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My Take: God no longer in the whirlwind
Seeing the wrath of God in natural disasters was once commonplace.
August 28th, 2011
04:56 PM ET

My Take: God no longer in the whirlwind

Editor's Note: Stephen Prothero, a Boston University religion scholar and author of "God is Not One: The Eight Rival Religions that Run the World," is a regular CNN Belief Blog contributor.

By Stephen Prothero, Special to CNN

As I am riding out Hurricane Irene on Cape Cod, I cannot help thinking about how differently New Englanders in colonial times interpreted these natural disasters. While we speak of the eye of the hurricane, they were ever mindful of the eye of a God who was watching over them, and sending storms their way as punishment for their collective sins.

A fierce debate among academics about secularization theory–the view that societies will become less religious as they modernize–seems to have been won by the skeptics.

Yes, secularization of a sort is happening, but only in certain places (western Europe, most notably). And it seems to be reversible (see the United States today vs. the United States in the 1970s). So simple versions of secularization theory seem just plain wrong.

However, one place where American society, at least, plainly seems to be growing less religious is in the realm of natural disasters.

When the Great Colonial Hurricane raced up the east coast and lashed New England in August 1635, its 130 mph winds and 21-foot storm surge were almost universally viewed in supernatural rather than natural terms—as a judgment of God on the unfaithful.

We still have Puritans among us today, of course.

Pat Robertson is notorious for turning natural disasters such as the Haiti earthquake and Hurricane Katrina into supernatural communications—God’s curse on Haiti or New Orleans for bad religion or widespread abortions.

And on the radio a couple days ago I heard a talk show host suggest that the one-two punch of the recent earthquake and hurricane were two thumbs down from God on the leadership of Barack Obama.

Still, American society as a whole no longer interprets natural disasters as signs of some coming apocalypse or evidence of some past misdeeds. And those that do (Robertson, for example) we generally regard as cranks and outliers—relics of a bygone age.

Some say science and religion are engaged in a battle for the soul of America. I don’t buy that.

I know there are bitter divisions over evolution and creationism, for example. But there are all sorts of spiritual arenas where science is mum, and vice versa. Science and religion run on parallel tracks far more often than those tracks intersect.

Hurricanes and earthquakes are one arena, however, where the language of science has almost entirely routed the language of theology.

Psalms 107:25-33 reads: “For he commandeth, and raiseth the stormy wind, which lifteth up the waves thereof. . . . He turneth rivers into a wilderness, and the watersprings into dry ground."

Today, the overwhelming majority of Americans—including the overwhelming majority of American Christians—believe that when God has something to say He speaks in less dramatic ways, including the still small voices in our hearts and the slightly louder voices of the preachers in our pulpits.

When it comes to earthquakes and hurricanes, however, our authorities are geologists and meteorologists. Most of us interpret these events not through the rumblings of the biblical prophet Jeremiah or the poetry of the Book of Revelation but through the scientific truths of air pressure and tectonic plates.

As a result of this sort of secularization, we are much better at predicting the course of hurricanes. The Great Colonial Hurricane of 1635 arrived as a surprise and took many lives with it, including, according to the report of the Massachusetts governor John Winthrop, those of eight Native Americans taken by the storm surge while “flying from their wigwams.”

So we are better prepared, thank science. Our stories are far less dramatic, however. The overwhelming majority of Americans believe in God. But their God no longer acts out his fury as in Bible days.  Our storms have not yet been tamed. But our God has.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Stephen Prothero.

- CNN Belief Blog contributor

Filed under: Belief • Faith • Science

soundoff (2,530 Responses)
  1. SMH

    Kevin
    Science is great..I do understand it..but if science says we are constantly evolving..then we should see something...
    Please don't confuse it the adaptation..that is something we all do all the time.
    By the way I didn't "miss" the point of the article..I was actually responding to other posts..but since you decided to give me opinion..thank you..we may understand more about weather...science..etc..but that doesn't prove that God doesn't exist..

