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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. Horus

    Serious question for the theists on here: Why do you believe in God?

    August 28, 2011 at 7:54 pm |
    • MashaSobaka

      Go type in "Do you believe in God?" and "vlogbrothers" into Youtube. You know...if you feel like it.

      August 28, 2011 at 8:02 pm |
    • JOregon

      I was an atheist, raised in an agnostic family. I was taught to question, and search for the truth.
      My search was long, and winding. I have had to admit to myself many times what I thought was true wasn't.
      It is not easy to admit that what you believe with all your heart is wrong.
      Eventually I began to realize there was only one true God above all. I went on my knees to him – in total truth – asking that he lead me to truth.
      Mine has always been a search for truth. Before I lacked belief in God. Truth came when I believed in God. It requires God to give you the eyes to see. Then pieces of the bible fit together in amazing ways.
      I did not search because I was hurting or needing some kind of crutch. I loved my sins, none of them were anything our society considered wrong.
      CNN would never let me write a long enough post to explain all.

      August 28, 2011 at 8:06 pm |
    • gupsphoo

      Simple answer – gullibility.

      August 28, 2011 at 8:07 pm |
    • WilySword

      I believe in God because I have felt His love, and His presence, in my life. Short answer: I asked God if He existed and my thoughts, feelings, and observations about the world around me told me He did. When I follow His teachings, I am happier than when I do not. And finally, on a more intellectual level, I have never heard an explanation of life that makes more sense than the one in which God exists. Still, without the personal level of knowledge that God exists, mentioned in my first sentence, no intellectual explanation or argument would hold much weight with me at all.

      So before any of the more "vocal" atheists go off on me I should point out that I have, in fact, read many arguments against God, many atheist points of view in general, and many other religious articles, etc. and I have never yet encountered a sound, logical argument, nor proof against God.

      August 28, 2011 at 8:12 pm |
    • a person of the Name

      My story is the same as joregon. I found many truths in the bible after God showed me the way.

      August 28, 2011 at 8:25 pm |
    • WeAreLikeThatOnly

      For the same reason that the atheists don't – it is a matter of personal choice. If atheists don't believe in god for any reason other than personal choice, then that would raise some real serious questions .....

      August 28, 2011 at 8:38 pm |
    • Perry

      Joregon, please tell me , in what way did he communicate with you? And how did you know it was the one true god?

      August 28, 2011 at 10:04 pm |
    • JOregon

      @Perry
      A variety of ways.
      In one it was a connect the dots kind of awareness.
      The bible can be understood on several levels. For instance there is a historical aspect and a moral aspect.
      The Spiritual level isn't always so clear.
      In the bible I have found that, in every instance I can think of, water carries a spiritual meaning.
      Remember when Moses struck the Rock and water flowed out. The bible also tells us Christ was the rock.
      In the Garden the river flows out of the garden to water the garden. When we irrigate we bring water into our garden, not out. As the gospel goes out into the world it brings people to God.
      False teachers are called wells without water.
      Living water flows from the bellies of believers, John 7:38.
      .
      John 4:14 But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.
      .
      There have been other events in my life that convince me. Mostly it is the change in me as a person.
      Before we are saved we are spiritually dead. When A&E were cast away from God man became separated from God spiritually.
      God is both physical and spiritual, we are born spiritually dead.
      When we become saved our spiritual body is resurrected. Now God lives within the believer.
      .
      1 Corinthians 3:16 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?
      .
      There is a true change. The evidence, not proof, of salvation is an honest and ongoing desire to do the will of God.
      That is the action of the Holy Spirit on the believer.

      August 28, 2011 at 10:25 pm |
  2. one more

    God created scientist then the scientist think they can control God...but that is a fallacy of the scientist...

    August 28, 2011 at 7:51 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @one more

      " God created scientist then the scientist think they can control God...but that is a fallacy of the scientist... "

      First, you are already assuming God as a 'fact' in your statement. That is unproven. 'Logic foul... 15 yard penalty.

      Secondly, just playing along here... 'maybe' the scientist 'can' control God... 'maybe' God allows it, or that is it's nature...?

