part of the world that is perishing.

      May 29, 2011 at 3:52 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      Davey, the thing is that God does exist. Part of me would be scared to death if someone were able to prove it, there would be churches all over the place but I would be filled with something other then the Faithful. That many of us have such Faith and will have it in the future I find more comfort.

      But, do not believe by saying that there is no God means that it is true. Just means that you have no Faith and hey that's cool. Keep being lead by science and what you can see and touch. It will make you easier to fool. 🙂

      May 29, 2011 at 4:37 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      whoops I = it.... stupid auto correct. 🙂

      May 29, 2011 at 4:39 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      @Mark from Middle River

      And of course, saying that god does exist does not make it, nor any of the bullsh!t asscociated with god(s), true. So we are at a stalement, with the very notable exception that you and all believers are making the extraordinary claim, and have nothing even remotely tangible to back up your claims. In just about any other case, you would be expected to "put up or shut up," but due to centuries of indoctrination, religion gets a "free pass."

      May 29, 2011 at 5:06 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      Hi Ace.. Long time no see.

      The stalemate is the same as its always been. To those of Faith the claim that there is no God and it did not happen is why we call them miracles and such. To the extraordinary, I would hate to be on your side if it is not true.

      Thing is that so many of the Atheist here are no different than the radical Christians and Muslims.

      May 29, 2011 at 6:02 pm |
    • John Richardson

      Keith, You say it's not a game, but then speak as though it is, a really sick game that your god supposedly plays by sending secret messages to his followers in the from of deadly tornados instead of just using his supposedly infinite powers to appear at centerfield of the world cup final and just TELLING people what the hell he wants from us (as though any true god would actually NEED anything from his supposed creation ....)

      And don't for a minute think that those who see god's wrath everywhere are the only ones concerned about today's many problems. Far from it. Rational people are working to DO something about these problems and doing something means a LOT more than just praying and fine tuning your orthodoxies, which are so off the point that they are at best a side show, at worst a dangerous diversion. And the way rational people are behaving is exactly the way that rational people behaved in prior crises.

      May 29, 2011 at 6:21 pm |
    • John Richardson

      @MMR Yes, non-believers are well aware that their words are meant to model reality, not create it. We don't cast spells, eh? 🙂

      May 29, 2011 at 6:36 pm |
    • Keith

      As I said before, my comments are aimed more at the church then at the atheist. You don't believe in God or at least try to convince yourselves that He doesn't exist. Actually, you love your sinful lifestyles too much to give them up. If you admit God exists, then you have a higher power to answer to. That is untennable for you.

      May 29, 2011 at 8:16 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Mark from Middle River

      You said: "Davey, the thing is that God does exist. "

      And you make this statement, because you believe? Because you have faith? WoW! I didn't realize. LOL

      Extraordinary claims, requires extraordinary evidence – Carl Sagan

      No one can prove a negative. I can't prove that god does not exist. I also can't prove Santa Claus does not exist. But in life, we decide what is real and not real, based on what we feel is probable. I bet you wouldn't argue that Santa is a myth. I bet you would agree that the god(s) of the other religions, do not exist. Ra isn't real. Right? How about Isis? And she was hot!

      I think we can rule out god, in the same way we rule out any other mythological creature. We can't prove vampires or werewolves or fairies don't exist. But, I bet you would agree, that they are not real. They just don't fit in with reality.

      So, we can look for attributes of god, that should provide evidence that He exists.
      If positive evidence is found, we should conclude that god probably exists.
      If positive evidence is not found, then we should conclude that the Christian God, beyond a reasonable doubt, does not exist. Just like Santa. Just like fairies. Just like vampires.

      One of the most compelling reasons for rejecting god, is the fact that there are so many versions of god(s). Some, not even human (The elephant-faced god – Ganesha etc.). Each religion, each denomination of each religion, defines god's wants differently. All of these religions cannot be right. But they can all be wrong.
      Perhaps man has not yet found the one true god, or perhaps He does not exist.

      Why would the Christian god leave room for confusion? If He exists, wouldn't He want everyone to know He exists and is the one true god?

      1 Timothy 2: 3 – 5 says the Christian god does desire this:

      3For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour;
      4Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.
      5For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;

      1. If the Christian God existed, this fact would be obvious.
      So obvious in fact, that EVERYONE, or nearly everyone would believe in His existence. There would be only worshipers of the one true god.

