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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. Say What?

    Why is the argument made for or against God? If you don't believe what is your concern with someone who believes? If you do believe "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. NKJV" Matt 5:16 ;Luke 11:28 "But even more blessed are all who hear the word of God and put it into practice."
    NLT

    August 28, 2011 at 10:47 pm |
    • John G

      If you believe in a deity the just shut up – don't demand everyone else's approval of and conformance to your deviance.

      August 28, 2011 at 10:51 pm |
    • Jeff

      I don't demand approval; but I will yell the truth over the whine of ignorance any day of the week.

      August 28, 2011 at 10:59 pm |
    • Say What?

      I think God could use you just as He used Paul! Someone that is so dogmatic in your stance should be put to a good work. I pray God move one your and your hear Him. Read about Paul and his trip to Damascus.

      August 28, 2011 at 11:10 pm |
    • Unfortunate

      John, just like you saying "God has no relevance – you are God – the rest is just lunacy"? You should't demand everyone else's approval of and conformance to your deviance either then...

      August 28, 2011 at 11:11 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @Say What?

      Well, for me personally... it for debate and discussion.

      Peace...

      August 29, 2011 at 2:45 am |
  2. EnergyBeing3

    Sigmund Freud had it right. Look up 'Psychological Projection' then you'll piece together how humans simply project to rationalize events. What is even more funny are the people who barter with God for STUFF like a child's mind. "Oh God if you give me this then I'll do this for you or I"ll be extra good." This is beyond immature and un-evolved. Grown adults still have a brainwashed concept of God as a parent. This is one of the foundations of the control that is put over grown adults who don't do some basic critical thinking. The Bible is just full of all kinds of mind tricks to keep people in a cycle of control. The priests don't want you to know this. People are waking up though and realizing they have self-empowerment beyond a book of lies.

    August 28, 2011 at 10:33 pm |
    • Jeff

      You have every right to your opinion but the things you are saying are simply absurd!

      August 28, 2011 at 10:38 pm |
    • McJesus

      If you want absurd... lets talk about talking snakes, walking on water, and coming back from the dead.

      August 28, 2011 at 10:40 pm |
    • Jeff

      If you really want absurd let's discuss modern sciences extremely complex and technical explanation of the genesis of the universe: a big bang.

      August 28, 2011 at 10:44 pm |
    • EnergyBeing3

      There is far better spiritual knowledge out there than what the Christian religion can provide. The sad thing about the Christian religion is that it doesn't give it's followers the blueprint or architecture of their souls. Instead, it makes people pray to a dead master, a corpse nailed to two boards, then have the followers eat the body (cannibalism) and drink the blood (vampirism) in some strange, ironically satanic like ritual. It's seriously dysfunctional on many levels.

      August 28, 2011 at 10:46 pm |
    • Jeff

      Like I said below: they don't serve breakfast in hell. I sincerely hope you try to open up your mind just a little and let a little light in there. Don't fall for the group-think stuff. You can think for yourself.

      August 28, 2011 at 10:48 pm |
    • Unfortunate

      Say an artist drew a picture, what say would the picture have on what it is?

      August 28, 2011 at 10:51 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Jeff

      Yep, the big bang, with all its evidence, is much more absurd than a god who "speaks" everything into existence. LOL

      Cheers!

      August 28, 2011 at 10:51 pm |
    • J.W

      I really do not see why we argue how the universe came into being. Even if it happened exactly how the big bang theory says that does not really show that there is no god or that there is a god. Too many things can't be explained. It is pointless arguing about it really.

      August 28, 2011 at 10:56 pm |
    • Unfortunate

      David, the Big Bang states that everything came from nothing. In my life, I have never see anything come from absolutely nothing. However, to say that God created the universe... I have observed that anything made, say a computer or a car, always has a creator/designer/engineer.

      Therefore, it is absurd to think that there was an exception in the beginning of the universe where there was an instance when everything came from nothing.

      On the other hand, since we exist- and a complex system at that, it makes logical sense that we were created vice coming from nothing. And if we were created, it would be very possible that God created the universe

      August 28, 2011 at 11:21 pm |
    • LetsThink123

      @Unfortunate
      the big bang and biological evolution is not the same as someone making a computer or car. But i know u dont get what i am saying.
      Big bang has a lot of evidence. A couple of glaring ones is that:
      1. Stars are made up of 25% helium and 75% hydrogen. The big bang model predicts and shows that they would be made up of essentially this percentages of elements! Could be just be a coincidence?
      2. Big bang predicts that at 10K kelvin, hydrogen atoms were electrically neutral and gave off a microwave radiation. This microwave radiation should be seen today and detectable. it was predicted in 1940s but the technology was not available to detect it. In the 1960s two engineers working at bell telephone labs were setting up a satellite dish and detected it. Wow another prediction by the big bang is true!
      3. Receding galaxies, spirals, Cepheid variable stars, cold dark matter, etc.. are also predicted by the big bang. These remnants of the big band can be seen today! more evidence yay!
      Ok, so where is the evidence that ur god created the universe? Just saying that ur god created the universe doesn't make it true. we need to see the evidence.

