March 4th, 2012
09:31 AM ET

Churches aid recovery in storm-hit town

By Eric Marrapodi and Athena Jones, CNN

Henryville, Indiana (CNN)– Church members held hands as they prayed among the pews at Henryville Community Church on Sunday morning.

"One week ago, we prayed, 'God use us in some way,' " pastor Rich Cheek said as he led the congregation in prayer.

"This morning, so many of you have lost everything," Cheek said, his voice cracking with emotion. "We asked God to use us, and he did."

Outside, a forklift off-loaded pallets of dry goods and bottles of water from a tractor-trailer. The church recreation center and basement have become a clearinghouse for supplies brought in from nearby Louisville, Kentucky, and trucked in by tractor-trailers from Convoys of Hope, a relief agency from Springfield, Missouri.

Henryville Community Church had almost no damage from Friday's violent storms. It sits just north of the path of the deadly storm.

Pallets of water await distribution at Henryville Community Church.

The school next door, which housed preschool through 12th grade, is in ruins. Across the road, the neighborhood is a tangled mess of 2x4s, metal siding and the remains of family homes.

Henryville Community Presbyterian Church, a half mile up the road, lost its roof and stained-glass windows, and pews were upended across the sanctuary.

CNN's Belief Blog – all the faith angles to the day's top stories

St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church, just east of the school, has also become a staging ground for rescue workers and media briefings.

“Everything I do in my life beyond my family and my church is in that building, and now it’s all gone,” said Vicki Hornine, a St. Francis parishioner and preschool teacher. “That part of me is very broken inside, but I’m not going to let anyone see that. I’m going to fix that broken part, and we’re going to be OK and that starts first right here with my faith. It will pull me together so I have strength to fix that."

Parishioners pray at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church.

Her church suffered minimal damage.

“We can see only our own anguish and grief– or we can see the opportunity to join hands and hearts with others to uplift and to inspire,” Rev. Steven Schaftlein at St. Francis Catholic Church told his congregants on Sunday morning. “We can choose despair, or we can choose hope. We can choose to do nothing, or we can choose to do everything and live everything and be renewed in everything.”

Before the service at Henryville Community Church began, youth pastor Shawn Kelly directed relief efforts while his 10-year-old tended a small campfire of debris.

"The hand of God was on us. We didn't get any damage," he said.

"We need volunteers to sort," Kelly said, standing in the fluorescent lights of the church recreation center. Bags of clothes were stacked up across the basketball foul line, and a suit rested on a hanger from the rim of one of the basketball hoops.

"We've had tons of donations, tons of volunteers. We just need people to know we're here," Kelly said.

On Saturday, 200 volunteers showed up at Kelly’s church, more than doubling the membership of 80.

"It's starting to get to me," said Robin Hill, a board member at the Henryville Community Church, choking back tears.

The iconic image of this twister - a mangled school bus embedded in the side of a restaurant - has a personal connection for her. Her parents, McKee and "Teenny" Munk, opened the small cafe decades ago. "The ironic thing is, my dad drove a school bus for Henryville for 55 years," Hill said.

Her mother saw her old restaurant on the national news from Florida.

"It's a material thing, as long as no one was hurt," Hill said her mother told her by phone Saturday.

McKee Munk, who passed away two years ago, also held the scoring record for the Henryville Hornets basketball team for years. From the parking lot at Henryville Community Church, you can see into the school gym. The storm sheared off one of the gym's walls.

School officials made the decision to let students out early Friday when the storm warnings came in. Joe Sullivan from the National Weather Service office in Louisville said on Saturday that decision prevented what could have been "scores of fatalities" here.

Henryville Community Presbyterian Church lost its roof in a Friday tornado.

Along the streets near the church, the destruction stretches for blocks and blocks.

At Henryville Community and St. Francis Xavier, the members sang “Amazing Grace,” many wiping tears.

"We have so much to be grateful for," Cheek said during his sermon. “Why did this happen? I don't care. It did, and we have an opportunity to make a difference.”

CNN’s Dana Garrett and Chris Welch contributed to this report

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Catholic Church • Christianity • Church • Houses of worship • Presbyterian

soundoff (313 Responses)
  1. breakingbad

    It never ceases to amaze me how many people hate God (or the idea of Him)...what do you have to lose? Read the gospels at least. There is a reason people are talking about Him all the time- find it.