      Since we are just speculating on an intangible deity concept here...

      Regards,

      Peace...

      August 28, 2011 at 8:08 pm |
  3. Cris

    The Bible has never been proven wrong in any point and the more science discovers the more the Bible is validated in every way. This trend will continue as time moves forward. CNN never stops trying to put their god in a little box. They can have their little god,I serve a great big God, the only God Jehovah which created the world and the universe 6000 years ago. He controls the tectonic plates and the temperature of the sun and every minute details everywhere. We learn from scripture that nations are judged while they exist since they will not stand per se at God's judgement throne. I believe from what I see in scripture that God most often allows a natural disaster to occur rather than directly sending one. This should show us how he has protected us and still does protect us each and every day. If God's hand of protection were with drawn completely this world would likely be destroyed in short order because the devil is a destroyer. Read about what happened to Job, the devil caused the destruction, God merely allowed it.

    August 28, 2011 at 7:50 pm |
    • Peace2All

      So... God kinda' picks and chooses what terrible calamities to allow and which to stop...?

      Peace...

      August 28, 2011 at 7:58 pm |
    • matt

      the bible is written by man and therefor is flawed.. Cris the bible should not be taken literary for the same reson and if the bible was the literal word of god you sir are not reading that bible, if the bible was the literal word of god then all bibles would be word for word the same and they are not... this is just simple fact

      August 28, 2011 at 8:00 pm |
    • johnbiggscr

      Seriously, if you think the bible has never been proven wrong, and they science confirms it each time it discovers something new then you have to tell me how on earth you think the world is only 6000 years old when nothing, absolutely nothing, scientific shows that to be the case.

      August 28, 2011 at 8:22 pm |
    • jimbo junior

      Chris, you are deeply deluded!

      August 28, 2011 at 8:47 pm |
    • Gavin Ford

      Science has proven the universe is a great deal older than 6000 years and that the bible is wrong on this. Anyone who believes that it is 6000 years old is a moron.

      August 28, 2011 at 9:07 pm |
    • JOregon

      @Gavin Ford
      Without a doubt Bishop Usser's dating system is very wrong. We have about 5,000 years of written history. That is as far back as any dating system can be accurate. Ussers system makes the flood dates not workable. There are other bible based dating systems.
      I wouldn't trust the scientific systems either. They are only theories.
      Besides at creation God could create a universe at any age he wants.

      August 28, 2011 at 9:24 pm |
    • Mick

      "The Bible has never been proven wrong in any point"

      Does that include the talking donkey?

      August 28, 2011 at 9:58 pm |
    • not a zealot

      @Mick, Haven't you seen Shrek 1-3??

      August 28, 2011 at 10:25 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Please explain how The Babble got the value of pi wrong.

      August 28, 2011 at 11:08 pm |
    • Wanfuforever

      Job was a story created by the Babylonians first; instead of God and Satan, it was Marduk and Tiamat. Source: Voltaire's Philosophical Dictionary. So, there you go. And my condolences to Job's first wife..."Hey, this is God. I got a bar bet with Satan on whether or not your husband is going to crack. So you and your children are going to have to die to see if he loses faith. Terribly sorry for the inconvenience..."

      August 29, 2011 at 1:19 pm |
    • LetsThink123

      @JOregon
      ah , the ultimate cop-out! the universe it about 13.8 Billion yrs old based on hubble's constant and the period-luminosity law of cephied variable stars, where the bible says its only 6000 yrs. Also, if the universe is only 6000 yrs old, then light from the stars would not have reached us yet. To explain this obvious problem away, u say: "Besides at creation God could create a universe at any age he wants."
      oh hahaha. u basically did a

      August 29, 2011 at 1:29 pm |
    • LetsThink123

      insert magic statement here!

      August 29, 2011 at 1:31 pm |
    • spoiler

      ehmmm, small correction. Science has proven that the world is a bit older than 6,000 yrs. More like 4.5 billion years. Sorry, to disappoint, but that should debunk the rest of your argument.