      2. The Christian God's existence is not, in fact, as obvious as we would expect, if he existed.
      This fact is evidenced by the fact that ~68% of the world's population are not Christian.

      3. Therefore, the Christian God is very unlikely to exist.

      In the same vein as the above, notice how many denominations of Christianity there are (~ 34,000). Each denomination can show you scripture, that "proves" they alone, understand the wants of Jesus/god.

      All of the denominations could not be correctly interpreting the bible. Many are contradictory.
      Many of these denominations believe only their members will be saved.

      If the Christian god exists, and He is all knowing and all powerful and all good, why didn't He provide a bible that could not be misinterpreted? That everyone's comprehension of His wants would be the same?

      ambiguity – a word or expression that can be understood in two or more possible ways : an ambiguous word or expression.

      1. If the Christian god exists, He would want everyone to know His wants, without ambiguity.
      Otherwise, what would be the point of god supplying man with a book of His will?

      2. The bible god provided, is ambiguous.
      This fact is evidenced by there being ~34,000 different denominations of Christianity.

      3. Therefore, the Christian god is very unlikely to exist.

      Another reason to reject the idea of a god, is because there appears to be no need for one. Each hour of each day, science fills another gap in man's knowledge, that god once filled.
      We don't want to postulate what isn't necessary.

      John 3:16 – For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

      If the Christian god so loves the world, why does he allow / cause so much suffering? Disease, famine, floods, earthquakes etc. ad infinitum, ad nauseum. ?

      I can explain the existence of these horrors as being due to natural causes, and evolution but my explanation fails when I include an all loving Creator in the equation. I keep getting a "Can't divide by zero" error.

      Christians say their god is omnibenevolent (all good); omnipotent (all powerful); omniscient ( all knowing)

      1. If the Christian god is all knowing, He would know of the suffering endured on earth.

      2. If the Christian god is all good, He would want to rid the world of suffering / evil.

      3. If the Christian god is all powerful, He would be able to rid the world of suffering / evil.

      4. Yet, evil persists.

      Therefore, the Christian god is very unlikely to exist.

      The Christian god is said to be omniscient and omnipotent. But these attributes are not compatible.
      If the Christian god is all knowing, if the future can be known, then even god would be bound by events in the future. Everything would be predetermined.

      1. If the Christian god, knows what will happen in the future, and does something else...then, He is not all knowing.

      2. If the Christian god knows the future and cannot change it, then He is not all powerful.

      3. The attributes attributed to the Christian god conflict with one another. The Christian god is very unlikely to exist.

      Evolution, with its evidence of transitional fossils, geological column, DNA evidence, vestigial organs etc., is very damning to the biblical Creation Story.

      If god created all the organisms on the planet, then He must have created even the diseases that have caused and are causing so much death and misery for humans and animals. He would have had to fashion the tick and the flea. The mosquito and blood flukes. And worms that bore into a child's eye.

      How could an all good god do such a thing? Why would He spend His time creating gruesome things to cause human suffering? Yet, these horrors exist. And if god didn't create them, who did?

      Evolution explains the diversity of the planet's organisms, including the pathogens and the parasites that have caused so much human death and misery.

      If the Creation Story is a fable, then Adam and Eve did not exist.

      If Adam and Eve did not exist, then there was no original sin.

      If there was no original sin, then it cannot be the reason god allows so much suffering in the world.

      If there was no original sin, then there was no need for a redeemer.

      If there was no redeemer, then Christianity is based on a false premise.
      .
      If the Creation story is a myth, then there is no reason to believe any of the bible.
      LOL, which is why the fundies fight so hard against evolution.

      The Christian god is no more likely to exist than unicorns, satyrs, fiery serpents, or talking snakes.

      The fact that you declare Him so, means nothing.

      Cheers!

      May 29, 2011 at 8:29 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Keith

      You said: "Actually, you love your sinful lifestyles too much to give them up. If you admit God exists, then you have a higher power to answer to. That is untennable for you."

      One of the accusations by Christians, is that atheists are not moral. This of course, is not true. I am very moral.

      Cheers!