    March 4, 2012 at 9:30 pm |
    • breakingbad

      ....start with John!

      March 4, 2012 at 9:31 pm |
    • Chris

      Your delusional!

      March 4, 2012 at 9:34 pm |
    • Matt

      how about the gospel of Thomas or Simon? read them lately...In Simon there is a walking talking giant cross! what i suggest is you learn the history of your bible and see how reliable and historically accurate it is...

      March 4, 2012 at 9:40 pm |
    • breakingbad

      You're welcome to be just as delusional as I am too:)

      March 4, 2012 at 9:44 pm |
    • breakingbad

      Actually, neither "gospel" is canonical...

      March 4, 2012 at 9:46 pm |
  2. Reality_Is_Here_Now

    God does use us, if it is real and created us that is. Think about it, even if the Bible is real, it means some higher intelligent being created us and is telling us to worship it or be punished for eternity. It also allows us to feel pain every single day of our lives, and for what? For its pleasure, solely for its pleasure. Think about that.

    March 4, 2012 at 9:29 pm |
    • In Reason I Trust


      Folks are so scared of dying they choose to worship some sicko in the sky that's no better than the greek gods, allowing humans to suffer to prove a point.

      March 4, 2012 at 10:23 pm |
    • Reality_Is_Here_Now

      Yes. People never take a step back and think about it because they know that if they did they may lose their faith, and that is terrifying.

      March 4, 2012 at 10:27 pm |
    • humanbean

      Yeah, kinda reminds me of Stockholm's Syndrome.

      March 4, 2012 at 11:10 pm |
    • Chad

      @Reality_Is_Here_Now God does use us, if it is real and created us that is. Think about it, even if the Bible is real, it means some higher intelligent being created us and is telling us to worship it or be punished for eternity. It also allows us to feel pain every single day of our lives, and for what? For its pleasure, solely for its pleasure."

      => your understanding of the situation we are in is badly flawed, and therein lies the problem.
      1. We were born into a fallen world
      2. Each of us will have to answer for the evil we have wrought upon each other
      3. God created the Israelite nation for two reasons:
      –a. To deliver the Law to, as a mechanism to show that we humans are all sinners. Every one.
      –b. To deliver the Messiah through, as a mechanism to pay the price for that which you and I could never.

      We created the situation that lead to estrangement from God
      God has provided a mechanism to be reunited with Him.

      Pain and suffering abound in a fallen world, God does not delight in it.
      "Do I take any pleasure in the death of the wicked? declares the Sovereign LORD. Rather, am I not pleased when they turn from their ways and live?" – Ezekiel
      "For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign LORD. Repent and live!" Ezekiel

      " 16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son." John 3

      March 4, 2012 at 11:14 pm |
  3. T

    Gee I wonder why your Christian god would send storms to kill his followers and not send this storm to Afganistan or to Cuba or to North Korea. Do you think God is not sure where all these countries are?

    God said do not build temples in my honor or I will strike them down to rubble, so perhaps that is why the churches were destroyed, but not sure why he would allow babies to die and killed his heartland of America supports....Unless he doesn't exist and all this is a delusion embraced by the ignorant

    March 4, 2012 at 9:20 pm |
    • krt

      You have a wrong concept of God, and then you mock and are insensitive to those who are already suffering and mourning. The true color of an atheist? Our God gives us the teachings, strenght, insight, and inspiration to be loving and caring in spite of suffering, difficulties, and tragedies in life.

      March 4, 2012 at 9:36 pm |
    • humanbean

      krt, did god create everything? If he did, then he created the "suffering" that you speak of. How sadistic.

      March 4, 2012 at 11:13 pm |
    • Chad

      @humanbean "krt, did god create everything? If he did, then he created the "suffering" that you speak of. How sadistic."

      => The bible says that human choice created this situation of being estranged from God.

      March 4, 2012 at 11:18 pm |
  4. Dear nonbelievers

    To all the commenters who hate God and believers so much, why did you click on this article and waste your time posting a comment? Just leave it alone and move on to something else.

    March 4, 2012 at 8:46 pm |
    • GodsPeople

      It's because they're filled with hate and anger, and are lashing out against God. They do so by attacking His followers, by persecuting us with hate speech. They won't stop, simply because Satan wants them to continue, and they follow his orders without question, without ever even realizing it.

