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June 29th, 2012
03:47 PM ET

In responses to Colorado Springs fire, a distinctly evangelical tone

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

(CNN) - When it’s not in the news for historic wildfires that have devoured hundreds of homes on its outskirts, Colorado Springs, Colorado, is nationally known as the home of the Air Force Academy and as the unofficial capital of evangelical Christianity.

The Springs, as it's called locally, plays host to lots of global evangelical organizations, including Focus on the Family, Compassion International and the International Bible Society. The concentration has earned the city the nickname “Vatican West” among some evangelicals.

The city is also home to Ted Haggard, who once headed the National Association of Evangelicals and who presided over the biggest church in the state, until he was felled by a gay sex and drugs scandal in 2006. Two years ago, Haggard started a new church in town.

That city’s evangelical flavor has made for some distinctly religious responses to the flames, which by Friday had destroyed 346 homes and had forced more than 36,000 people to evacuate. The fire has charred 16,700 acres, with 20,000 homes and scores of businesses still at risk.

In the face of the flames, religion writer Patton Dodd, who lives in Colorado Springs, said he has witnessed “a reflexive ‘my house and things don't matter in the long run anyway’ spirituality,” among some evangelical neighbors and friends.

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He has also seen doctored pictures of firefighters with Jesus on Facebook and “lots of ‘Jesus bring rain’ talk.”

When the temperature dropped in the area Thursday and Friday, helping firefighters contain 15% of the fire after 100-plus degree temperatures earlier this week, many evangelicals in the area chalked the better weather up to answered prayers.

“I saw so many Christians saying, ‘Please pray for rain, we need a miracle, and only God can provide it,' ” said Esther Fleece, director of millennial relations for Focus on the Family. “Even people who are not Christians were saying, ‘This is out of our control and I’m going to try to pray. Why not?’ ”

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Earlier in the week, Fleece was packing up her two-bedroom condo in preparation of evacuation and faced the difficult choice of what to leave and what to take.

“I was packing and I realized that none of this matters,” Fleece said. “I just had to pause and say, ‘All of this could be replaced.’ What matters most is I have my family and my community and my faith, and we’re going to go through trials. They’re momentary.

“My heart goes out to those who don’t have faith and don’t have a larger narrative of why tragedies happen,” she continued. “The grief is so huge that it’s difficult to get through this without faith.”

Fleece did not wind up evacuating because her home was not deemed to be at risk. Now she has five other evacuees staying with her.

Around Colorado Springs, evangelical churches and ministries are partnering with local government on relief efforts and are taking advantage of their own Christian networks to help each other.

The city’s enormous New Life Church was expecting four semitrailers of food, water and other supplies to arrive Friday and Saturday, thanks to a Christian group Gleaning for World, led by Jonathan Falwell, son of the late Jerry Falwell.

“We have a huge opportunity to bless our city and region,” New Life pastor Brady Boyd wrote on New Life’s website. “We need help on Friday unloading these semi-trailers.”

Focus on the Family is housing dozens of staffers from Navigators, a global Christian ministry that evacuated its headquarters this week because of the fires.

According to a post on Navigators' site, the group’s U.S. president was sharing Psalm 91 with other workers in the temporary Focus space:

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”

Dodd, the Christian writer, said he’s seen some ugly political posturing around the fires, with some conservatives alleging President Barack Obama is to blame for an insufficient response because he allegedly cut money for the federal fleet of air tankers.

The allegation “Isn't so much evangelical as Republican, but you know how those lines can be blurred,” he said.

Obama visited Colorado Springs on Friday to take stock of the fires and the response.

Some recent messages on Twitter, meanwhile, are using the fires to take aim at Focus on the Family, known for its conservative stances on issues such as gay marriage.

“If this Colorado fire takes out the Focus on the Family campus, then God really exists,” read one such message, which was highlighted by conservative pundit Michelle Malkin, who lives in Colorado Springs.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Christianity

soundoff (415 Responses)
  1. TheChristianReichIsNotHealthyForChildrenAndOtherLivingThings

    OMG. ROFLMAO!!!!!! I can't believe that there's a Christian Reich group who ACTUALLY believes Nike is responsible for this--AHAHAHAHAHAHAAHAH!!! Just one more example of the I.Q. levels of religitards...

    July 2, 2012 at 3:30 pm |
  2. Which God??

    A@ no one gives... I'd be d.amn careful, sport, on the calling of a person a non-patriot. You are a crank and a twerp. I'm a vet, a patriot. I bet you have done nothing but spout your BS and call it patriotism. You are what I fought for, and it makes me sick to think that I defend your right to be a hater. You are a twisted hater and small minded person. What wars have you fought in, clown? Worn the uniform? Been anywhere outside your hometown? You are a miserable excuse of a man.