      August 29, 2011 at 2:29 pm |
    • JOregon

      @LetsThink
      "ah , the ultimate cop-out! the universe it about 13.8 Billion yrs old based on hubble's constant and the period-luminosity law of cephied variable stars, where the bible says its only 6000 yrs."
      --------–
      Let's think about this, go back to my post and you will see that I said there are other dating systems other than the 6000 year dating system of Bishop Usser:
      ….........
      “Without a doubt Bishop Usser's dating system is very wrong. We have about 5,000 years of written history. That is as far back as any dating system can be accurate. Ussers system makes the flood dates not workable. There are other bible based dating systems.”
      …........
      Where you stumble is where most of us stumble, we simply cannot comprehend God.
      God created the Heavens and the Earth. He created light. He placed light and the stars where he wanted and how he wanted. He did it so that we would have a means of keeping track of time. Can't use it as a time keeper if the light isn't here yet.
      .
      Genesis 1:14 And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:
      .
      God didn't care about Hubble. Hubble and others have simply observed the universe and made their theories from what they can know and observe. They don't know God so they must leave Him out of their theories.
      Because we can't comprehend God we can't understand the creation.
      A simple fact is, in the physical universe, you can't make something from nothing.
      You can't make this universe from an absolute vacuum. With out God there is no universe.
      Since God is Spirit he operates outside of the laws of the physical universe.
      You can't comprehend that because your brain operates on a physical level.

      August 29, 2011 at 6:55 pm |
    • JOregon

      @spoiler
      Ahhhhh, no.
      Science hasn't "proven" anything past about 5,000 years.
      How this works, and there are various dating systems.
      They take a reading on objects that they know the date of. An artifact from a tomb, or a city when we have a written record that places an age.
      By compiling several readings from different sources a formula is created that presumably can date objects beyond our written history. But it is only theoretical.
      We really don't know what kind of forces came upon the earth during the flood, nor do we know what kind of universe and radiation existed before the flood.
      In the end, once again God could create an earth to be any age he wanted.

      August 29, 2011 at 7:06 pm |
  4. one more

    you couldn't be more wrong at the end of the article..." Our storms have not yet been tamed. But our God has." God isn't the one who has or needs taming is the people who are in need of taming by God...and the weather could very well be the reaction of the behavior of people's deeds....so yea God gets uncomfortable and can cause disaster if he want to show a sign or tame the people...

    August 28, 2011 at 7:49 pm |
  5. Horus

    Christianity is predicated on the notion of the divinity of Jesus. Paul said, "If Christ be not risen, our faith is in vain." Miracle stories, even ones similar to Jesus, abound today especially in places like India. Most Christians give these miracle workers no thought at all despite the fact that they can have vast numbers of followers (over 1 million in some cases). Yet place all these miracle stories in the pre-scientific Roman Empire circa 1st century CE attested to by copies of copies of copies of discrepant manuscripts (written not by eyewitnesses) and somehow they become valid?

    August 28, 2011 at 7:48 pm |
  6. Mike p

    Get ready for the very soon rapture. Read "I am coming" by Susan Davis. (3 volumes)

    August 28, 2011 at 7:47 pm |
    • Jimmy

      I preferred "I am Coming" by BellaDonna

      August 28, 2011 at 7:50 pm |
    • johnbiggscr

      If you think its going to happen during your lifetime then you wont mind writing a will leaving everything to me if you die right?

      August 28, 2011 at 8:24 pm |
    • Perry

      If I want the Revelation to come, I'll vote for Bachmann. She would surely launch a nuclear exchange that would bring civilzation to it's knees, and we would all rejoice in it, because it means good times are a comin! Thank you, religion, for making my world such a wonderful place!

      August 28, 2011 at 10:09 pm |
    • The End Is Near

      Do yourself a favor and lead a good life including not inflicting fear of the end on others. The "End of Time will happen tomorrow" has haapened so many times in my life time its rediculous. It happened even more before my life. Does anyone know what this does to children who grow up thinking "how come i'll never get to be a grown up?" It causes more harm than it ever does good so just stop it and talk about sensible things or at least more probable things that might have a positive effect on others.