      August 30, 2011 at 4:14 pm |
  3. Caleb

    What makes God fiction to you. Why can't the spiritual become real in your eyes?

    August 28, 2011 at 10:32 pm |
    • Sue

      Complete lack of any proof. Ya think?

      August 28, 2011 at 10:51 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Caleb

      You asked: "What makes God fiction to you. Why can't the spiritual become real in your eyes?"

      Well... let's start with these:

      God created Adam from a handful of dirt and his wife from a rib; Talking snakes; trees that bear fruit, that imparts knowledge and eternal life; a global flood, that required a pair of each organism on earth, be stuffed onto a boat; people who lived hundreds of years; a man who was swallowed by a fish, only to be spit up 3 days later, unhurt; a tower god was afraid might reach heaven; a woman who is turned into a pillar of salt; talking donkeys; unicorns; satyrs; a leviathan god creates and then does battle with; a zombie messiah, who was actually god incarnate; zombie Saints who left their graves and wandered about the town; belief in a circular, flat earth you could fall off the edge of.

      Only an idiot would believe these to be real.

      Cheers!

      August 28, 2011 at 10:56 pm |
    • Unfortunate

      Interesting that the lower rib is the only bone in the body that grows back. Interesting that for anything to exist, everyone agrees you need time, space and matter... Which is all accounted for in Genesis 1:1 In the beginning (time), God created the heaven (space) and earth (matter). Interesting that the rotation of the earth is slowing down like a top. If the rotation of the earth is slowing down, how fast was it spinning when the dinosaurs were here millions of years ago. Interesting that the moon is getting farther and farther by a couple inches each year. How close was the moon to the surface of the earth 1 billion years ago?

      August 28, 2011 at 11:05 pm |
    • LetsThink123

      @Unfortunate
      Interesting how adam and eve is a myth. Why would god write myths in the bible?
      If u think adam and eve is not a myth, then please answer these questions logically:
      1. FACT: If a brother and sister have a child together, there is a high probability of that child suffering from retardation.
      Based on this fact, why isn't most of the world suffering from retardation if we all came from Adam and Eve?
      2. FACT: The first early humans were walking this earth 200k-500k years ago, and came out of AFRICA.
      Based on this fact, how does the Adam and Eve story hold up to such a vast error in timescale? God created the world in 7 days, and even if you say that 1 day = 1000 years, the number is still way off!
      3. FACT: The stars we see in the night sky are just other suns (some larger than our sun, some smaller). They were also formed BEFORE our sun.
      Genesis 1:3 says: And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. <– This means that the sun was created.
      Genesis 1:16 says: And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also.
      Why did God make the stars AFTER our sun?? It contradicts FACT.
      4. FACT: Land animals were present BEFORE animals who could aviate.
      Genesis 1:20 says: And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.
      Genesis 1:21 says: And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
      Why did god do the reverse??
      5. FACT: Mendelian genetics says that a certain genetic threshold is needed for a species to survive. Example, the bengali tigers r going extinct. There are only about 250 of them left, and they will not survive for more than a couple of decades. But being an adam and eve believer, u would say, 'hey, 250 of them, thats enough! we only need 2 to reproduce and keep the species going!'. wrong! the genetic threshold for these tigers is 500. they need at least 500 to produce enough genetic variance in order to survive. So how could adam and eve, just 2 people, able to provide so much genetic variance that we see in humans today?
      Side note: The Epic of Gilgamesh was a collection of stories written 200 years before the bible. Conveniently, the adam and eve story (and Noah's ark) is very similar to the ones in Epic of Gilgamesh. Don't you think it's plagiarized in the bible?
      It will be very 'interesting', as u put it, to see your logical (not magical) answers to above questions.

      August 30, 2011 at 4:18 pm |
  4. EnergyBeing3

    Christianity will eventually become a truly dead religion. Such as Latin. We know about it. One can learn it but it's simply not used. Such as with the rules of the Bible that are, now in this modern age, either outlandish or illegal and can't be practiced. In reality all Christians, even the Pope are all hypocrites. They are losing the argument to keep up their illusions and spreading the lies that have kept people in a state of brainwashed non-reality for centuries.

    August 28, 2011 at 10:25 pm |
    • J.W

      How is every Christian a hypocrite? Do you know every Christian on earth personally? How do you know they are hypocrites?

      August 28, 2011 at 10:32 pm |
    • John G

      Who says Christianity is a religion? – maybe a cult following...

      BTW: Atheists have plenty of beliefs – one is that Christians don't follow their Manifesto.