    August 29, 2011 at 9:34 am |
    • PeterVN

      You can start your learning and reading here, and get past your misconceptions:
      http://darwiniana.org/transitionals.htm

      August 29, 2011 at 9:40 am |
    • iamdeadlyserious

      You're right, it doesn't prove that your god doesn't exist. Not that there's any evidence to even suggest the existence of a god, but let's ignore that for now.

      What is does prove is that as humans learn more, we are more and more able to eliminate gods from the equation. Just imagine how much progress we'll have made in another thousand years.

      August 29, 2011 at 9:42 am |
  2. Paul

    God tamed? Sigh!

    August 29, 2011 at 9:33 am |
    • BRC

      How does one sigh as an exclamation? I would think that;s more of a huff. I'm always a fan of onomatopoeia.

      August 29, 2011 at 9:46 am |
  3. Believer

    @JTC One question...Were you there in the perfect universe? There could have been storms and there could have not. All I know is that all of creation(Universe) groans because of the sin Adam brought upon us. Romans 8:22 says that ALL of creation groans. Now how does creation groan? A little further back in Romans 8 it says very clearly that God did put a curse on all the universe in hope. " For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope(Romasn 8:20) I bet the universe groans very loudly "Nature, with its melancholy charm, resembles a bride who, at the very moment when she was fully attired for marriage, saw the bridegroom die. She still stands with her fresh crown and in her bridal dress, but her eyes are full of tears"

    August 29, 2011 at 9:33 am |
    • EnergyBeing3

      If you believe in Adam and Eve then you also believe in incest. After one of the sons kills his brother, he had incest with his mother and then any of the sisters. This is all so conveniently left out of the bible though and most people don't think of this sick and gross factor. Also, after the Noah floods, Noah's family all had incest so repopulate the globe. TOTAL RUBBISH

      August 29, 2011 at 9:37 am |
    • Sue

      @Believer, your circular referencing of the bible does nothing further for the already broken case for the Christian god. The bible is not even self-consistent, with errors and inconsistencies throughout its many chapters written by many authors over centuries. That you believe in the ridiculous Adam and Eve rubbish shows how utterly ignorant you are of modern science.

      Have a look here http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/science/long.html

      August 29, 2011 at 9:45 am |
    • Perry

      @Energybeing3: It is not rubbish! This is the one good explanation why the human race is so dysfunctional. We're all inbred!

      August 29, 2011 at 9:49 am |
  4. SMH

    @ Kevin
    Science is great..I do understand it..but if science says we are constantly evolving..then we should see something...
    Please don't confuse it the adaptation..that is something we all do all the time.
    By the way I didn't "miss" the point of the article..I was actually responding to other posts..but since you decided to give me opinion..thank you..we may understand more about weather...science..etc..but that doesn't prove that God doesn't exist..

    August 29, 2011 at 9:31 am |
    • MT

      If you don't understand the connection between evolution and adaptation, you may not "understand science" as well as you think you do. And if you think evolution isn't valid because you can't see the result in our species, you may not be looking hard enough. Reference simple things like the pelvic gap and the size of our cranium.

      August 29, 2011 at 9:40 am |
    • Craiga

      We see evolution in short term action all the time. Your just turning a blind eye to knowledge or expecting your foot to change shape while your eating dinner. Here's a nice example for you, the domesticated dog. You should read up on the history of the dog from wolf to all the 'breeds' we now have. Some serious unnatural selection action gives you a fast example if your having trouble understanding what a million years can do naturally.

      August 29, 2011 at 9:42 am |
  5. MM

    Scientific explanations are testable, and in light of new evidence, revisable or falsifiable. The Bible is a book of ancient Jewish myths and legends. There is no reason to accept the truth of the Bible any more than the truth of the Iliad or the Epic of Gilgamesh, other than the ongoing irrational conditioning that gets passed from generation to generation. The Bible, at best, is a book of stories that might provide some ethical guidance, although even there it is self-contradictory and often frighteningly backwards. As a guide to how the universe works, or as proof of the existence of God, it is useless.

    August 29, 2011 at 9:29 am |
  6. Capt. Obvious

    When will the people realize that it's NOT man made climate change either? Our Sun is more active than ever recorded and every major catastrophe on this planet in the past couple of years can be directly related to events in our solar system. It's rather simple.