      March 4, 2012 at 8:48 pm |
    • In Reason I Trust

      No its because the majority of our fellow citizens are walking around painfully ignorant of how reality works. This affects our politics and society.

      March 4, 2012 at 8:51 pm |
    • GodsPeople

      Actually, it's because YOU are ignorantly doing Satan's bidding. You don't even realize it. You will though, when you pass and stand before Christ, realizing your life was, as we put it in the gamer world, an epic fail.

      March 4, 2012 at 8:53 pm |
    • In Reason I Trust

      LOL, are you afraid of Muslim hell? Or Mormon hell? No, because you know they are made up. Guess what, so is Christian hell. Sorry to break it to you. That doesn't give you an excuse to do evil, instead that gives you a reason to help your fellow man even more.

      March 4, 2012 at 8:57 pm |
    • GodsPeople

      Actually, you're wrong. Hell is Hell. It doesn't matter who describes it, it's still the same place. It's eternal torment and suffering, eternal separation from the light, glory, and love of God. Sorry, but you can't make a Devil's child out of me like you are.

      March 4, 2012 at 9:00 pm |



      So after talking with our friends on Magoffin County (the town we served in this past winter, where living conditions were already very rough), we are considering taking our relief there this weekend. They,too,were hit with tornadoes. They are not getting the publicity that Henryville is which makes me think there will be much less relief sent that way. As of 10 am Red Cross wasn't there either. Will keep you posted as information becomes available.

      Here's the list of things we would like to gather this week:
      Granola bars
      Gallon water
      Water bottles
      Dry goods/food
      Baby items
      Heavy duty garbage bags
      Empty,flat boxes for care packages

      We are gonna be serving food so we are gonna need grills,generators,meat,hot dogs,buns,chips,drinks,lunch meat,bread,etc.

      We will be accepting donations all week and plan to have the trailers loaded by Friday night.

      Thanks friends for all your support.


      March 4, 2012 at 9:04 pm |
    • mel56

      Christians don't realize that they prosecute Jesus when they claim he died for their sins and so that they might be saved. Christian Churches are control by members of the "National Christian Order" of FreeMasons who worship Lucifer as God. Jesus was a servant of God of who was put to death because he spoke agaist the Masons who control religion. See what Jesus said about paying ties to support these Churches[ST MATT 23:23 KJV] Christians are decived by devil worshippers and don't even know Jesus or God!!! {Isaiah 56:1 KJV}

      March 4, 2012 at 9:32 pm |
    • Karloff

      I can't hate something that doesn't exist.

      March 4, 2012 at 9:37 pm |
    • Matt

      your question is nonsensical. We can't hate something that hasn't even demonstrated that it exists I don't hate fairies, unicorns or goblins either. What we may find amusing is people believing in such nonsense and attributing horrific events like this too it.

      March 4, 2012 at 9:38 pm |
    • Girl_Near_Henryville

      I live near Henryville (used to live in the area that was hit). I have friends that lost everything. I see places that I used to go to all the time, gone. I almost lost my daughters due to this tornado. I came here to this story because it is Faith and God that will get us through this.
      Faith in God is not a get out of hell free ticket, we will ALL be held accountable for everything we do. If you have say you believe in God you need to also act like it, you can't just go around doing whatever you want. Also, faith in God does not prevent bad stuff from happening, look at all that happened to the disciples, do you think they had the easy life? No, why should we.
      Really, I don't care what anyone here thinks of me for saying this, all I care about is what God thinks of me and helping out my neighbors the best I can.
      One more thing, if you want to help us in Indiana (or KY or elsewhere that was affected), please contact the Red Cross. Thank you

      March 4, 2012 at 9:49 pm |
    • Kay

      Sorry, KENNETH...but the *REAL* way to help the victims is to send $$$. Like to the Red Cross...which *is* in the various Kentucky communities. (And what on earth to you mean by "Magoffin County (the town we served in this past winter"??? Magoffin County is NOT a town!!)

      I hate it when people like you...with the best of intentions...ask for "stuff", rather than what is *really* needed...which is a way to meet needs beyond the first day or two determined by what the needs actually are. I mean...how many batteries and blankets do you *really* think they need?? Think about it.