      August 28, 2011 at 10:32 pm |
    • Jeff

      They don't serve breakfast in hell. Therefore, you may want to reconsider your beliefs. Or you can go on as you are now, closed minded, group-thinking, and believing that you have all the answers.

      August 28, 2011 at 10:36 pm |
    • EnergyBeing3

      ALL CHRISTIANS ARE HYPOCRITES ... NOBODY CAN LIVE BY ALL THE RULES IN THE BIBLE IN THESE MODERN TIMES ... LEARN ABOUT ALL THE ABSURD AND DEADLY RULES AND YOU'LL SOON REALIZE THIS BASIC TRUTH.

      August 28, 2011 at 10:37 pm |
    • Unfortunate

      ALL human beings are hypocrites... Which is exactly the reason Christ came to this earth.

      "There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus." Romans 3:22-24

      August 28, 2011 at 10:41 pm |
    • Jeff

      I am a Christian and I am a hypocrite; self-professed. But if you are on here telling the world that you've never had a moment of hypocracy in your life than I pity you. We don't have to live out "every rule in the Bible". Jesus is the new covenant and with him; the rules are to love God and love one another. That's it!

      August 28, 2011 at 10:41 pm |
    • J.W

      We do not have to live by all of the rules in the Bible, such as the ones in the Old Testament. Therefore all Christians are not hypocrites.

      August 28, 2011 at 10:41 pm |
    • EnergyBeing3

      Christians pray to a dead master. They pray to a corpse nailed to two boards. It's seriously sick. But here we are with politicians trying to push their religious agendas. Sorry, you don't get to cherry pick rules of right or wrong from a book when nobody can live by all the rules.

      August 28, 2011 at 10:52 pm |
    • Unfortunate

      If you think Christians pray to a dead master, you have to re-read your Bible... You missed a few key points unfortunately... 😦

      August 28, 2011 at 10:54 pm |
    • Unfortunate

      You're right Energy, no one is perfect and no one can follow all the rules... Which, again, is exactly why Christ came.

      "There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus." Romans 3:22-24

      August 28, 2011 at 10:57 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Jeff

      No breakfast you say? I agree. 'Cause there ain't no Hell.

      If god is all loving, all good and all just as Christians profess, how do you reconcile this with the fact, that there is a place called hell?
      How could an all good, all merciful, all just god, spend His time constructing such a place? Did he whistle while He worked?
      If god is all loving, all good, all merciful and all just...how do you reconcile this with the fact that god would burn humans for all eternity? What crime could justify such a punishment?
      Man lives a finite number of years. Only a finite number of "sins" could be committed in this finite time. How is it just to punish a finite number of sins with eternal agony?
      Christians also claim their god is all knowing (omniscient). If this is true, then He would know who will be saved and who will be damned, even before they are born. Yet, god lets them be born knowing their ultimate fate is eternal punishment. Seems wrong somehow. Maybe it's just that I am sane...
      Christians often prattle on about having a choice of accepting Christ or spending eternity in hell. This is not a choice. This is Vito Corleone making an offer that cannot be refused. Pfui!
      If you were trying to start a religion, as the New Testament authors were, wouldn't this be a good PowerPoint bullet? I mean it really couldn't hurt the membership roster, right?

      Join = Eternal Bliss

      Decline = Eternal Agony

      If a puppy peed on the floor, would you hold it over a burner, even for a second? I couldn't. Not a puppy and certainly not a human. I am more moral than your vile god.

      Like many of your fellow Christians you seem overjoyed with the idea, that people who do not agree with you will be horribly punished. You draw it like a gun. It is the better part of any argument you make. If I am wrong and there is a god and there is a Jesus...you and I may be roomies.

      Cheers!

      August 28, 2011 at 11:00 pm |
    • J.W

      Well thats ok Energy. Maybe you havent read the New Testament yet. It says that Christians are no longer bound by Mosaic law.

      August 28, 2011 at 11:04 pm |
    • Unfortunate

      David, if someone robbed you and you went to court with the robber and found out that the Judge can only rule Not Guilty, then what is right and wrong, what is justice? Morality depends on this. God is also the perfect judge, you're guilty or not. Since God is good, he sent Jesus to take our place... If we choose.

      August 28, 2011 at 11:46 pm |
    • LetsThink123

      @Unfortunate
      Like i said in another post, adam and eve is a myth. This breaks Christianity. If adam and eve was true, u would be able to logically answer all the question i posited in the other post.
      1. The basis of Christianity: Jesus died on the cross for us so that we may be saved by the grace of god because of original sin committed by adam and eve.
      2. Adam and eve cannot be true from the above argument -> this means there is no original sin -> this means that Jesus died for nothing -> this also shows that Jesus is not god (why would a god come to earth to die for a mythical story?? being a god who knows all, shouldn't a god know that the story he died for is a myth?)
      3. Combining the logic in steps 1 and 2, the basis of Christianity is shown to be false.