      May 29, 2011 at 8:34 pm |
    • Muneef

      [5:110] GOD will say, "O Jesus, son of Mary, remember My blessings upon you and your mother. I supported you with the Holy Spirit, to enable you to speak to the people from the crib, as well as an adult. I taught you the scripture, wisdom, the Torah, and the Gospel. Recall that you created from clay the shape of a bird by My leave, then blew into it, and it became a live bird by My leave. You healed the blind and the leprous by My leave, and revived the dead by My leave. Recall that I protected you from the Children of Israel who wanted to hurt you, despite the profound miracles you had shown them. The disbelievers among them said, `This is obviously magic.'    
      -----
          
      [6:7] Even if we sent down to them a physical book, written on paper, and they touched it with their hands, those who disbelieved would have said, "This is no more than clever magic."

      May 29, 2011 at 8:40 pm |
    • Muneef

      The Books of Believers "The Torah and The Quran"

      [28:48] Now that the truth has come to them from us, they said, "If only we could be given what was given to Moses!" Did they not disbelieve in what was given to Moses in the past? They said, "Both (scriptures) are works of magic that copied one another." They also said, "We are disbelievers in both of them."

      [28:49] Say, "Then produce a scripture from GOD with better guidance than the two, so I can follow it, if you are truthful."

      [28:50] If they fail to respond to you, then know that they follow only their own opinions. Who is farther astray than those who follow their own opinions, without guidance from GOD? GOD does not guide such wicked people.

      [28:51] We have delivered the message to them, that they may take heed.

      [28:52] Those whom we blessed with the previous scriptures will believe in this.

      [28:53] When it is recited to them, they will say, "We believe in it. This is the truth from our Lord. Even before we heard of it, we were submitters."

      [28:54] To these we grant twice the reward, because they steadfastly persevere. They counter evil works with good works, and from our provisions to them, they give.

      [28:55] When they come across vain talk, they disregard it and say, "We are responsible for our deeds, and you are responsible for your deeds. Peace be upon you. We do not wish to behave like the ignorant ones."

      [28:56] You cannot guide the ones you love. GOD is the only One who guides in accordance with His will, and in accordance with His knowledge of those who deserve the guidance.

      May 29, 2011 at 8:42 pm |
    • Get A Grip

      Keith: "you love your sinful lifestyles too much to give them up. If you admit God exists, then you have a higher power to answer to."

      What on Earth do you think we atheists and agnostics do, Keith? Kill, steal, pillage and carouse? I keep every one of your 10 commandments, except "Keep holy the Lord's day". I'll admit to a bit of Sloth now and then, but I am not covered in your deadly sins. I answer to logical, natural consequences for my behavior. It is what it is - with no 'forgiveness' or 'reward' from an imaginary being.

      May 29, 2011 at 8:43 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      Hey Davey, I see you are a student of the Reality and Muneef Cobra Ki school of cut and paste. 🙂

      I did notice a lot of "ifs".... weak, in the Atheist force are you to be..... Shades of doubt I feel in your number 3's ... 🙂

      May 29, 2011 at 8:56 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Keith

      You said: "Actually, you love your sinful lifestyles too much to give them up. If you admit God exists, then you have a higher power to answer to. That is untennable for you."

      Believers love to say atheists are not moral. Actually their divorce rate is less than that of the Evangelicals.

      I am moral. I have been married to the same woman for 31 years. I have never been arrested for any reason.

      Cheers!

      May 29, 2011 at 9:13 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Mark from Middle River

      You said: "I did notice a lot of "ifs".... weak, in the Atheist force are you to be..... Shades of doubt I feel in your number 3's ... "

      The "ifs" are standard for this type of construction. I also site evidence that supports each "if".

      I reviewed a number of your posts. I can't find any, that aren't simply your personal opinion.

      Cheers!

      May 29, 2011 at 9:33 pm |
    • Muneef

      Those worshipping fire would want to go to it;

      I became devoted to the Magian religion so much so that I attained the position of custodian of  the fire which we worshipped. My duty was to see that the flames of the fire remained burning and  that it did not go out for a single hour, day or night. 

      http://www.witness-pioneer.org/vil/Articles/companion/salman_al_farsi.htm

      Most religions use fire in some way; the ancient Jews had an ever-burning fire on their own altar, and Christians always have candles on their altars at their services, as well as candles burning before their icons. Zoroastrianism has made fire its central symbol, the ultimate icon of a God who is also Light, Warmth, and Energy.
      http://www.pyracantha.com/Z/atarsh.html

      Though the Pharisees were rivals of the Sadducees, they managed to set aside their differences on one occasion—the trial of Christ. It was at this point that the Sadducees and Pharisees united to put Christ to death (Mark 14:53; 15:1; John 11:48-50
      http://www.gotquestions.org/Sadducees-Pharisees.html

      May 29, 2011 at 9:41 pm |
    • Reality

      Muneef, Muneef, Muneef,

      When is the Islamic fire of "angel belief" going to be extinguished so that the non-Muslim world can once again feel safe from koranic-driven terror and horror?