      August 29, 2011 at 1:44 am |
  7. randy

    Ill pray for you people like th author of this junk, God is all, you are nothing

    August 28, 2011 at 7:40 pm |
    • Perry

      You pray for me, I'll think for you. (wish I could claim that as my own, I love it!)

      August 28, 2011 at 10:10 pm |
    • Perspective

      If God is All, then you, I and Perry are part of it, so chill.

      August 29, 2011 at 1:46 am |
  8. Aizko

    It amazes me how many people still believe in this God nonsense. Gross failure to understand what we have learned about the world.

    August 28, 2011 at 7:35 pm |
    • lol

      and that gross failure seems to be you

      August 28, 2011 at 7:39 pm |
    • matt

      just because we can use science and reason to explain natural events doesn't mean there isn't a god, case in point, rainbows, a sign given by god to Noah can be explained by science but is still a promise made by god

      August 28, 2011 at 7:53 pm |
    • Bob Craig

      I totally agree. If God is so willing to take over 200 lives in a tornado outbreak in April and May and 19 so far in Irene, or for that matter over 3000 in the World Trade Center, why worship him if he is going to toss believers away on a whim. If he truely had the power to create the Universe, why would he care about any one person living on our planet around a non important star, in the outer bands of the Milky Way (one galaxy amoung millions). Seems like fantasy to me.

      August 28, 2011 at 8:03 pm |
    • johnbiggscr

      'matt – just because we can use science and reason to explain natural events doesn't mean there isn't a god, case in point, rainbows, a sign given by god to Noah can be explained by science but is still a promise made by god'
      But thats not proof of anything. You might as well claim the auroa borealis is a sign to the inuit from god, it carries about as miuch weight as a claim.

      August 28, 2011 at 8:26 pm |
    • Perry

      @Matt, YES! And that promise made by God is a Pot of Gold at the end of that rainbow you mentioned. That's exactly what is being chased. Thanks for clearing that up for us!

      August 28, 2011 at 10:12 pm |
  9. Jimmy

    I think Prothero was six sheets to the wind (n.p.i.) when he whipped this one out.

    August 28, 2011 at 7:35 pm |
  10. jay a.

    Last time I looked the Bible did not change about the warning signs preceding the end times.

    Luke 21:11 "There will be great earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven."

    Matthew 24:7 "Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places."

    Fairly obvious that the increase of earthquakes, famines, wars, even volcanoes are the birth pains of the End Times coming. No man knows the day or the hour, but the warning signs are here.

    August 28, 2011 at 7:26 pm |
    • Peace2All

      Well, so much for the authors experiences that the 'believers' are toning down the rhetoric concerning every calamity is a result of God being angry at us terrible/flawed sinners.

      Peace.

      August 28, 2011 at 7:30 pm |
    • a person of the Name

      @peace sorry bible is still truth but when some say soon you have to ask. What whould be soon in the eyes of God. We are all told to be ready for God's coming but the truth is many will likely die before then When its your time to be called home, its your time and we need to be found ready to heed the call. Wether it by the horn or by the grave.

      August 28, 2011 at 7:48 pm |
    • Nathan

      Well Peace2all...on the day of judgement, just explain your view of God's "rhetoric" to him. I'm sure he'll understand!

      August 28, 2011 at 7:50 pm |
    • Believer

      Did you forget the part of every tribe, tongue and nation must hear the world of God before the end will come? That's a ways off

      August 28, 2011 at 7:51 pm |
    • JOregon

      Did you forget the part of every tribe, tongue and nation must hear the world of God before the end will come? That's a ways off
      ---
      That has actually pretty much happened. There may be a tribe or two, but most likely they are related to a tribe that has heard.

      August 28, 2011 at 7:55 pm |
    • Neeneko

      PIty there has been no increase. Only more reporting.