    August 29, 2011 at 9:23 am |
    • RightTurnClyde

      They prefer to have this on going supposed argument because they are atheists (but somehow need to be affirms in it and are not content to simply be one)

      August 29, 2011 at 9:30 am |
    • MM

      Really?? Science does not support your claim. And if it's so simple, why do professional scientists spend the entire working lives investigating it? And 90%+ disagree with you, by the way.

      August 29, 2011 at 9:32 am |
    • Leo

      Well hey there stud if you have scientific information the the rest of the world scientist don't have why don't you share with the rest of us.

      August 29, 2011 at 9:33 am |
    • Dear Not So Obvious

      That whole "it's the sun" thing has been debunked so many times, your smugness is just sad. Do 20 seconds of research, then hang your head in shame.

      August 29, 2011 at 9:33 am |
    • I'm The Best!

      People just like to argue, and the universe doesn't argue back.

      August 29, 2011 at 9:36 am |
    • MT

      Anyone who claims the cause of a massively complex phenomena is "rather simple" is pushing an agenda. The climate is affected by the solar cycle. The rate of change and the type of change we're seeing on Earth is far beyond what can be attributed to these more predictable changes. The best theory to explain the rate and extent of change we're seeing includes the effect produced by people.

      August 29, 2011 at 9:44 am |
  7. Brian

    You guys keep blaming this God character, I'll be over here with the facts. Come join me if you want.

    August 29, 2011 at 9:23 am |
    • RightTurnClyde

      Actually you atheists are trying to blame God. The rest of us understand more about meteorology. It is a natural phenomenon (not punishment0

      August 29, 2011 at 9:28 am |
    • MM

      RightTurnClyde, I have no idea what you are thinking, if you are thinking at all. Atheists blaming God? Huh? Looks to me like your knee is jerking wildly and can't find a target.

      August 29, 2011 at 9:33 am |
    • MT

      @RightTurnClyde
      So, Glenn Beck and Michele Bachmann are atheists? Good to know.
      Atheists never "blame God." They blame the people who use God as a crutch: people who refuse to learn and understand the world (because the God myth is an easier route), and people who have an agenda ("I understand God and he happens to support my political and social biases.")

      August 29, 2011 at 9:46 am |
    • Jim

      RightTurnClyde
      Still, it just seems natural to assume that if God can be thanked for miraculously sparing some people from natural phenomenon then he can also be blamed for choosing not to save so many others. Unless, of course, you don't believe that he could actually save everyone if he so chose to, which goes against the idea that he is all powerful. Maybe you're really just too afraid of him to let yourself dwell upon this, but if your 'relationship' with God is actually fear-based, then the whole concept of God's love for people requires some review, yes?

      August 29, 2011 at 10:25 am |
  8. Perry

    I thank the author for his provoking article. I've really enjoyed the viewpoints expressed here. And I mean it quite literally when I say that some of you scare the Hell out of me. 😉

    August 29, 2011 at 9:20 am |
  9. Joel

    Why must God and Science be at odds? I don't see this dichotomy. Our understanding of the world through science often reveals a little more of the nature of God. And when science doesn't have an answer, faith must be exercised. I agree with much of this post (that God is not judging through the storm) but tame God... I think not.

    August 29, 2011 at 9:19 am |
    • BRC

      The reason the dichotomy exists is that different people have different definitions for the word "answer".

      If you are of a more earthly scientific mindset, you expect an answer to provide empirical data, or a visible process, or a measurable/observable result. If you prefer science and you ask what causes wind, you seek out the answer and find that it is air moving from a point of high atmospheric pressure to a point of lower atmospheric pressure. All of which is very observable.

      If you are a person of faith, and you ask what causes wind, and the answer is wind comes from the divine, you are willing to accept that as an answer. There is no further looking.

      I know that was a gross generalization, no one is that cut and dry, people follow science and faith and each person's balance is different, but there is a conflict between the two. If you are a person of faith, at some point you are going to hit a knowledge barrier, something we haven't found a real answer to yet, and your answer is going to be "God knows". If you are a person of science, who doesn't worry about faith, then your answer is "We don't know yet"; and you keep trying.