      Pretty much every single community hit by a tornado quickly BEGS people to NOT send more "stuff"!! Because they don't need it and can't handle it. Again...think about it.

      March 4, 2012 at 11:52 pm |
  5. GodsPeople

    For the people who think God would do this, perhaps He did, perhaps He didn't. Perhaps the Devil did, and he is attempting to embitter the faithful to make them atheists to strengthen his army of evil for when the end times come. Don't ever think otherwise, the atheists will stand with Satan, whom they stand with even now, when Final Judgement comes.

    March 4, 2012 at 8:45 pm |
    • In Reason I Trust

      Oh no SATAN!

      I hope he doesn't team up with Lex Luthor, The Joker and Darth Vader, because then the Holy Trinity will be outnumbered!

      My friend, you live in fear of a story book character out of a Disney movie. You know, the part about the talking snake in the magic garden with the magic apple. Please grow up.

      March 4, 2012 at 8:50 pm |
    • GodsPeople

      @Reason: You're evil, and you're going to burn in hell for doing your Master's bidding. I'll enjoy lounging in paradise while you roast, however.

      March 4, 2012 at 8:52 pm |
    • In Reason I Trust

      Which master am I serving?

      The fallen Angel or the Fallen Jedi? Sorry but I get fictional characters mixed up sometimes.

      March 4, 2012 at 8:58 pm |
    • GodsPeople

      You will see when your soul burns.

      March 4, 2012 at 9:01 pm |
    • Kay

      Did it not ever cross your mind that, if people don't believe in God, they don't believe in Satan either? Kinda hard to "stand with" something you don't believe in.

      The fact is that, when we die, we die. Our bodies recycle. And that's really cool. Of course, we're not gonna know it when it happens...which means that you'll never know you were wrong. But that's OK, too.

      March 4, 2012 at 11:59 pm |
  6. In Reason I Trust

    How does a church reason this away? Did God kill (or allow to be killed) all those people and destroy those homes just because He wanted His church to get extra donations??? This is God right, all powerful & all loving, couldn't He spare a little magic and get the donations another way?

    Wake up people, there is no god. All we have is each other.

    March 4, 2012 at 8:43 pm |
    • RealityChecker

      No one wants you.

      March 4, 2012 at 8:55 pm |
    • In Reason I Trust

      Then why is my phone always ringing?

      March 4, 2012 at 9:00 pm |
  7. Enlightened

    Okay, okay... ya got me. I'm the wicked dude that caused the tornados, so the large "perfect" one who knows if you've been bad or good took it out on the bible belt. My bad. I'd say I'm sorry, but I'm not. Just one thing... when I die and serve my sentence for , I pray (not really) that I don't end up in the same place as Jerry Falwell. Now THAT would be hell.

    March 4, 2012 at 8:37 pm |
  8. Justin Hamaker

    I'm always amazed at people's need to find reason for horrible things – especially acts of nature. If there really is a god out there, has anyone ever considered how cruel said god must be to inflict so much pain and suffering on people. And forget the material loss, what about the loss of life? What kind of god could kill most of a family with a tornado while allowing a toddler to suffer for a couple days from injury before taking her life as well.

    Besides the fact I know natural disasters are acts of nature – sometimes influenced by human activity, I just can't see how a "loving" god could possible inflict such pain and destruction.

    March 4, 2012 at 8:25 pm |
    • In Reason I Trust


      If the bible god was real he would be some serious sicko. Imagine an all-powerful Being that sits back as children starve to death by the thousands. Religious people make up all kinds of excuses for this HUGE hole in their belief, but there's just no way an all loving god would watch that and do nothing.

      March 4, 2012 at 8:38 pm |
    • Christopher Rowland

      Justin, just about every serious Christian Theologian has considered that question. It's known as the question of evil: why does a good God allow terrible things to happen. It is addressed by the book of Job, by jesus on the cross when he said "My God, why have you abandoned me?", it was addressed by St Augustine and St Thomas Aquinas, and addressed very well by C.S. Lewis, as you know the author of Narnia, etc. I can't say that it is ever completely answered, although those are good attempts and worth looking into. For me, as someone who has experienced some very good and also some very sad things, I accept it as necessarily part of a free universe. Perhaps in the end of all time we will look at these evils as my little 1.5 year old will look back at the "evils" she witnessed today, such as when she fell down and got a little bruise, or got torn away from her playmates for nap time... when seen within the vast tapestry of time and the universe, they may look different. I don't mean to belittle anyone's pain though. At least we have each other to help each other out.
      If you are serious about looking into this question, I urge you to look into those sources, esp C.S. Lewis. I suspect that some commentators just want to take the same old tired potshots at religious people, and couldn't care less about considering the well thought out responses that have been made to these questions.