      August 30, 2011 at 4:23 pm |
  5. John G

    God has no relevance – you are God – the rest is just lunacy.

    Go into a warehouse and talk to yourself – weird
    Go into a pointy-ended building and do the same – Christianity, Islam – Religion...

    August 28, 2011 at 10:21 pm |
    • Unfortunate

      If you are God, why do you die at the end of your life?

      August 28, 2011 at 10:43 pm |
  6. Paco the Avenger

    God is not watching over you. For god to be watching over you, it would have to exist. Your holy books are mythological hybrids.

    August 28, 2011 at 10:20 pm |
  7. hmanity01

    “I'm not afraid of death, but I'm in no hurry to die. I have so much I want to do first. There is no heaven or afterlife, that is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark."
    – Stephen Hawking

    August 28, 2011 at 10:07 pm |
    • Lewis

      Has Hawking any scientific proof for his statement? Has he passed beyond this material existence and observed these things he claims? If Yes, then I call him a lunatic. If not, then he at best he is a liar for making such a statement.

      August 28, 2011 at 10:14 pm |
    • chico Burner

      god answered the prayer of Rick Perry in Texas and brought Irene for the East coast. oh well!! close enough...keep praying Parry

      August 28, 2011 at 10:24 pm |
    • Matt

      And apparently some are afraid to turn on the Light?

      August 28, 2011 at 10:35 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Lewis

      You asked: "Has Hawking any scientific proof for his statement? Has he passed beyond this material existence and observed these things he claims? If Yes, then I call him a lunatic. If not, then he at best he is a liar for making such a statement."

      In the real world, any object that provides no evidence for its existence is classified as imaginary.

      Since believers are positing an afterlife, it is their burden to supply proof.

      Cheers!

      August 28, 2011 at 11:07 pm |
  8. Leonore H. Dvorkin

    Yes, there are atheists in foxholes. There are plenty of brave atheists facing all kinds of trouble every day. The difference between us and people who believe in Big Daddy in the Sky is that we are emotional adults. We are able to rely on ourselves and on other people, and we do not need to turn to fairy tales for comfort. We treasure life, but do not need the illusion that anything else will follow it. If religion were not such an unending source of trouble in the world, it would just be funny and pitiful. Grow up, believers! Get up off your knees and think for yourselves.

    August 28, 2011 at 10:07 pm |
    • EnergyBeing3

      Agreed. Fully.

      August 28, 2011 at 10:26 pm |
    • I am thinking

      I grew up in Utah, I am sure you can guess what religion I was born into and raised in....Mormon. I believed it all my life, because that is what I was conditioned to follow. I went on a 2 year mission, served as a bishop of a ward for many years....I then started to study the foundations of mormonism only to find....that its foundations are far different than what I had been taught. That the "brethren" or leaders of the church dont just speak for God, but speak plenty of their own rubbish that is for our "salvation and stuff"...I removed the religious blinders and found a wonderful world that is not plagued by guilt, remorse, doubt or fear that I may not be doing what God wants me to do. I have found a world that provides plenty of joy, and happiness for living for the now. This has been a long journey for me, lasting many years. But I am very grateful for my expanded world view of life. Many of my friends think that I am crazy and have lost my way, but I feel free. Free to think, to reason, to appreciate life for what it is. I still believe in a God or energy source that controls and governs matter and energy. In all my thinking, I also studied evolution and i still believe the probabilities of mutation, natural selection, adaptation of a single celled organism to evolve into the complexity of life as we know it....to be too great without some sort of control. My mind is open to higher life....I think as an atheist, your mind is open as well, you have to believe in a higher evolved being than potentially our own, or you would not believe in a higher evolved being beyond a single cell organism....

      August 28, 2011 at 11:29 pm |
  9. Lewis

    I am amazed at all the atheists who feel compelled to talk about a person they think doesn't exist. If I don't think something exists I wouldn't waste my time commenting about it on CNN.

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

      This is a typically ignorant reponse by the godfolk. Atheists comment about *belief* in gods, not the non-existent gods themselves. It's the fervent beliefs - equal parts absurdity and danger - that cause so much danger to society.

      August 28, 2011 at 10:09 pm |
    • Sue

      Lewis, I'm amazed at your ignorance and stupidity. One of the reasons that atheists comment here is that religious beliefs unfortunately impact laws and government policy and our laws.The idiocy of religion unfortunately permeates much of our society, so the more we can fight back and speak out against religious idiocy, and the more visibly, the better.

      August 28, 2011 at 10:09 pm |
    • leecherius

      I think they somehow believe they are going to change someones mind , or maybe just trying to keep proding the hornets nest to see if they get stung. I think somewhere under it all are people who would like to believe but for lack of tangible evidence , can't. I guess some just can't really grasp the concept of faith.