      To me "God" is a filler, never an answer.

      August 29, 2011 at 9:33 am |
    • Ryan

      And to me, a god is an excuse to no longer search for more rational reasoning

      August 29, 2011 at 9:46 am |
    • Free

      Joel
      "Our understanding of the world through science often reveals a little more of the nature of God."

      Not at all. 'God' has served as the default answer to all questions we could not actually answer before science. That number of questions is rapidly shrinking and art, philosophy, music and a number of other disciplines are replacing religion in being able to address the 'spiritual' questions that lie beyond science. God is becoming less useful as an explanation for anything, it seems.

      I guess you can still call upon people's fear of death, and what lies beyond that to give God some 'teeth', but even this is losing it's edge. You can only scare people with an unproven threat for so long before they see through it, and Hell just comes off as ancient superst.ition these days. Sorry!

      August 29, 2011 at 10:58 am |
    • Sean

      “And when science doesn't have an answer, faith must be exercised”

      Just because we don’t know yet, doesn’t me we have to fill in the black with magic. People once thought illness was demonic and a punishment. We now know the true cause, viruses, bacteria, genetics so on ect. Point being they were wrong then and you are wrong now.

      August 29, 2011 at 11:44 am |
  10. JB21

    whatta bloody hell are you really at?

    August 29, 2011 at 9:17 am |
  11. Dennis Pence

    Don't necessarily agree with you "science – falsely so called". Maybe God didn't cause this, but we both know He could have prevented it – if He wanted to. I don't believe we have given Him much of a reason to prevent these catastrophies. That "still, small voice" you speak of is definitely there – but it appears that most people aren't listening to God anymore. As most people do, He speaks a little louder adn gets your attention.

    August 29, 2011 at 9:17 am |
    • Nic

      There is no god. When is CNN going to stop validating this nonsense

      August 29, 2011 at 9:35 am |
    • MT

      "Maybe God didn't cause this, but we both know He could have prevented it – if He wanted to."

      So, God only saves the people he likes? This is the supreme being? This whole "God could have stopped it if we wanted to" schtick is nothing more than the weak rationalization required to make real world facts fit the failing theological premise. The moment you acknowledge God isn't all-powerful, you're admitting he doesn't exist. And he doesn't. You're on your own. Sorry if that scares you.

      August 29, 2011 at 9:51 am |
    • Ryan

      Dennis- So you're hearing voices? Do you understand how insane that comment sounds?? I don't feel like it's ok anymore for people to talk this way and expect others to sit there in a serious manner and accept what they are saying. That sounds crazy...........and you need to know that. I'm sorry.

      August 29, 2011 at 9:51 am |
  12. Qi

    It has been verified that only homes with no bible were damaged by the storm. All rightous homes with a bible had no damage of any kind. These are the true facts. Praise the Lord....

    August 29, 2011 at 9:15 am |
    • BRC

      You get a gold star in trolling.

      August 29, 2011 at 9:17 am |
    • Peter

      It can be from God. God is very humble and does not need to show Himself to be great. Modernism mocks God. (For Atheists, if you can win a debate against Dr. William Lane Craig, I will convert.) Media mocks God.

      Evil issue! Evil is a LACK of goodness, as darkness is a lack of light. Why could evil not exist in the same universe as God? Prove it is illogical. Now, in this life, our merits are allow to be free. We will all be judged. Remember, God never created hell. It never entered His mind. Devils created hell.

      August 29, 2011 at 9:22 am |
    • Perry

      @Qi: Lol. You sound like me (or vice versa). Still lol.

      August 29, 2011 at 9:54 am |
    • Ryan

      Peter- I promise you Dawkins and many other Atheists can win a debate against Dr. Craig. So get to converting. Or more importantly....just wake up.

      August 29, 2011 at 9:57 am |
    • Free

      I'm an atheist, but since I have seven bibles in my home I guess I have little to fear from the weather. I wonder if I could get a break on my insurance?