      March 4, 2012 at 9:01 pm |
    • In Reason I Trust

      Hi Chris, that's total nonsense that makes zero sense. All powerful, all loving beings don't let bad things happen to their "children" But then again, fictional characters don't really have powers so....

      March 4, 2012 at 9:13 pm |
    • Justin Hamaker

      @Christopher Rowland: I am atheist. I come to my lack of belief through an understanding of the natural world. I see how there is a natural explanation for virtually everything, and I don't see how any concept of god could fit into that understanding. My rejection of religion is a byproduct of having a world view based in science.

      While I appreciate that the Bible and various philosophers have attempted to answer these questions, I see it as nothing more than man's search for reason or meaning. I don't study this question because it is irrelevant to me. I don't look for meaning in the destruction of natural disasters because I know they are random events resulting from natural forces. I don't feel the need to ask why such a think happens since I understand the natural forces. If there are any questions I ask about natural disasters, it's how human activity affected the severity of the disaster – whether it's by affecting climate change, building in flood plains, not adhering to earthquake standards, etc.

      March 4, 2012 at 10:24 pm |
  9. 2/8

    God didn't make the destruction, we've screwed up our environment, so it's our fault really. God probably just keeps the door open for us when we leave this world due to our own choices, mistakes, and accidents. Don't turn tragedies into another form of The Crusades, just keep quiet, count yourself lucky that you're still alive and go about your daily lives. Believe what you want, say what you want, just remember that you're no smarter than anyone else, even if they think they know it all. And for those toughguys who comment on me thinking I know it all.....I'm actually not very bright at all. You should see some of the silly crap I've done.

    March 4, 2012 at 8:18 pm |
    • Mark

      Indeed. Atheists enjoy using tragedy for their own ends, get a bit tired of hearing if there was a God, how could he let this happen? This is a fallen world, no one is safe from death, it can occur at any moment which is why we need to live this life one day at a time and be thankful for what we have. I'm in absolutely no moral position to be pointing fingers at anyone but just give it some thought people, it's up to you where you will spend eternity. If you believe eternity ends when you take your last breath, you're selling yourself short.

      March 4, 2012 at 8:38 pm |
    • momoya

      Ha! Why must all believers of all gods excuse the horrible things that happen to the faithful? Because they must. But at least god takes away soccer mom's afternoon headaches and lets 'em get good parking spots at the mall. That's just how god rolls.

      March 4, 2012 at 8:49 pm |
  10. Brenda

    Here is my question for the athiests. Even if you don't think prayer/religion helps anyone, if it makes someone feel better why would you care?? Acupuncture makes people feel better, so does a massage. Yoga, meditation, etc..etc.. all makes people feel better. Why are you so upset that it is religion? I don't know any religious person who bothers me (Other than Jehovah's witness).

    March 4, 2012 at 8:17 pm |
    • Sam

      Wonderful comment. I am not religious but if anyone else wants to be religious and believe its fine by me as long as they don't push their beliefs on anyone else.
      People turn to religion during bad times because its like a crutch and helps people deal with events and even helps then rationalize events so if it helps them then its great.
      We have the freedom to be religious or not to be and that should be respected.

      March 4, 2012 at 8:34 pm |
    • In Reason I Trust

      Reality is always better than fantasy. Who, knowing the truth, no matter how horrible, would ever choose ignorance again? If you had terminal cancer, would you wan to live in ignorance for 6 months and suddenly drop dead, or would you want to live those months to the fullest because of your knowledge of the truth.

      March 4, 2012 at 8:34 pm |
    • humanbean

      Yes, you are correct. It makes them feel better about doing nothing. Why do you mourn if these people are off to a better place and you'll supposedly see them again soon? Why do humans hang onto this life with all of their might, just like every other living being on this planet.?