      May 29, 2011 at 11:59 pm |
    • John Richardson

      Keith, Please refrain from gross accusations of immorality on the part of atheists. There have for sure been immoral atheists, including some mega-immoral atheists like Stalin. But rank and file atheists are no more immoral than any other group. Indeed, the sort of atheists (and other non-believers) you see around blogs like this are drawn from people who tend to be very reflective, introspective, but also aware of and interested in the outside world, all critical components for developing and adhering to truly meaning moral codes.

      May 30, 2011 at 9:06 am |
    • John Richardson

      @MMR You are misunderstanding the use of conditional statements in David's post. He could just assert his conclusion, as so many others do, eg your own simple "But God DOES exist" that stood unsupported by anything. Instead, he is doing all the favor of mapping out his chain of reasoning, and that often, one might even say typically, involves a network of conditional statements.

      But here's some logic 101: Let's start with a whole bunch of conditional statements:

      If A, then B
      If B, then C
      If C, then D

      And now through the magic of logic, we can assign a true value to ALL of the propositions A, B, C and D by confirming A, in which case all are true, of denying D, in which case they are all false.

      David's use was quite a bit more sophisticated, as he was refuting the conjoined propositions that god is all loving, all knowing and all powerful by showing, via the use of a bevy of conditionals relating to events like those in Joplin, that at least one of these propositions has to be false, without necessarily specifying WHICH one. But this argument shows these propositions can't all be true at the same time, it allows that they CAN all be false, in which case, it becomes untenable to believe in a god even remotely akin to the Abrahamic god (though possible to still believe in lesser spirits that are neither all knowing, all powerful nor all loving, I hasten to add in a moment of neo-animist enthusiasm before it passes!:-))

      May 30, 2011 at 9:20 am |
    • Keith

      You've never lied? Never stolen anything, ever? Never looked with lust? Never hated someone, if only for a moment? Never taken the Lord's name in vain? Never coveted someone else's possessions? Really? If you are guilty in breaking any part of the law, then you are guilty of breaking all of it. God doesn't grade on a curve. You may be self-righteous by your own standard-but it is God's standard by which you will stand in judgement of.

      May 30, 2011 at 12:08 pm |
    • Keith

      John Richardson, "secret messages"? Did you READ any of the scriptures I listed? Being that they were written thousands of years in advance, I don't see how they can be a secret. Let me put it in layman's terms and I'll type real slow just for you...Israel is still God's chosen people. God gave them land. If you try to take that land from Israel, you will pay dearly for it. Here endeth the lesson.

      May 30, 2011 at 1:59 pm |
    • John Richardson

      Ketih, no one is claiming to be perfect. There's a big difference between being imperfect and one morals and refusing to believe in god because of an addiction to a lifestyle of sin, sin and more sin, which is what you suggested. If anything, a sin addict would be more attracted to a theology that suggests that one's sins are "washed away" automatically by signing up with the right god. Sound familiar? But I wouldn't say that christians are all wanton sinners who are in it for the easy forgiveness. That would be untrue and unfair. A little reciprocation in basic human decency in this regard would be appreciated.

      May 30, 2011 at 2:05 pm |
    • Muneef

      [55:0] In the name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

      [55:1] The Most Gracious.

      [55:2] Teacher of the Quran.

      [55:3] Creator of the human beings.

      [55:4] He taught them how to distinguish.

      [55:5] The sun and the moon are perfectly calculated.

      [55:6] The stars and the trees prostrate.

      [55:7] He constructed the sky and established the law.

      [55:8] You shall not transgress the law.

      [55:9] You shall establish justice; do not violate the law.

      [55:10] He created the earth for all creatures.

      [55:11] In it there are fruits, and date palms with their h-anging fruit.

      [55:12] Also grains and the sp-ice-s.

      [55:13] (O humans and jinns,) which of your Lord's marvels can you deny?