      August 29, 2011 at 11:02 am |
  13. h

    Thankfully america is secularizing...slowly, but it's happening. Atheism is currently the fastest growing demographic, having more than doubled over the last decade and in the youth population the growth rate seems to be exponential. I hope one day the majority will realize religion was just a way to explain things we could not explain, since there is a natural, instinctual fear of the unknown. As we learn more about our world the number of gods seems to decrease. You seldom find people worshiping a sun or moon god, or nature spirits, or gods of the ocean, gods of death, war, etc.

    As we learn more about how the world works (and the universe), it becomes more apparent you don't need a god to explain it. (and please don't spam comments with "how did the universe start, where did it all come from". If you can accept that an intelligent being with the ability to create universes just existed forever with no creator, then you can transfer that property of infinite existence to the matter of the universe.).

    August 29, 2011 at 9:15 am |
    • PlasticSam

      "Atheism is currently the fastest growing demographic, having more than doubled over the last decade..." and what hole do you pull your "facts" out of?? If you're going to state something as fact, back it up with factual data.

      August 29, 2011 at 9:19 am |
    • terence

      A 2004 BBC poll showed the number of people in the US who don't believe in a god to be about 9%.[8] A 2008 Gallup poll showed that a smaller 6% of the US population believed that no god or universal spirit exists.[27] The most recent ARIS report, released March 9, 2009, found in 2008, 34.2 million Americans (15.0%) claim no religion, of which 1.6% explicitly describes itself as atheist (0.7%) or agnostic (0.9%), nearly double the previous 2001 ARIS survey figure of 0.9%.[28] The highest occurrence of "nones", according to the 2008 ARIS report, reside in Vermont, with 34% surveyed

      August 29, 2011 at 9:34 am |
    • Craiga

      Agreed. As you can see the author has to rely on counting the previous generations who will never think against their old thoughts. If you tally acceleration of secularism his entire article goes plop.

      August 29, 2011 at 9:47 am |
  14. Sandra Schewe

    God never changes, is always the same, and therefore controls the weather just like He did in the Bible.

    August 29, 2011 at 9:14 am |
    • Qi

      Praise the sweet baby Jesus...

      August 29, 2011 at 9:17 am |
  15. Sybaris

    The problem with the notion that your god sends natural disasters to challenge us is that it, by your definition, is omniscient and should know that after having beset man with numerous natural disasters throughout history, it matters not.

    August 29, 2011 at 9:12 am |
    • Fred1

      If god is Omni benevolent or at least is a good shepherd to his flock then why do Christians get stomped just as hard by the storm as non-chrisitians?

      August 29, 2011 at 4:50 pm |
  16. PlasticSam

    You know, this could almost be an interesting little article were it not for the fact that even his "facts" are opinions. "American society as a whole no longer interprets natural disasters as signs of some coming apocalypse..." and "Today, the overwhelming majority of Americans—including the overwhelming majority of American Christians—now believe that when God has something to say..." did Prothero poll some 500,000,000 people?? Nothing defines a crap article better than no data to back it up.

    August 29, 2011 at 9:11 am |
    • RightTurnClyde

      Not necessarily. You can have beliefs and opinions that are not shared by others (whther 50 or 500,000 does not matter). What Prothero is mad at is that his immediate ancestors where Roman Catholics in Boston and when Prothero realized that novenas and holy water and beeswax candle were a hoax he got made at God. God did not tell them to do that .. in fact God forbade it. But Prothero is mad at God (when he ought to be mad at his ancestors .. immediate ancestors).

      August 29, 2011 at 9:19 am |
  17. wb4

    Timelapse Sunrise over Villano Beach Fl.

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ljoFgfClxDM&w=640&h=360]

    August 29, 2011 at 9:08 am |
  18. SMH

    How easy it is to blame the God you don't believe in for all the bad things..disease...famine..and for all the bad events..inquisition..war..and for all the bad people...hitler..stalin. If you don't believe in Him stop blaming Him..if He doesn't exist how is He the cause of everything??
    How easy it is to rely on evolution and science..it amazes me that I still haven't seen an ape evolve into a human being and that science can still not figure out the human brain or for that matter how we happen to be perfectly positioned in the universe..but what the heck..that's what faith is for right??