      August 28, 2011 at 7:55 pm |
    • Believer

      @JOregon. There are over 6000 people groups that have not heard the Gospel, there is still a lot of work to do. Ask any agency that sends people to those areas, tons of people still need to hear

      August 28, 2011 at 7:57 pm |
    • Trudy

      I don't know where this guy gets his thinking but he is all wrong. Doesn't he read the bible. Jesus predicted these things in the last days and he says to us Christians to look up when you see these things because your redemption is drawing near. So many people think they can live any way they want and not have to pay for their sin. I believe that God is removing his hand from those nations and people who don't want a part of him. He did in the OT when they choose their own kings. Yes, the rapture is soon coming and I want to be ready everyday. America has turned away from God and the morals of this country have gone down. One of these days God is going to say, Son go and get your children and bring them home I am tired of all the sin and evil in the world. Look in the times of Noah and Lot. God has his fill of all the evil. In Noah's time God said the mind of men were so evil and wicked. It is worse today. We are living in perilous times. Christians take your stand and don't back down on what you believe. God will take us home and than the world is going to see something they have never seen in their life. Jesus is coming soon....

      August 28, 2011 at 8:00 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @Nathan

      " Well @Peace2all...on the day of judgement, just explain your view of God's "rhetoric" to him. I'm sure he'll understand! "

      You're kidding, right...?

      Peace...

      August 28, 2011 at 8:01 pm |
    • sigmundfreud

      The problem with your "logic" jay a. is that there have always been plagues, earthquakes, storms, volcanic eruptions etc. starting long before human history.

      So using your "logic", the end-times should have occurred when the first Neanderthal wondered why that skyman had singled him out for harm.

      Sorry: correction. Thanks to science, we don't have the plagues that our ancestors had, and at least we can predict when a hurricane is on the way.

      August 28, 2011 at 8:07 pm |
    • JOregon

      @Believer
      I think you underestimate the ability for the word to spread. First it was only humans, then shortwave, now the WWW with humans spreading it further..
      Getting the gospel out is one thing, many think that means getting their beliefs out.
      You would be surprised how much word of mouth still works.

      August 28, 2011 at 8:13 pm |
    • johnbiggscr

      'jay a.

      "Last time I looked the Bible did not change about the warning signs preceding the end times.

      Luke 21:11 "There will be great earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven."
      Matthew 24:7 "Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places."
      wow, wars, earthquakes, famines and plagues. Its a good job that they havent occured since the very beginning of civilization else we might never see the signs.....oh wait.

      August 28, 2011 at 8:29 pm |
    • Perry

      Looks to me, according to what you quoted, that the signs of the end of times has been going on since the beginning of recorded history. Sooooo, that might mean it might keep going on for a long long time. Hmmmm. You know, it would've helped a LOT if God had put some dates on that stuff.

      August 28, 2011 at 10:16 pm |
  11. Joshua

    The bible is extremely clear that it is God who causes and controls natural disasters.

    To deny this is to be dishonest, that is how clear the passages are on the matter.

    August 28, 2011 at 7:24 pm |
    • sigmundfreud

      You mean that's the way people who believe in the guy in the sky; the one with the long beard who is throwing storms and earthquakes around.

      Once upon a time (as every good fairy tale starts), people believed that plagues and disease were signs of the wrath of God. So now we have modern vaccination and modern plumbing. Do you choose to avoid disease using modern science, or do you welcome disease as a sign of God? That means you must be against anyone who washes their hands or has had a vaccine.

      August 28, 2011 at 8:10 pm |
    • Gavin Ford

      No, to deny this would be intelligent.

      August 28, 2011 at 9:12 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @Joshua

      Hey -Josh...

      " The bible is extremely clear that it is God who causes and controls natural disasters. To deny this is to be dishonest, that is how clear the passages are on the matter. "

      While the 'Bible' may be extremely clear in it's writings about God causing and controlling natural disasters, has -0- to do with what happens in 'reality.'

      I mean, sure... you 'could' be right, in that it is God 'causing' all of this mayhem, etc...

      I think from a pure literary interpretation of the Bible and what it says regarding this topic, i'll take your word for it. And... you would be accurate in the 'context' of purely analyzing the proper interpretation of the Bible. No more no less. And it might be fair to say that it is denial, dishonesty etc... according to what it says in the Bible.