      March 4, 2012 at 11:28 pm |
  11. Brenda

    You won't hear the people of Indiana complaining about having to pay a fine and getting a permit to help their neighbors like they have to do in New Orleans. its no wonder New Orleans is the murder/crime capital of the South. New Orleans is a cesspool of moronic public employees.

    March 4, 2012 at 8:13 pm |
    • Frank Cardenas

      Why would you make such mean-spirited comments about New Orleans and public employees on a "faith-based" article comment board? Who do your words benefit or lift up? Jesus said to "love thy neighbor as thyself" but some people will never get it.

      March 4, 2012 at 8:41 pm |
    • humanbean

      Smells like Christian hypocritical spirit here.

      March 4, 2012 at 11:29 pm |
  12. Brenda

    THANK the LORD this church wasn't in New Orleans, or they would have been fined by the Sheriff for giving out water without a permit (interpret as fee for the city). THIS IS WHY PEOPLE LOVE THE MIDWEST AND THINK OF NEW ORLEANS AS A SEWER.

    March 4, 2012 at 8:11 pm |
    • EatYouAlive

      Brenda's crap dont stink.

      March 4, 2012 at 8:12 pm |
    • Brenda

      Thanks, You won't find any chunks of illiterate, lazy, no-common-sense government employee of New Orleans in my stool.

      March 4, 2012 at 8:14 pm |
  13. EatYouAlive

    Natural weather systems. No godliness at work here, or for that matter, ever.

    March 4, 2012 at 8:11 pm |
    • In Reason I Trust

      Preach it Brother! lol

      March 4, 2012 at 8:39 pm |
  14. Brenda

    THANK the LORD this church wasn't in New Orleans, or they would have been fined by the Sheriff for giving out water without a permit (interpret as fee for the city). THIS IS WHY PEOPLE LOVE THE MIDWEST AND THINK OF NEW ORLEANS AS A SEWER OF CORRUPTION AND EVIL PEOPLE.

    March 4, 2012 at 8:10 pm |
  15. HotAirAce

    I encourage all to contribute to the relief effort via The Richard Dawkins Foundation – richarddawkins.net. *ALL* donations got to the relief organizations, with no gods attached.

    March 4, 2012 at 8:07 pm |
    • Chad

      Bitter, party of one your table is ready.

      March 4, 2012 at 9:08 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Only a complete idiot would read bitterness into my post.

      March 4, 2012 at 11:42 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Well, there you have it. Look who did just that. Quelle surprise!

      March 5, 2012 at 8:46 am |
  16. abinadi

    I understand where you are coming from, Chad, and I appreciate your comment, but these are not the only signs of the times that are happening.

    March 4, 2012 at 4:58 pm |
    • EvolvedDNA

      adinadi.. there have been far larger losses of life through our history, from natural disasters. At one time, as some still believe, that it was because the gods are angry. I notice that so far both you and Chad have not mentioned sacrifices..it used to work do you think that is what god is asking for again ? I am sure that such a situation we could most likely get Stonehenge up and running again in no time...and we know that some of the sites in Mexico still may work if you toss a virgin or two on there? What do you think.. worth a shot? Some folks think that plate tectonics play a part, and some even think that perhaps it is random weather patterns that cause these disasters...now there are some crazy folks..

      March 4, 2012 at 6:48 pm |
    • Chad

      @abinadi "I understand where you are coming from, Chad, and I appreciate your comment, but these are not the only signs of the times that are happening."

      =>I agree... 1947 reestablishment of Israel, a lot of events perhaps coming together now.. at the same time, it could be another thousand years, no one knows except the Father.

      God Bless

      March 4, 2012 at 8:01 pm |
    • Keith

      EvolvedDNA, You do sacrifice children-by the millions-it's called abortion!

      March 6, 2012 at 5:39 pm |
  17. Christians at work; atheist billboard reads:

    Atheist billboard sign reads

    Christians-That is a sign of love your neighbor as yourself at work,
    Ours is a billoboard sign, love your neighbor as yourself; keep staring at this billboard that is how far we can go 😉

    We love you Christians...
    XOXO- atheists

    March 4, 2012 at 1:26 pm |
    • Liel

      Good job Christians! Now abides faith, hope and charity and the greatest of these is Charity!