    July 2, 2012 at 2:32 pm |
  3. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    July 2, 2012 at 7:01 am |
    • Jesus

      Prayer doesn’t not; you are such a LIAR. You have NO proof it changes anything! A great example of prayer proven not to work is the Christians in jail because prayer didn't work and their children died. For example: Susan Grady, who relied on prayer to heal her son. Nine-year-old Aaron Grady died and Susan Grady was arrested.

      An article in the Journal of Pediatrics examined the deaths of 172 children from families who relied upon faith healing from 1975 to 1995. They concluded that four out of five ill children, who died under the care of faith healers or being left to prayer only, would most likely have survived if they had received medical care.

      The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs!!

      July 2, 2012 at 10:43 am |
    • niknak

      Find salvation not in prayer but in freeing yourself from religion.

      July 2, 2012 at 1:21 pm |
    • Which God??

      @ '.. not healthy.' You keep spouting pablum, and talk out of your butt. Your god didn't stop the fires, send rain, or anything that would have truly helped. I guess those that did pray weren't praying hard enough, or weren't good christians, right? Right '..not healthy?' Where was your fooking god when those in need asked for help, through prayer, or on their cellphone, dial-a-prayer for $2.99/ min? You lie. Proven.

      July 2, 2012 at 1:56 pm |
    • Which God??

      @ not healthy. Yes it does. Proven. Changed you into a one-track, mindless troll that has no reasoning power outside what his by-bull says. Oh forgot, and the voices he hears in his head. God 'talks' to him you know. He can 'prove' it. But don't ask, he won't show you. It's a xtian secret.

      July 2, 2012 at 2:36 pm |
    • hear o Israel

      The Lord our God is one God. The God of Abraham is God.

      July 2, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
    • todd in DC

      Sorry, Israel O'Here. But The Flying Spaghetti Monster is the one TRUE GOD.

      And you better worship his savory meat sauce lest you be thrown in the boiling pot of water of damnation.

      July 2, 2012 at 3:10 pm |
    • salvation

      is found only through Jesus Christ, there is a way that seems right to a man but the end of it is death.

      July 2, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
  4. Jack

    Hello everyone. You are all cordially invited to visit ... thestarofkaduri.com

    July 1, 2012 at 7:22 pm |
  5. Hooligan

    Jesus watches you beat off.
    Proven

    July 1, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
    • Yep

      Many atheists don't have logic.

      Proven.

      July 1, 2012 at 6:50 pm |
    • mickey1313

      Yep, maybe, but NO theists have logic, proven

      July 2, 2012 at 4:45 am |
    • niknak

      So there all all these people suffering throughout the world but jesus spends his time watching me beat off?
      Do you have any proof of that?
      Or is my sarcasm detector just not up and running yet?

      July 2, 2012 at 1:19 pm |
    • todd in DC

      Hooligan is being smarmy.

      July 2, 2012 at 3:11 pm |
  6. Travis Bickle

    I find it interesting and revealing that if these fires were burning in some other state or even in some other area of Colorado, James "Dads should take showers with their little boys to help them understand their private parts" Dobson would be on the radio right now declaring that the fires were a sign of an angry God's judgement upon a sinful city. To Dobson and his followers, yes I am calling you out as hyprocrites and phonies right here.

    July 1, 2012 at 3:22 pm |
    • TheChristianReichIsNotHealthyForChildrenAndOtherLivingThings

      Yup–you know it.

      July 2, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
  7. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Even though I am a christian, I admit that I don't really believe in prayer but my therapist told me that if I keep posting anti-atheism posts on all of these chat boards, I would be able to work out my anger and hatred for God. God doesn't love me or anyone else, and I know that. In fact I hate god!

    July 1, 2012 at 2:14 pm |
  8. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer really changes things

    July 1, 2012 at 1:08 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Why hasn't it put out the fires in Colorado, then? Aren't you praying hard enough? Does god just hate Colorado? Or the people that live there?

      July 1, 2012 at 1:09 pm |
    • Pillsforthecrazy

      I bet a lot of people have prayed for the fires to stop, for the wars to stop, for children to stop dying, for people to stop killing people...and yet....where is the answer to their prayers? Look around you sweetheart. Atheism is a LOT more healthy for people than fairytale prayers.