      Where you can get into trouble here is trying to apply Biblical interpretation 'as if' it "is" reality. There is -0- proof that God, in reality, causes natural disasters for instance.

      Just some thoughts.

      Regards,

      Peace...

      August 29, 2011 at 1:36 am |
  12. KingdomCome

    The article states....
    "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."

    It may not be that God is disapproving of Barack per se, yet God could be upset by the way Barak Obama is dealing with Israel. There is a verse that God says, I will blessed those who bless Israel and curse those who curse Israel.

    If you stand against Israel, you can infer from this verse that God will punish you. Does Barak like Israel? Uh, well I have watched Obama snub their Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last spring when Ben came to Washington... I don't keep up with all the over seas drama, but I should probably start watching how the US is treating Israel....

    Read the book, As America Has Done to Israel... by John P. Mcternan.... explains a lot

    2 Chronicles 7:13-14- If I shut up heaven that there be no rain, or if I command the locusts to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among my people;If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. We see clearly here that God can and will use natural disasters to get a nation's attention.

    August 28, 2011 at 7:22 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @KingdomCome

      " It may not be that God is disapproving of Barack per se, yet God could be upset by the way Barak Obama is dealing with Israel. There is a verse that God says, I will blessed those who bless Israel and curse those who curse Israel. "

      That is a lot of speculative what if's in there -King C.

      Regards,

      Peace...

      August 28, 2011 at 7:35 pm |
    • Dynan3

      What a crock... Your God runs you, not the world.

      Peace

      August 28, 2011 at 7:41 pm |
    • JOregon

      "There is a verse that God says, I will blessed those who bless Israel and curse those who curse Israel. "
      ---
      Where is that verse?
      God really doesn't care about Israel any longer. He divorced himself from her because of her adultery.
      .
      Jeremiah 3:8 And I saw, when for all the causes whereby backsliding Israel committed adultery I had put her away, and given her a bill of divorce; yet her treacherous sister Judah feared not, but went and played the harlot also.
      .
      God should have destroyed Israel because that was what the Law demanded (Leviticus 20:10).
      The reason God did not destroy Israel is because the Messiah was promised to come through her. If God had destroyed Israel Jesus would not have come.
      Now God is done with the Nation of Israel, and is focused on the divine Israel, the body of believers.

      August 28, 2011 at 7:42 pm |
    • wikiIeaks

      except literal israel ceased being God's chosen nation when they put Christ to death (see Jesus' words). There is now a spiritual Israel that is from all tribes and nations. (See the apostles words). So the present day Israel is just another land. Just like USA and Canada and Mexico. It's whether or not you follow Christ that you are spiritual Israel

      August 28, 2011 at 7:50 pm |
    • Fin

      There is no god. God was invented by man to control man. Stop living in the dark ages.

      August 29, 2011 at 12:01 pm |
  13. J.R.

    The bible is NOT a book of truth, fact and was NOT written by God but my many people thousands of years ago in an effort to control mankind. Science has proven pretty much all of it to be false and the book itself contradicts itself more so than the hypocrites who read it. Focus on your own natural, scientific meaning of life, ditch religion and you'll be much happier as everything will make much more sense.

    August 28, 2011 at 7:16 pm |
    • Philojazz

      Congratulations on a very clearly written, and rational post, J R. One can only hope that Mr Prothero realizes that the secularization of America rests, in the end, on the shoulders of each of us individual citizens. If each one of us takes responsibility for living a reasonable, reality-based, rational life, then we'll be okay. As Mr Prothero writes, "As a result of this sort of secularization, we are much better at predicting the course of hurricanes." If only he were as clear as you are, JR, maybe he would just say "Stop believing in God, and look around you at the world."

      August 28, 2011 at 7:26 pm |
    • T.G.

      . . . and your source is???