    August 29, 2011 at 9:07 am |
    • iamdeadlyserious

      I don't think any atheists blame your god for anything. Quit the opposite. But yes, if your god is all-powerful, then he is very, very cruel. Because he either sees evil in the world and doesn't care to stop it, or he sees evil in the world and enjoys it.

      But that aside, science has actually done quite a good job figuring out the human brain. And scientists have done a lot to explain how the universe works. But you're right, faith is for simplistically answering really complicated questions. That way, your brain won't have to hurt.

      August 29, 2011 at 9:12 am |
    • Kevin

      I'm sorry, "you've never seen an ape evolve into a human being?" You really don't understand science, do you? I guess that's why you're religious...

      Oh, and by the way, you completely missed the entire point of the article. He was simply stating that we understand science much better now than we did in the Colonial times, and thus understand the causes behind hurricanes and other natural disasters. If that means we're less-religious now, well, that must just be a coincidence, right? 🙂

      August 29, 2011 at 9:22 am |
    • SMH

      @iamdeadlyserious
      I have to disagree...read some of the posts..they blame God because it gives the appearance of discrediting Christians.
      As for figuring out the human brain..hasn't happened..the neurologists haven't even tapped the surface.
      Let me know, when they know, what caused us to be perfectly placed near the sun to sustain life...let me know when they figure out why so far in the whole galaxy there is no evidence of life except here and when I say life I mean human..not a microbe.

      August 29, 2011 at 9:24 am |
    • SMHMore

      SMH – apes are our cousins, they'll never evolve into humans. The beauty of evolution is that you yourself can go out and prove the theory(law?) of evolution. In fact, scientists have done it for years. Are you aware that they took an indigenous population of lizards from one island, moved them over to a separate island, and 30 years later, it's now a new species, remarkably different from their original ancestor? The fact that this conversation has to be said is tantamount proof of the lack of education of our country.

      August 29, 2011 at 9:32 am |
    • darkstar

      "..it amazes me that I still haven't seen an ape evolve into a human being"
      What a simpleton. It is quite clear you have no understanding at all of the process of evolution. That is not at all how it works. I know it is easy to accept the dumbed-down Kirk Cameron version, and always easier to read one simply book than a bunch of hard ones. Try visiting the science section of your local bookstore sometime. You'd be surprised how much science has discovered. And your childish statement about not understanding the brain is beyond ludicrous. Try reading a book called "Self Comes to Mind". There is a wealth of info, but it does contain some big words and concepts, so it may be way over your head.

      August 29, 2011 at 9:33 am |
    • iamdeadlyserious

      @SMH
      I'll assume you're being at least a little serious when you say that neurologists haven't figured out anything about the human brain. So I'm going to recommend that you actually read some research on the topic.

      As for the answers to your other really, really uneducated questions: What caused us to be this exact distance from the sun? A combination of various physical forces combined with a dash of probability. There really is no answer as to "why" we're in this exact spot, because as far as anyone can tell, the universe didn't come into existence for a reason. Why no evidence of life outside this planet? Maybe because we've been able to check for life on one or two planets in our own solar system, and we haven't even been able to do that very thoroughly. Maybe because we're unsure of what to look for, since our only concept of life involves carbon-based life forms. Maybe there's another civilization that's been watching us in invisible spaceships for centuries. Either way, religion has zero answers to those questions, since most religious texts are from a time where people thought that our planet was the center of the entire cosmos.

      August 29, 2011 at 9:38 am |
    • MM

      If there is a God, he cannot be all-knowing, all-loving and all-powerful simultaneously. You can have any two out of three, but believing in all three is delusional wish-fulfillment, undoubtedly based on fear.

      August 29, 2011 at 9:38 am |
    • DMC

      http://www.americanscientist.org/science/pub/nasa-finds-dozens-of-planets-that-might-support-life

      SMH – Don't think that just because you're living on a planet that might 'seem' to be unique that it actually is. Like the human brain, we've barely scratched the surface of what life may be out there in our universe. And wanting to see evidence of human life and not just microbial is such an incredibly ignorant comment on so many levels.