      July 1, 2012 at 2:13 pm |
    • just sayin

      When atheists rule, millions die, the environment is looted and polluted and hope is dashed. Humility in prayer redeems mankind through grace given by Christ. God bless

      July 1, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      justlyin', if prayer were so powerful, it would overcome the secular "rule" of leaders. Millions die regardless of belief.

      July 1, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
    • just sayin

      Prayer is Gods process, it is not magic beans. At a point of time all those atheist leaders came to judgement, so will you, so will I. God bless

      July 1, 2012 at 5:01 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Hey, you're the one who claimed "prayer really changes things."

      Back-pedaling now?

      July 1, 2012 at 5:03 pm |
    • nope

      @tom tom
      nope

      July 1, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
    • jwt

      There will be no judgement by anyones god over non-believers in that particular god.

      July 1, 2012 at 7:08 pm |
    • stupid followed to its logical conclusion

      ends at atheism

      July 1, 2012 at 7:52 pm |
    • Jesus

      Prayer doesn’t not; you are such a LIAR. You have NO proof it changes anything! A great example of prayer proven not to work is the Christians in jail because prayer didn't work and their children died. For example: Susan Grady, who relied on prayer to heal her son. Nine-year-old Aaron Grady died and Susan Grady was arrested.

      An article in the Journal of Pediatrics examined the deaths of 172 children from families who relied upon faith healing from 1975 to 1995. They concluded that four out of five ill children, who died under the care of faith healers or being left to prayer only, would most likely have survived if they had received medical care.

      The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs!!.

      July 2, 2012 at 2:00 pm |
    • Double R

      "Prayer gets God's attention, but worship puts you in a position to receive God's blessing." It's easy for people to praise and worship God when things are going great, "Thank God for my raise. Thank God for this nice car. Thank God I'm rich." But can you give thanks and praise when things are going bad? Can you trust God with your bills when you have no money? Can you trust him to provide even though your house just burned down? Can you find the blessing in all things? This is one of the toughest challenges believers face. Most people are quick to ask the questions why isn't God answering my prayers. Always remember, the teacher is usually silent during the test.

      July 3, 2012 at 10:27 am |
  9. Steve

    Ya know what else doesn't matter? Whether someone is gay or not.
    People who are so quick to assume that every disaster is God's judgement for what they define as sin should get the log out of their eye and begin to consider that maybe God is judging them for the way they lie about Gays, Muslims, Mexicans, etc And for the millions of dollars they waste trying keep gay people, their families, and their children from having the same rights as others instead of doing the things God has charged the church with doing.

    July 1, 2012 at 11:25 am |
    • so then

      a qu eer mexican muslim would be a three time loser?

      July 1, 2012 at 1:05 pm |
  10. mickey1313

    what Is funny is that we have abnormal temperatures, and when we have slightly cooler weather people say prayer did it. People are so ignorant. If prayer caused the temps to drop, then was it gods will to burn problems houses to three ground? When mostly christians homes?

    July 1, 2012 at 3:24 am |
    • AGuest9

      Texas is in the middle of another drought. They've been praying since last year for rain. Yet, they continue to pray. Better to accept that there is little water in a desert and move.

      July 1, 2012 at 12:43 pm |
  11. Jesus Christ

    I figured that since all of you crazy people that take my name in vain think that Colorado Springs is some kind of "Jesus capital" I'd go ahead and give you a feeling of what hell will be like since you're all going there for being hateful, mean people.

    June 30, 2012 at 9:45 pm |
    • lol

      lol the third-rate all day every day cnn troll calling others a loser lol

      June 30, 2012 at 10:25 pm |
    • mickey1313

      Jc, i don't believe, but if i did i would agree that the mean spirited born again will burn for there hypocrisy

      July 1, 2012 at 3:09 am |
    • uh-huh

      I think it quite ironic that you are using an idea defined by the Bible, revert it and create your own definition, and then use it against people who believe in the bible. i thought atheists and agnostics have superior logic?

      July 1, 2012 at 12:34 pm |
  12. •herbie/nope/captainamerica/capitalistclown/no one gives a sh it/atheism is unhealthy/heavensent/etc etc etc etc

    ALL THE SAME IDIOT.
    WANTS ATTENTION.
    POSTS LACKLUSTER TROLL POSTS OVER AND OVER AGAIN, UNDER COUNTLESS USERNAMES.
    STOP
    RESPONDING
    TO
    THIS
    FEEBLE-MINDED
    KID.......................

    June 30, 2012 at 9:15 pm |
    • what is asserted without proof

      can be dismissed without proof
      you loser

      June 30, 2012 at 9:37 pm |
    • looks like

      Tom Tom is off on another tangent

      June 30, 2012 at 11:29 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      looks like you're an idiot. Wasn't even home when this was posted.