      August 28, 2011 at 7:29 pm |
    • Sunyoung

      Look at the world? Well it seems to be ful of injustice and hatred and disorder. Scientists wants an ethiopia. Our haven is our God. Just cause your life is groinvwell, doesnt mean other people are too. The whole world does not revolve around you. I knw you go through alot of hard times but you try to run or hide from it. Well? You cant. It will haunt you to youvask God for forgiveness.why is it so hard to see the truth. You need Jesus. We all need Jesus.

      August 28, 2011 at 7:34 pm |
    • @TG

      I can only assume, when TG asks about a verifiable source, he's referring to the bible.

      August 28, 2011 at 7:38 pm |
    • Dynan3

      Well said. For the source, troll, look up the Nicean Council of 4th century CE. Even Mary Magdalen's gosple was cut, as was Judas'. Made by man to control man's mind, hence the world as they kenw it. Such naivete'.

      August 28, 2011 at 7:45 pm |
  14. Sunyoung

    if you call yourself a christian youwwould know that God never leaves us. He made science. Plus, if you guys are better at predicting hurricanes, why did it change from a hurricane category 3 to category 1 when the hurricane actually hit us? You guys are amazingg. You call this an opinion? The truth is right in front of you why are you Americans so stubborn.

    August 28, 2011 at 7:15 pm |
    • Sunyoung

      To control mankind? If you do not know anything about the Bible please do not act like it. God spoke through those people to give a new and better life. A life without suffering leads to nothing. You made plenty of mistakes to know that we learn fom our mistakes. God helps us never regret our wrong because He sent His son for us to die. Jesus dies for me and for you too.science is all based on knowledge that God gave us. Plus science are just facts and hypotheses. Everything is not fully proven such as evolution? Please go do your research and then argue. Many scientists know there is a God out there but they choose not to believe because they want to be special amd differnt from everyone else.

      August 28, 2011 at 7:28 pm |
    • keon

      You're an idiot. Science isn't "created" you fool and unlike your God science actually EXISTS. Science explains why hurricanes loose power. Try research idiot.

      August 28, 2011 at 7:29 pm |
    • Sunyoung

      Why do you not understand anything? Scientists do find things after they make plent of mistakes. Did you not go throug higschool education? Im still going through it and it shows alot of science making mistakes. Can you show me one place in the Bible that has a mistake? Pleasem girl, i did my research ffom both perspectives. If you were smart enough to argue with me and my God tha you would do your research.

      August 28, 2011 at 7:38 pm |
    • Cris

      I agree with you and I know you didn't mean it this way but I should say that I am an American but am ashamed that so many Americans have bought into the lies of evolutionary thinking. Evolution is what you believe when you can't think for yourself and when you don't believe in science. Repeating the lies of evolution will not make them come true. Regarding the hurricane going from cat 3 to cat 1 we need to remember that God caused the conditions that permitted that to happen, this is the kind of thinking that an evolutionist is not capable of.

      August 28, 2011 at 7:57 pm |
    • johnbiggscr

      ' Plus, if you guys are better at predicting hurricanes, why did it change from a hurricane category 3 to category 1 when the hurricane actually hit us?'
      so your take on it is that god obviously changed his mind when it hit land and dropped it from a 3 to a 1 then or what?

      'Evolution is what you believe when you can't think for yourself'
      no, you are confusing evolution with religion there.

      August 28, 2011 at 8:33 pm |
    • HAH!

      Cris, religion is what you do when you can't think for yourself. Why go and figure out the world through research and analytical observation when your highly hypocritical belief system already has it so perfectly mapped out!? "Evolution is what you believe when you can't think for yourself and when you don't believe in science." The theory of evolution is probably more widely accepted in the scientific community than the theory of gravity. "Regarding the hurricane going from cat 3 to cat 1 we need to remember that God caused the conditions that permitted that to happen, this is the kind of thinking that an evolutionist is not capable of." Yeah, thank god for only killing several dozen people so far. You're right, no logical person is capable of thinking of it that way, except maybe some 6 year old sitting in sunday school right now, lol.