      March 4, 2012 at 8:54 pm |
  18. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things

    March 4, 2012 at 1:12 pm |
    • abinadi

      I agree, it could be 1000 years. A lot has to happen yet, but things could happen quickly. It was pretty amazing when the Berlin Wall came down almost overnight – truly a miracle. It is amazing how quickly things have moved in the middle east. I think it could be as little as 40, 50 years.

      March 4, 2012 at 8:35 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      "A lot has to happen yet." What a freak you are. You don't have a clue what will happen or what "has to happen", you little dink.

      March 4, 2012 at 8:50 pm |
    • B1138

      Yes, blind faith is so good for kids. Why have critical thinking when the bible has all the answers...

      March 4, 2012 at 9:15 pm |
    • B1138

      Also, prayer does nothing more than make you think you are helping. Whatever is going to happen will happen, regaurdless of if you pray or not. If the thing you pray for happens, you say "see prayer worked" if it doesn't you say "it God's will".

      March 4, 2012 at 9:21 pm |
    • Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

      Prayer changes things

      March 4, 2012 at 9:39 pm |
  19. momoya

    I guess god has to hit everybody equally as if he didn't exist to protect his own–can't shortcut faith and all.

    March 4, 2012 at 11:46 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      One would think an omnipotent being could manage to direct his punishment at those who have been bad little boys and girls. Abinadi, why doesn't your god exercise his powers and punish the 'right people'?

      March 4, 2012 at 11:57 am |
    • Chad

      " 1 Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. 2 Jesus answered, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? 3 I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish. 4 Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them—do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? 5 I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.”" – Luke 13

      " “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor[i] and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. " Matthew 5

      Unless God has specifically said that a particular catastrophe is a sign of judgement, you are badly mistaken to draw that conclusion.

      March 4, 2012 at 1:12 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      You should address your response to the appropriate party, Chard.

      March 4, 2012 at 1:16 pm |
    • momoya

      @ Chad

      That verse in Matthew is about god doing GOOD things to both the unrighteous and righteous. Read it again.

      The Luke passage is about levels of guilt, no matter the level of guilt or sin, all need to repent; it isn't about bad things happening equally to the unrighteous and the sanctified, pure people. Read it again.

      March 4, 2012 at 1:19 pm |
    • Chad

      @momoya "That verse in Matthew is about god doing GOOD things to both the unrighteous and righteous. Read it again."
      @Chad "My point exactly, God does not cause good things to happen to only good people."

      @momoya "The Luke passage is about levels of guilt, no matter the level of guilt or sin, all need to repent; it isn't about bad things happening equally to the unrighteous and the sanctified, pure people. Read it again."
      @Chad "partially true, we all need to repent, there are no "levels", the bar is perfection, anything short of that is guilty.
      You are badly mistaken about the second part however, the passage is precisely a warning that bad things happening isnt necessarily a sign of judgement, just as good things arent necessarily a sign of approval from God.

      If God tell us that a bad thing happening is a sign of judgement, then obviously it is. Likewise, if God tells us that good things happening are a reward, then they are.

      Otherwise we are told not to attempt to ascribe an underlying divine motive. That is what those two passages are for.

      And that is why I put them here, both you and TT are incorrectly imputing some divine motive behind the disaster.

      March 4, 2012 at 3:04 pm |
    • momoya


      No, you're wrong; TT and I are NOT saying that this is any sort of judgement from god. That you can interpret the scriptures to match your opinion isn't very impressive since all christians do it.

      March 4, 2012 at 4:05 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Chard the Houseplant yips again. You are an idiot, Chard.

      March 4, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
    • Chad

      @momoya "No, you're wrong; TT and I are NOT saying that this is any sort of judgement from god."

      @momoya "I guess god has to hit everybody equally as if he didn't exist to protect his own–can't shortcut faith and all."
      @Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son "One would think an omnipotent being could manage to direct his punishment at those who have been bad little boys and girls"

      @Chad "as I said, you and TT are incorrectly imputing some divine motive behind the disaster."

      March 4, 2012 at 6:33 pm |
    • momoya

      Ah, I see, you weren't able to interpret the satire. We were saying that god probably doesn't exist because those things would be stupid for a god to have to incorporate. You know why every god belief has to explain why "good" and "evil" things happen to "true believers" as well as those who don't believe? Because no god or faith is able to prevent bad things happening to "true believers' or good things happening to nonbelievers.