      August 28, 2011 at 10:15 pm |
    • Matt

      I would take the time to tell you how stupid you are, Lewis, but instead I am just going to assume at this point I don't need to.

      August 28, 2011 at 10:15 pm |
    • Matt

      Apparently leecherius, you haven't a clue what logic and reason are

      August 28, 2011 at 10:17 pm |
    • J.W

      Sue is a crazy lady.

      August 28, 2011 at 10:23 pm |
    • Lewis

      One atheist told another atheist that there was not a large purple zebra in his closet. When the other atheist suggested that he drop the subject the first atheist responded. "I can't believe you are so stupid and ignorant!" If you do not understand how this story makes any sense you are not alone.

      August 28, 2011 at 10:31 pm |
    • Sue

      Lewis is stupid and ignorant.

      August 28, 2011 at 10:52 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Lewis

      You said: "I am amazed at all the atheists who feel compelled to talk about a person they think doesn't exist. If I don't think something exists I wouldn't waste my time commenting about it on CNN."

      I, and probably most of the non-believers that comment on this blog, are not trying to persuade the true believers we respond to.

      We are trying to show the reader(s) of these comments, who have not yet drank the Kool Aid, that god ain't necessarily so.

      Many of the theist's comments, read as if there is no doubt that they are right. They have picked the one true god and they have correctly interpreted that god's will, from the bible.

      Non-believers point out that in reality, what the theists are saying is just their opinion. And opinions are like anuses. Everybody has one. The theists have no evidence, that what they are "preaching" has any validity whatsoever.

      Cheers!

      August 28, 2011 at 11:11 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Sue

      You said: "One of the reasons that atheists comment here is that religious beliefs unfortunately impact laws and government policy and our laws."

      Yes, child! You have seen the light!

      The Texas history books are rewriting history to give the conservative slant. The objective of this effort, is to create a Christian Nation, a theocracy with Jesus as Head of State.

      A huge campaign is underway, to convince the American people, the founding fathers never intended a separation of church and state. Thomas Jefferson's role as a founding father is played down. In some cases Jefferson is smudged.

      Expect an attack on the 1st and 14th Amendments. The founding fathers will weep.

      Most of the Tea Party are for a Christian Theocracy. The Tea Party is in bed with the Christian Right. A vote for any Tea Party candidate, is a vote for Christian Right domination.

      The Republicans are the puppets of the Christian Right and the Rich.

      You will see an amendment defining marriage as between a man and woman. The repeal of "Don't Ask Don't Tell", will be in grave jeopardy. Gay rights will dwindle and die.

      Roe Vs. Wade will be reversed. Women will once again be forced to seek back alley remedies. Men will be forced to buy condoms on the black market.

      Stem cell research will stagnate. The hopes of damaged and sick people will be dashed.

      All scientific research will be scrutinized by the Christian Right. "Is a theory is in agreement with Scripture ", will be the new metric. Get use to hearing "God Did It". No one will dare question otherwise.

      P_ornography will be illegal. The Religious Right will decide what is p_ornographic , as well as what is art. You will watch television programs approved by the Evangelicals. Lots of reruns of "Growing Pains", starring that Evangelical darling Kirk Cameron. Thank you Jesus!

      Creationism will be taught in public school, most likely alongside evolution rather than instead of, but no guarantees.

      Vouchers will enable parents to send their child to religious schools. Funds to public schools will dwindle. Quality education will be out of reach for the masses. The finite amount of money, will be spread too thin. But what does it matter? It is the will of God.

      Little Johnny will believe in talking snakes and Zombie Messiahs. The rest of the world is spending their time learning real science and math. Good luck Johnny. Can you say: "Would you like fries with that?"

      State-sanctioned Prayer will be in our schools. The Christian Right think they know better than the Founding Fathers and want to tamper with the Bill of Rights. They want to amend the U.S. Const_itution, so that the Government would legally sponsor and take over the activity of prayer. Only the one true god, the Christian god, will be given homage. The non-Christians will be allowed to put their heads down on their desks, during the morning worship. They can contemplate their damnation, for not accepting Jesus.

      $ex education will consist of abstinence only. Studies have shown it is a worthless concept. But, it will please Jesus.

      The war against unions, commenced during the Bush administration, will continue.

      Jesus will be the Head of State! He will be represented by an empty chair at the head of the leadership table. Only the Evangelicals will be able to hear His voice. They will tell the rest of us His will. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!

      We will be slaves to a make believe god. If it wasn't so sad, it would be funny.

      Cheers!

      August 28, 2011 at 11:41 pm |
    • harmonynoyes

      I don't feel threatened by the God concept. If one believes life is sacred and there are crimes, and hell to pay, they might think twice before victimizing someone else intentionally, just because they feel like it and they can. I like to believe God sees what we do, and knows our hearts.