      August 28, 2011 at 8:38 pm |
    • yoonissjin1

      why are you so close minded? God never changed His mind. He did everything on purpose. YOU HUMANS CHANGED YOU MINDS! sorry. not you. I mean the hurricane proffessionals or whatever they call themselves. If they really can predict it they would predict it right. Why can't you accept the fact that humans aren't perfect?

      August 28, 2011 at 10:26 pm |
    • Sporkify

      "Evolution is what you believe when you can't think for yourself and when you don't believe in science. Repeating the lies of evolution will not make them come true."

      Ahahahahaaaaaaaaaaahahaa oh MAN. The IRONY. The beautiful, golden irony.

      August 30, 2011 at 4:05 pm |
  15. Mobius007

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ggrxRDOxePU&w=420&h=345]

    August 28, 2011 at 7:12 pm |
    • Mobius007

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

      August 28, 2011 at 7:20 pm |
  16. AdmrlAckbar

    This reminds me of a Master's student's first attempt at research.. or wait no, maybe a Freshman comp paper. To the poster above me who said "I have no idea what he was trying to say." I agree with you. The piece really has no point and you leave it saying.. "huh, so what".. or perhaps maybe we should be saying "Nice job posting this CNN.. more polarized belief web traffic leads to more money".

    August 28, 2011 at 7:07 pm |
  17. stefan

    An overwhelming majority of Americans are idiots.

    August 28, 2011 at 7:06 pm |
    • AdmrlAckbar

      And an overwhelming amount of broad sweeping generalizations in the form of opinions here are often passed off to look like "facts" .. with little or no empirical support =)

      August 28, 2011 at 7:10 pm |
    • steve austin

      "Americans are not a source of much intelligence." – Admiral Stansfield Turner, former director, CIA

      August 28, 2011 at 7:11 pm |
    • Philojazz

      To AdmrlAckbar....And what's your empirical support for that statement?

      August 28, 2011 at 7:34 pm |
  18. KingdomCome

    @ Steven P.
    You statement from the article...
    "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."

    It is mans interpretation that God is no longer judging... but He does not change. So man is wrong. God is just. His ways are not our ways. We don't comprehend His reasoning unless He unables us to understand Him.

    Read the book, "As America Has Done to Israel" by John P. McTernan.... It elaborates on how God's judgements are tied to what the US does concerning Israel. When we don't stand up for Israel we see judgements come forth quickly, and John has too many examples for the average reader to chalk it up as mere coincidence.

    August 28, 2011 at 7:00 pm |
    • steve austin

      if it were up to me we would never send Israel another dime of American money. ever. they are killing civilians with impunity and they use money to buy complicity. our money. not to mention our weapons and last week 56 members of the house were there doing what exactly besides getting instructions on how to increase $$ going to israel?

      August 28, 2011 at 7:09 pm |
    • Chris

      Your out of your mind....god is just? So because I say "No" to the "Do you believe in god" question...its moral for him to make me suffer in a lake of fire for all eternity.

      August 28, 2011 at 7:09 pm |
    • Philojazz

      Dear KingdomCome, when you wrote "God is just", didn't you mean to say "God just isn't" ??

      August 28, 2011 at 7:29 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @KingdomCome

      " It is mans interpretation that God is no longer judging "

      It is man's opinion on anything related to a Deity.

      Regards,

      Peace...

      August 28, 2011 at 7:39 pm |
  19. Buck

    I have no idea what he was trying to say.

    August 28, 2011 at 6:58 pm |
  20. Mr Trololol

    why do you think we could understand something that is infinite?

    August 28, 2011 at 6:56 pm |
    • Philojazz

      Why do you think we can't? Also, what do you mean by "understand"? Also, what do you mean by "infinite"? Any examples you can point to? How's your math?

      August 28, 2011 at 7:31 pm |
    • Perspective

      The ability to think conceptually is required before math can be understood. There seems to be a strong resistance to think conceptually, if we need a definition of infinite. Based on that, it would seem clear that we can't understand It, before we understand what infinite is. Once we understand the concept infinite, then we must agree that no human is capable of weight all the infinite possibilities, enough at least to determine that what happened shouldn't have.

      August 29, 2011 at 2:02 am |
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About this blog

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