      [55:14] He created the human from aged clay, like the potter's clay.

      [55:15] And created the jinns from bla-zing fire.

      [55:16] (O humans and jinns,) which of your Lord's marvels can you deny?

      http://www.submission.org/suras/sura55.html

      May 30, 2011 at 6:26 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Keith

      You said: "You've never lied? Never stolen anything, ever? Never looked with lust? Never hated someone, if only for a moment? Never taken the Lord's name in vain? Never coveted someone else's possessions? Really? If you are guilty in breaking any part of the law, then you are guilty of breaking all of it. God doesn't grade on a curve. You may be self-righteous by your own standard-but it is God's standard by which you will stand in judgement of."

      Golly! Shades of the banana man, Ray Comfort!

      Does god command that we keep the law because it is good, or is the law good because god commands it?

      Curious in Arizona

      May 31, 2011 at 12:05 am |
    • David Johnson

      @John Richardson

      You said: "it allows that they CAN all be false, in which case, it becomes untenable to believe in a god even remotely akin to the Abrahamic god (though possible to still believe in lesser spirits that are neither all knowing, all powerful nor all loving,..."

      Yes, exactly. Cheers to you sir!

      May 31, 2011 at 12:11 am |
    • Dorianmode

      @Keith
      God gave them land. If you try to take that land from Israel, you will pay dearly for it. Here endeth the lesson."
      So what it's all about is that it's a Real Estate Contract ?
      When "God" took Moses and Aaron, (from the group of wandering desert nomads), up on the the hill, and showed them the "Land Flowing With Milk and Honey", which just happened to be occupied, (as has been proven archeologically), by it's many groups of settlers/city states/national groups, and supposedly "gave" it to them is that the way things work ?
      There is absolutely no difference between that process and the one where I and my brother go out to the suburb where we want to live, which is already "settled", find some lots we like, and proceed to write ourselves our own "book": which gives that real estate to ourselves. It's ridiculous on it's face. It is also a well known fact that when the small "Hebrew" group was disentangling themselves from Egypt, probably during the reign of of Pharoh Tutmoses, there were ALREADY settled cities and groups in "Isreal" with large settled groups and related settlements. If you want an easy summary of these issues, you could start with "Nova, The Bible's Buried Secrets". It's a PBS streaming video. (BTW, I typed that real slow too). It will upset your apple cart, but I can't help that.

      May 31, 2011 at 4:48 am |
    • Keith

      David Johnson, the law was given in order to show that all men are sinful and thus need a Savior.

      May 31, 2011 at 3:53 pm |
    • Keith

      Dorian Mode, I'm a little thicker skinned than that to get my applecart upset. But to answer your question: It's God's land. He can give it to whomever He chooses. He's God. Who am I to question God?

      May 31, 2011 at 3:57 pm |
    • Keith

      David Johnson & Get a Grip, ...that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Romans 3:19 Yea, let God be true, but every man a liar. Romans 3:4 And finally, ...and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone...Revelation of Jesus Christ 21:8

      June 3, 2011 at 12:39 pm |
  20. Adelina

    America will always have hope because of Christians who trust in God.

    May 29, 2011 at 8:14 am |
    • myklds

      This how great faith works in life of faithfuls, it give them strenght to overcome and rebuild from tragedy and disasters. It makes them see a bright side even in the (pitch black)worst situation. Their faith maybe shaken, yet not broken.

      I fervently hope that their situations will be spared from insensitive comments but rather, all of us Believer or not will make an inspiring and uplifting ones.

      May 29, 2011 at 9:54 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      You just said on another board that America is doomed, you moronic boob.

      May 29, 2011 at 10:35 am |
    • Ron

      @Adelina,
      Um, your religion and god is not the deal breaker on all of this.
      If your god, as you understand it, is only concerned about Christians, than he is quite biased. Your comment is a contradiction to many of the conceived ideas in your bible, about your god.
      Just because there are Christians living in the U.S. does not make or break the U.S. Your religion is simply one of many in the U.S. I will also add that there are many atheists in the U.S. as well. These people add to the greatness of the U.S. not detract from it.

      May 29, 2011 at 11:44 am |
    • tallulah13

      I strongly suspect that the original Adelina is no longer posting and this is just a troll trying to rile people up using her screen name. Either that, or she really is one of the most deliberately ignorant individuals I've ever had the displeasure of encountering.