      August 30, 2011 at 12:34 am |
  10. My bad...

    I would like to apologize to all people on the East coast for causing this hurricane. It's all my fault! You see, my neighbour's wife is hot... Just the other day, she walked by in a mini skirt and I thought to myself: "God, I'd love to do her". Apparently, God heard me, but didn't like my sinful thoughts. The next thing you know – bam (!!!), He sends Irene instead of the neighbour's wife... #%@*&%^

    August 28, 2011 at 10:03 pm |
    • Sue

      Not quite the bam you were hoping for :-).

      August 28, 2011 at 10:10 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @My bad...

      LOL...!!! 😀

      Peace...

      August 29, 2011 at 3:29 pm |
  11. thes33k3r

    Prothero, you're mostly right in this article but one glaring error you can't get past is the idea that modern science and failed sciences (religions) can be friends. Science and religion are not compatable. Stay tuned. You'll have plenty of chances to change your mind.

    August 28, 2011 at 10:03 pm |
  12. gupsphoo

    Why aren't Christians praying away Irene?

    (1) God exists but he doesn't care.

    (2) God doesn't exist (but the gullibles will continue to believe anyway).

    August 28, 2011 at 9:53 pm |
    • Ben

      Rick Perry lacks the guts to admit failure of his prayers.

      August 28, 2011 at 9:57 pm |
    • gupsphoo

      We don't want a president to resort to prayers in times of crisis, do we?

      August 28, 2011 at 10:01 pm |
  13. Sue

    Weird that Christians think that the hurricane is sent as punishment for sins, and then they get punished all over again in hell afterward. In a criminal court, that would probably be considered double punishment, and simply unfair. Good thing that the Christian god doesn't exist.

    August 28, 2011 at 9:47 pm |
  14. julianpenrod

    It can be observed, among other things, that God did create everything and does control the timing of all events. So it has to be asked what purpose He has for making serious occurrences coincident with various acts of man. Libya finally falling due to American complicity is an event with which the earthquake and hurricane are nearly simultaneous.

    And, for all Mr. Prothero's invoking of the reaction to the Great Colonial Hurricane, consider what the world, and particularly the United tates, has seen in the last ten years. A hutrricane season so bad they ran out of letters for the storms, and two of them were Katrina and Rita. Tornadoes occurring in places they were never known, like Brooklyn. For that matter, tornadoes jumping so much in number, meteorologists have started talking not about total numbers but "tornado days". Diseases from SARS to avian flu to "mad cow disease" literally emerging from the nothingness. The strongest tsunami on record. A bridge in Minnesota dissolving beneath motorists' cars. An unprecedented gigantic steam main explosion in New York. A still unexplained two football long crack in the earth in Michigan. The space shuttle Columbia immolating during re-entry. The only other destruction of a space shuttle was during the administration of another Republican thug who specialized in invading small countries, Ronald Reagan. Bees disappearing, threatening crops. Food poisoning scares on a regular basis. The explosion of the supply rocket to the International Space Station. Animals from coyotes to cougars to bears to wolverines are showing up where they weren't known, in some cases, ever and not entirely due to development. And even the number of meteorite falls is about one hundred times what it was only a few decades ago.

    They say there are no atheists in foxholes. That can seem a cheap way to force someone to believe in God through fear, rather than rely on principle. But there are other aspects. Because it is completely outside the normal nature of man to be accepting of the end of their being. Even evolution says being sanguine about death is abnormal! Any creature that didn't fear death didn't survive to reproduce. Indeed, a complete disregard for one's own life can be a psychopathic characteristic. Yet utter uncaring about the end of their existence is proclaimed by those who describe themselves as disbelieving of God. They can all be lunatics, but there is anothe explanation.

    A blog on another subject a short while ago diverged into a discussion about religion and why there are no major, Blibical style miracles, anymore. An answer that doesn't seem to have been mentioned is that such huge displays of supernatural influence are unecessary now because, in fact, they aren't required. Most if not all people really do believe in God! Even those who profess not to! But, just as there is a deviate group who will insist that there is no inconsistency or unreasonableness in the "official story" about September 11, there are those who will insist that they have incontrovertible proof there is no God even when they believe in Him. And they see His actions in everything. But they simply will not admit it.

    August 28, 2011 at 9:47 pm |
    • Ben

      julianpenrod, are you really that stupid or did you just forget a sarcasm tag at the end of all that nonsense?

      August 28, 2011 at 9:53 pm |
    • gupsphoo

      If everything needed to be created by God, then who created God. If you say God doesn't need to be created, then why not apply the same logic to everything else?

      I hope you realize you're making a special pleading for what you already believe, which is logically inconsistent.

      If you believe your god doesn't need to be created, then try applying the same logic to everything else. You'd see your god isn't even needed (BUMMER).