      Too bad you're all butt-hurt.

      July 1, 2012 at 11:28 am |
    • AGuest9

      Apparently, you can add "what is asserted without proof" to that ever-growing list.

      July 1, 2012 at 12:44 pm |
  13. Nope

    Most atheist posters are hateful,immature,and most of all unlogical people who do not follow logic.

    They just wanna make themselves look "smart" to attack the "Theist" to feed their delusions.

    June 30, 2012 at 6:06 pm |
    • hey look--it's herbie/nope/capitalistclown/who gives a sh it/numerous others!

      he's so funny and smart!

      June 30, 2012 at 6:16 pm |
    • Answer

      So funny.

      Religious losers are always barking mad.

      June 30, 2012 at 6:17 pm |
    • niteynite

      Somebody sounds like a whiny kid
      What's wrong kid? Why you poutin?
      Did someone say something you don't like?
      Awww poor baby

      June 30, 2012 at 6:26 pm |
    • Nope

      Immaturity is not logical.

      June 30, 2012 at 6:36 pm |
    • AGuest9

      Quite obviously by your example, neither are you.

      June 30, 2012 at 7:02 pm |
    • Nope

      Nope

      June 30, 2012 at 7:24 pm |
    • Denise

      -whereas evangelicals and theists are incapable of looking or being smart. Stupid goes with their territory.

      June 30, 2012 at 7:49 pm |
    • Nope

      Nope.

      June 30, 2012 at 8:15 pm |
    • Jesus Christ

      I believe the word is "illogical," but of course you're casting the first stone "Nope." Of course the world is used to stupid Christians...in fact, I've never made a smart one.

      June 30, 2012 at 9:47 pm |
    • Which God??

      Grow up, little one. Learn how to have a dialog instead of spouting nonsense. You really show your immaturity when you spout things without proof and specifics to back up what you say. No proof just means you haven't anything intelligent to say. But we already know this about you.

      July 2, 2012 at 2:11 pm |
    • todd in DC

      Nope is unlogical. Yeah. You pretty much lost your argument with that one little typo.

      Trying NOT being home-schooled next time.

      July 2, 2012 at 3:14 pm |
  14. Jack

    Hello. Everyone is cordially invited to visit ... thestarofkaduri.com

    June 30, 2012 at 4:44 pm |
  15. Voice of Reason

    For anyone reading these words you as I and all living things are here because of a selfish gene. We didn't ask to be born, did you? No. This innate process to procreate is pure evolution at its core, the drive is insatiable. Now alas, humans have the capability to understand and realize this drive and the how and why of the evolution gene to procreate. And yet fully knowing the dangers of over population and its inevitable impact already beginning to rear its ugly head, we continue to populate the world. This is irresponsibility beyond forgiveness. Poverty, pollution, crime, the list goes on and on, there's just too many darn people in this world in order to sustain a livable environment.
    If people want or need to believe in something, believe in reality, believe in how important nature is to our existence, that can be your god. Place the same amount of energy you do into the god of reality that you do with your unproven god as it will help all mankind. Birth control, what a premise! But no, your god says it's wrong. Do you realize your god is killing all of us because of this archaic philosophy? Use nature as your god if you need a god so much, at least nature you can see, hear, touch and smell. And right now nature is revolting.
    Wake-up!

    June 30, 2012 at 4:16 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      1 John 2:21-23
      21 I have not written unto you because ye know not the truth, but because ye know it, and that no lie is of the truth.
      22 Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son.
      23 Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: (but) he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also.

      Amen.

      June 30, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Well said, Voice.

      June 30, 2012 at 4:39 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      LOL. The Blind leading the blind, as they both fall in the ditch.

      June 30, 2012 at 4:47 pm |
    • tallulah13

      HS, you have no proof of your god. There is ample proof, however, that human overpopulation is having an adverse effect on the livability of this planet. I'm not at all surprised that you are too selfish and cowardly to look at anything beyond your own desires. You are part of the problem, not part of the solution.