      August 29, 2011 at 9:39 am |
    • SMH

      Actually I do understand evolution..thanks for calling me stupid..did I call you stupid..don't think so...anyway I was trying to make a point...just because you decide to rely on science doesn't mean you know everything...just because I choose to rely on God..not religion..doesn't mean I know everything..
      We as human beings have become to full of ourselves....to willing to go with the crowd then fight it...I refuse to believe that I evolved...I have seen too many things that cannot be explained by science..including the human brain...

      August 29, 2011 at 9:45 am |
    • Nic

      SMH – you are an idiot. we werent "placed perfectly" by the sun. Because there is a planet like ours that can sustain life like ours it (OF COURSE) began and evolved here. The question of why our planet is perfect for life is very stupid. Of course our planet is perfect for life (like ours), otherwise, we wouldn't exist on it. If the conditions weren't adequate for sustaining life, life wouldn't be sustained. I also think people sarcastically "blame" god for disasters as a way of humorously pointing out how ridiculous it is that people THANK god for sparing them, while destroying things and killing others.

      August 29, 2011 at 9:47 am |
    • SMHMore

      SMH – You're evolving every day. As I said before, go look at some evidence of evolution. Look at how rats have evolved. They're immune to many of old pesticides we used to use on them to kill them. Look at how insects have evolved. If you need proof of evolution in YOUR lifetime, you can spend the time to reproduce it. You just have to start with simpler organisms. Insects, lizards, plants, etc. We're too advanced of an organism now to evolve in a generation. We're still roughly the same organism we were 2000 years ago, or longer. The earth is billions of years old, not thousands. The MOUNTAINS of evidence prove evolution. None of it disproves it.

      August 29, 2011 at 9:58 am |
  19. Aby Thomas

    Who cares about your take Mr. Stephen Prothero? Are you telling me that scientists and science can predict all earthquakes now? What about the minor earthquake which preceded Irene? What about the Tsunamis? After the worldwide tsunami which occured in 2006 i think, there were many tsunami alerts which were issued AFTER an earthquake...all of them being false alarms as well....so when it comes to earthquakes...who is your authority once more? All these things happen without God's knowledge? God has no hand in it? Ofcourse the above argument does not hold if you say there is no God. I have heard of an atheist who fisted the air, looking up to the sky and shouting " i don't believe you exist"

    August 29, 2011 at 9:06 am |
    • Madtown

      God didn't cause the hurricane, or the earthquake. God created this world with certain naturally-occuring phenomenon and characteristics, earthquakes and hurricanes being 2 examples.

      August 29, 2011 at 9:16 am |
    • Joseph

      Shouting "I don't believe you exist"? I do that once a day with every god that humans have contrived. Rah, Yahweh, Apollo, Thor, Vishnu, Quetzalcoatl – and the list is so long that by the end of the day, it's time to start again.

      That's sarcasm, by the way.

      August 29, 2011 at 9:29 am |
    • SMHMore

      Aby, go research plate tectonics, examine what happens when a chunk of land snaps underwater. Also, head over to usgs.gov and look at the list of earthquakes that happen EVERY DAY, all over the world. Tsunamis are a result of earthquakes, they don't just poof into existence. If you insist non-religious folks read the Bible to understand God, then non-religious folks insist you look at the world around you and understand it as well. Jumping out of a plane and shouting "I don't believe in gravity!" ends badly, I'm afraid. Scientists have proven how we came into existence as our current species, religion has not proven the existence of God.

      And before you object, scientists aren't out seeking to disprove things, they seek to prove things. They don't have to prove something doesn't exist, it's not their job. If you want to fill in the gaps of our unknowns with God, that's fine and I respect your choice. But I choose to just not know, and continue searching logically and rationally for those answers.

      August 29, 2011 at 9:45 am |
  20. Mike

    my response to this is my entry on my blog for those that are asking, "Where is God in the middle of this disaster?" Check it out! http://mikec16.blogspot.com/2011/03/ever-asked-yourself-where-is-god-when.html

    August 29, 2011 at 9:06 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.