      My advise to you – THINK.

      August 28, 2011 at 10:08 pm |
    • asrael

      Wow, Julian! "Huge displays of supernatural influence are unecessary now because, in fact, they aren't required"...? That's right up there with "because I say so". Impressive display of logic...

      August 28, 2011 at 11:24 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      Well said, Julian P....Although I myself do not reconcile all things you mentioned as significant or specific signs from God to mankind, I do know that many things are happening that have not happened in the past, not on such scale, by any means...
      But one thing what is to me most obvious in our days, and it's progressively getting that way, is the CORRUPTION of HUMAN CHARACTER. People are becoming more and more evil, warped in their hearts and minds, and so unlike human beings, yet more resembling beasts, without a conscience.....
      Mankind has indeed advanced in many ways, but has become void of virtues of love , compassion, justice and righteousness, and has becopem unnatural , twisted and abnormal ...
      There are people here and on other blogs who ridicule what you and I say, but it doesn't take a genius to understand that what we're saying is obvious, and it's reality. Yet their own hearts blind them...
      They say, there is no God, no satan, and all is just a silly, fictional fairytale. But when a sober, deep thinking, observing person only looks at what this generation of people loves to indulge themselves in, cheering it as entertainment, and when the words of "songs" that are accompanying the hellish sounds they label as music, calling those who play it "artists"... when one sees all this, it is obvious, undeniable evidence that those things he/she sees are not just expressions of overly "super"-charged creative human minds... They are of spiritual origin, of the forces that are unseen, evil and destructive, yet ruling in high places hidden from the natural world, in the unseen realm. Yet they are expressing themselves through the eartly vessels(bodies) who lend themselves to tghem to use them and posses them.
      All things, seen and unseen point to the fact that there is a God, a Creator, the Divine Designer, anf there is an evil being, whose evidence is so clearly seen also. Every man(meaning human) KNOWS that, in his/her soul. BUT, when one rejects the voice of their conscience, on which that knowledge is written, it becomes dead, and then this person has no longer the awareness of God. Satan sells them a lie, telling them, that God does not exists, and that he also does not exist. That's how he can keep the whole world in darkness.

      God does not do the miracles on large scale in this dispensation of time, but He does them undercover, so to speak. He does them in places and among people who are not wise their own eyes, and who KNOW they need Him. This country is to self-satisfied, and it's people have been steeped in affluence. God will get the attention of this people, but it will be in different ways then He would speak to those in poor countries.

      But time is comming when God will deal openly with mankind. When the world leader, who is apointed to come, comes on the scene who will be the answer to all world's problems, yet he will be satan incarnate, the world will unite and follow him, and he wil b e glorified. Inthe same time we will see things that God will do and allow to happen, which the world has never seen, not since the beginning of time..... Yet, even then, those who hate Jesus Christ, will hate Him even more.
      But God's people will shine, being purified by fire, not loving their lives even unto death. There will be no early exit, as many believers hope and believe because tehy have been taught to believe so. In that too satan has his fingers, because he knows that if he can deceive many to think they won't be here in those times of great Tribulation, then he can take them unprepared by surprise, and many will be deceived, thinking it can't be HIM, because they've been told they won't be here...
      But what we are seeing today, is an Army being prepared, an unholy army, and that's why such rampant evil is engulfing the human race. And the technology we have today is one way to spread it, which it couldn't been done in ages of the past. But God has specialy reserved it all for this age, so that His Word, and His purposes would be accomplished.
      Let the world ridicule our words, Julian, but we KNOW that what we know is truth, and undeniable reality, which in the times to come will unfold it, as it happens!

      August 28, 2011 at 11:42 pm |
  15. Liz1388

    God seemed to have good aim only in the case of Sodom and Gomorrah and Jericho? Other than that, he just seems to take out huge swaths of innocents along with the alleged "guilty" of something or other. I note that two places that seemed to suffer the most damage were the Washington Monument and the National Cathedral and NOT the White House.

    With all the bad stuff happening in the Red states weather-wise, I think it should behoove people like Robertson and Beck, et al, to be careful about who their god is allegedly sending messages to these days. After all, Hurricane Irene sure could have been worse – more like a slap on the wrist as these things go.

    I like to think that if anything, Irene was aiming for Wall Street.

    This is only the beginning of the Hurricane season. There is still time for one to get as far as Crawford, TX, or maybe wipe out a big shipment of Cheney's book. (Not wishing death or injury on any person or innocent animal. Just some nice "brush" clearin'. LOL

    August 28, 2011 at 9:43 pm |
    • J.W

      A hurricane in TX would actually be nice at this point.

      August 28, 2011 at 9:52 pm |
    • leecherius

      No one is innocent...not one.