      Sorry, I didn't realize that you thought Tomtom and I were serious! ***snicker***

      March 4, 2012 at 8:03 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      The Chard isn't long on brains, being a vegetable.

      March 4, 2012 at 8:48 pm |
    • Believer in Jesus as my Savior

      Well, if you look at it from a logical perspective it makes quite a bit of sense. If only good things happen to believers, and they are free from pain and suffering, it would negate the importance and meaing of faith. One would have to be an idiot not to believe in God if belief means nothing bad will ever happen to them. This would also be undeniable proof of God which would once again negate the purpose of faith. Faith, through the hard times and the bad, (and believe me, I have lived a suffering-free life so it's easy to say this as I have not been in the position these victims have been in) is what matters. Read Job to find out the amount of faith he had in God even though he suffered greatly.

      March 4, 2012 at 10:32 pm |
  20. abinadi

    I am so sorry for the good people who suffered these calamities. Good people often suffer for the iniquity of others. When I saw the news I could only think of a scripture in D&C 1:

    "12 Prepare ye, prepare ye for that which is to come, for the Lord is nigh;

    13 And the anger of the Lord is kindled, and his sword is bathed in heaven, and it shall fall upon the inhabitants of the earth.

    14 And the arm of the Lord shall be revealed; and the day cometh that they who will not hear the voice of the Lord, neither the voice of his servants, neither give heed to the words of the prophets and apostles, shall be cut off from among the people;

    15 For they have strayed from mine ordinances, and have broken mine everlasting covenant;

    16 They seek not the Lord to establish his righteousness, but every man walketh in his own way, and after the image of his own god, whose image is in the likeness of the world, and whose substance is that of an idol, which waxeth old and shall perish in Babylon, even Babylon the great, which shall fall."

    I think we would all do well to remember that God is in charge and these calamities have been prophesied and the way to avoid them is to humble ourselves before him. Of course the wicked will revile and deny him right up to the end and we will all suffer for it.

    March 4, 2012 at 10:12 am |
    • AGuest9

      That's disgusting to think that some "invisible hand" has a part in the chaotic nature of complex weather systems, and that they are somehow guided toward wrong-doers. What would an infant swept from his/her mother's arms do to your pouty, evil, tantrum-prone god?

      March 4, 2012 at 11:18 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      abinadi, I wonder how it is that Washington, DC, which I suspect you view as a den of iniquity since most of its residents are Democrats, has rarely suffered any natural disasters. In fact, the only natural event in recent memory is the earthquake that struck in late August. Guess what structure sustained among the worst damage? The National Cathedral.

      'Splain that to me.

      March 4, 2012 at 11:55 am |
    • abinadi

      Calamities come because of iniquity and the wicked are responsible for them. The righteous too suffer, but the righteous who die will be received unto the Lord and will be blessed forever as will the baby who was swept away. None of this is the Lord's fault or anyone else's except the wicked. They are responsible and will be held accountable. These are the calamities that have been prophesied by Isaiah, Micah, Christ and many others and will get worse and worse until our nation is destroyed – unless we repent!

      March 4, 2012 at 3:30 pm |
    • Brad

      I guess I don't see calamities as being any more or less frequent here than elsewhere, or in the here-and-now as opposed to the past. I doubt that God finds it necessary to "punish" people through natural disasters in hope that they will turn from their sins. Natural disasters are a consequence of living in the natural world.

      March 4, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
    • abinadi

      11 And I will punish the world for their evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; and I will cause the arrogancy of the proud to cease, and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible." (Isaiah 13). The Lord is humbling and will humble all the proud and haughty of the earth both individuals and nations. I heard an apostle say once that these are the calamities spoken of in the scriptures, and I am sorry, but I cannot remember who it was, but I personally believe that they are. You can decide for yourselves.

      March 4, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
    • Chad

      while I completely agree that we all in the US are guilty of turning away from God, I dont think that we can ascribe a catastrophe like this to God unless He tells us that is the case.

      March 4, 2012 at 4:10 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      abinadi, why don't you and the Chard get a room? You're suited to one another.

      March 4, 2012 at 4:50 pm |
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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.