      May 29, 2011 at 1:08 pm |
    • Teh Reeder

      I have seen indications of the troll-Adelina around. Don't feed either of them.

      May 29, 2011 at 2:45 pm |
    • Evolved DNA

      Mykids.. what you have described is the human condition.. the force to move on despite adversity.. All species on earth have that ability it is not unique to humans...sorry I see no need for god in this at all.

      May 29, 2011 at 6:02 pm |
    • BG

      @ eDNA

      " I see no need for god in this at all."

      Great; good for you. Now consider the larger issue. Would you deny or denounce someone else's need? Or would you be supportive of whatever belief they held maintaining it improved or enhanced their lives?

      May 29, 2011 at 9:05 pm |
    • Adelina

      The difference between atheists and Christians:
      atheists: Gather like bugs and bully a single religious viciously and immediately, without any logic. Dirty words always make their nature
      Christians: Testify the Truth rain or shine, even alone, with love and sanity and good intelligence in clean language

      May 29, 2011 at 9:16 pm |
    • Adelina

      Ron, "deal breaker"? Secular Jews have made Americans completely stupid, really. Why do you think of everything in business term when you cannot bring a single penny with you after a few decades of life on earth? Religious Jews should have educated Americans on Old Testament.

      May 29, 2011 at 9:23 pm |
    • Adelina

      @Tom, America is doomed because of people like you. Give thanks to American Christians; you are under their safety umbrella. @Tall- and Teh, If you have time to waste, read the Bible and learn to think. @E-DNA, but other species don't have language ability. Humans are distinct. Where are the in-between creatures of humans and apes who speak half languages? Atheists, maybe?

      May 29, 2011 at 9:31 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Real Adelina or troll Adelina... Not much to choose between them. Whoever you are you are just a nasty, ignorant person.

      May 29, 2011 at 11:39 pm |
    • Muneef

      Adelina.

      Respect that America was Christian "In God we Trust"...but just hope she will not be having the faith of Jesus son of Maryam by the same parties as history repeats it self in form of a man or a whole country....

      History Repeats it Self Christian America;
      Though the Pharisees were rivals of the Sadducees, they managed to set aside their differences on one occasion—the trial of Christ. It was at this point that the Sadducees and Pharisees united to put Christ to death (Mark 14:53; 15:1; John 11:48-50
      http://www.gotquestions.org/Sadducees-Pharisees.html

      May 30, 2011 at 6:38 pm |
    • Adelina

      Muneef, please work for the freedom of conscience in the Middle East. Let people freely believe according to one's own conscience. Truth prevails and it must be received freely. And read through all the Gospels, not just your favorite few verses. Then come back. It must be very tough on you... We Christians are use to these blaspheming thugs but you Muslims are not. Please remember everyone can be educated and not to be destroyed because of unbelief. God judges everyone and bestows His justice. You, too, are defenseless without faith in God's Divine Savior Jesus and His atoning death on the cross and resurrection. Listen to God instead of your own vice.

      May 31, 2011 at 12:21 am |
    • myklds

      @EvolvedDNA..you said and I quote, "what you have described is the human condition.. the force to move on despite adversity.. All species on earth have that ability it is not unique to humans..."

      You right, it is and all humans may have such unique ability. But as what you said it's a human condition. It's rather an ABILITY than INSTINCT.

      Likewise, it's rather potential than kenitic. It needs motive(s) and driv(s) so it may function and stimulus(li) in order to response. And that's what FAITH has significantly served them.

      And the end of your reply (haughtily) states: "sorry I see no need for god in this at all."

      You were speaking for yourself and perhaps to all non-believers like you, hence, (Basically) I don't have the right to contend you with that.

      However, you should understand that in my previous post that I was referring neither to you nor to all non-believers like you but to the faithfuls and believers, who are stimulated and driven by FAITH to rebuild and move along despite of adversities, that happens to be the main topic of this article/blog.

      I was then only hoping that non-believers like you, would gain a little sensibility and symphaty for the unfortunate victims that you may spare their situation and this board from your comments whic are contrary of what they are believing that make them strong and let alone whatever it maybe.

      But since most (if not all) of you can't help yourselves and this board is open for those who want to opine, then so be it, it's welcome but definitely unsolicited.

      May 31, 2011 at 8:37 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.