      August 28, 2011 at 10:21 pm |
    • JOregon

      A hurricane in TX would actually be nice at this point.
      ---
      Then everyone would blame/praise Perry for it.

      August 28, 2011 at 10:32 pm |
    • J.W

      That would be good if Perry got blamed for anything. He sucks.

      August 28, 2011 at 10:43 pm |
  16. Ron

    How is that some amateur meterologist back in 1635 had instruments capable of measuring a 130MPH wind, let alone being able to report a 21 foot surge?

    August 28, 2011 at 9:42 pm |
  17. jenna catao

    The world is just too wonderful and magnificent to waste time on God and religion.

    August 28, 2011 at 9:41 pm |
    • Willie Alexander

      Yes it is what you say, but the One who you want to ignore is who created YOU and all of the beauty in this world .

      August 28, 2011 at 10:06 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Willie Alexander

      You said: "Yes it is what you say, but the One who you want to ignore is who created YOU and all of the beauty in this world ."

      For all the beautiful things in this world, there are also horrors. Disease and parasites that causes pain and death. Birth defects – babies born without brains. Natural disasters that kill men, women and children.
      Much of our earth is covered by salt water, desert and ice. Hardly the sort of place you would expect a god of love to construct.

      Cheers!

      August 28, 2011 at 11:20 pm |
  18. 21k

    i don't see a supreme being causing irene, nor stopping it. because there is no supreme being. only nature, and physics. amen.

    August 28, 2011 at 9:32 pm |
    • gupsphoo

      We now have a pretty good understand how hurricanes happen, just like we discovered how lightning strikes happened a couple entries ago.

      If Christians insists that Hurricane Irene is an act of God, let them. They're just embarrassing themselves.

      August 28, 2011 at 9:43 pm |
    • gupsphoo

      * understanding *

      August 28, 2011 at 9:43 pm |
    • leecherius

      Where did the laws of physics come from? just asking.

      August 28, 2011 at 10:19 pm |
    • LetsThink123

      @leecherius
      they come from the singularity (big bang). You can't expect 'It comes from god' answer cause that doesn't explain anything. u r preventing critical thought whenever u say god did it (god of the gaps).

      August 30, 2011 at 4:32 pm |
  19. npjohnson

    One day every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that He is LORD!! Enough said:)

    August 28, 2011 at 9:23 pm |
    • kzep

      Peace

      August 28, 2011 at 9:26 pm |
    • gupsphoo

      Are you talking about Allah, Lord Veda, Buddha, Yaweh or Jesus?

      Give your justification why one of the above must be true.

      August 28, 2011 at 9:33 pm |
    • really

      @gup...

      If you really have that questioning mind, why don't you read Jesus Among other Gods, you can also find some portions of this on Youtube...

      August 28, 2011 at 9:41 pm |
    • Steve Brinkhoff

      Every knee will bow down to The Flying Spaghetti Monster and His Noodly Appendage !! All hail !!

      August 28, 2011 at 9:42 pm |
    • 21k

      red sauce or brown gravy?

      August 28, 2011 at 9:46 pm |
    • gupsphoo

      @really – sorry, but I did a lot of research into the subject, but I find Christianity to be the MOST ABSURD. For example, Islam might be more violent, but it's not more absurd than Christianity. That's my opinion after looking into both religions.

      For your information, don't tell me to watch some YT video. I've watched too many and found them completely asinine. Why don't you state your justifications here if you're so sure your have a point?

      August 28, 2011 at 9:50 pm |
    • George

      I lump my bible in with all the other fiction, thank you very much.

      August 28, 2011 at 10:07 pm |
    • Willie Alexander

      Jesus said if you've seen me you have seen the Father,I and my Father are One.He also said he was the Alpha and Omega,Beginning and the End.There is no such thing as Budda,Lord Vadah,etc. They are all man made IDOLS that will perish along with their believers at Judgment Day. Jesus is our only refuge in the Days that are coming.

      August 28, 2011 at 10:15 pm |
    • Matt

      Apparently Christians are above providing a counter point. PRAISE THE LAWD!

      August 28, 2011 at 10:23 pm |
    • J.W

      Yahweh and Allah are also God. Buddhists do not actually worship Buddha.

      August 28, 2011 at 10:37 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @npjohnson

      You said: "One day every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that He is LORD!! Enough said:)"

      Saying a thing, doesn't make it so. Evidence?

      Cheers!

      August 28, 2011 at 11:23 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Willie Alexander

      Your god is no more real than all the others. All gods are animated by "belief". Withdraw the belief and they crumple to the ground, like puppets whose strings are cut.

      Or, do you have proof, your god is the one true god?

      Cheers!

      August 28, 2011 at 11:30 pm |
  20. Bo

    ============@Johnbiggscr8:58============= What do you mean by eternal damnation. I mean, are we on the same page? ===================================

    August 28, 2011 at 9:22 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.