      June 30, 2012 at 4:50 pm |
    • Jim

      This is an interesting plea. It is based in the philophical realm, as is your handle there (reason is a philosophical term and in reality it is quite subjective). Scientifically it is flawed. Procreation is not the subject of evolution. If that were the case, it would have only presented itself after many generations of life. Unfortunately, without procreation there can't be generations of life. That is circular reasoning which indicates a flawed philosophy. Procreation has to be present in the life of the earliest cells. Single cells reproduce a se_xually and multi celled generally reproduce se_xually. Either way reproduction is present from the beginning. Now, I'm not arguing against the issue of overpopulation, but I don't think Catholics and the other much smaller Christian denominations are guilty for that especially considering that most denominations do not forbid birth control. But the more life there is on earth doesn't devalue each life. It's not like I'm 1/6 billionth important in this world. That's not how it works, thankfully. So we shouldn't grow bitter over it, because that doesn't do anyone any good.
      Now, I agree, nature may be revolting against man's inability to care for it. If you would like the theological explanation, I would gladly give it, but I'm guessing you don't. But nature isn't something to worship it is something to experience, protect, and share. Atheists don't have the angle on that, nor the Sierra Club, nor Christians. We need to do better.

      June 30, 2012 at 4:57 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      @Jim

      Evolution is one part of evolution, not the goal of it. Evolution doesn't have a goal. Evolution is merely change over time. ONLY those units that were able to reproduce "survived;" thus, reproduction is the most important factor for any units that don't continue forever.

      An excellent text for thinking on these sorts of subjects is "The Viruses of the Mind"

      June 30, 2012 at 5:13 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      Excuse me, I meant to say, "Reproduction is only part of evolution...'"

      June 30, 2012 at 5:14 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      @Jim

      Another point. I would completely disagree on the issue of "importance" although that term isn't really that definitive, anyway. I would state that yes, you are only 1/7billionth as important, and that yes, it does work that way. How much more important (as in rare/in danger of becoming extinct) are animals whose numbers are only a few hundred or thousand? How much more important would a human being be if there were only a few hundred or thousand? If there were only a few thousand co ckroaches, how fascinating and important would we consider them? We don't consider them important, partly because they're everywhere.

      June 30, 2012 at 5:18 pm |
    • Jim

      @Moby, I see where I misread what Voice was saying in thinking he was saying reproduction was a part of evolution that developed, but voice didn't say that at all. I thought it was strange to make such a statement. I understand reproduction is a part of evolution, a fundamental part which, in its abscence, would make evolution impossible.
      I don't agree with voice's comment that all things are here because of selfishness. It would be a more proper claim from an evolutionary standpoint to say that we are here because of instinct. Few animals reproduce because of intimacy or pleasure, both of which can be selfish from a certian point of view. We as humans need to have the intelligence on our own to say "no" when we need ought to, and to use protection if we don't desire to reproduce.
      In regard to importance, I am saying that importance is in the eye of the beholder. I do not seek my value on the grander scale but in terms of community, or my sphere of influence, or, in my case, my God. For example, I enjoy duck hunting. Because of that, I consider every duck I see important, but most ducks (all ducks in my area) aren't endangered. You are important to those who you impact. If there were 100 Billion in the world you would still impact those around you and your value in that community would be what it would be. That said, the scientific argument you make is valid in its own way.

      June 30, 2012 at 5:38 pm |
    • Jim

      Also, I assumed Voice is a "he" apologies if that is not the case.

      June 30, 2012 at 5:42 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      tallulah13, you never read Jesus truth on abundance. You only listen to satan's lies about lack of abundance. Therefore, you are part of the problem.

      June 30, 2012 at 5:53 pm |
    • JWT

      No gods – makes life so much better. Of course the believers can stil believe – it's their minds and their fantasy.

      June 30, 2012 at 6:33 pm |
    • tallulah13

      HS, you can't prove your god with ancient hearsay. Sorry.

      You know, I'd feel sorry for for you if you weren't such a miserable, nasty excuse for a human being. It must be rough when the only bright spot in your life is an unsubstantiated promise of a better "afterlife."

      June 30, 2012 at 7:37 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      tallulah13, I have eyes to see and ears to hear Jesus' truth. Every day I see His creation of this world. The sun, the flowers, the trees, humans, animals, the sky, if I GO on vacation I can view the sea or the lakes, mountains, if it rains, clouds, smelling fresh cut lawns, smell of pine if I walk in a forest, babies being born etc.. What Tallulah, do you believe your scientists created all? True science uncovers Jesus' truth.

      June 30, 2012 at 7:54 pm |
    • EvolvedDNA

      HS more of JC truth but you cannot reproduce it here..only sayings that are meaningless...I ask you to put in writing truths that you can verify and claim came from your Jesus...who you have no idea really existed...

      July 1, 2012 at 1:45 am |
    • EvolvedDNA

      HS.".if I GO on vacation I can view the sea or the lakes, mountains, if it rains, clouds, smelling fresh cut lawns, smell of pine if I walk in a forest, babies being born etc.. What Tallulah, do you believe your scientists created all? True science uncovers Jesus' truth." LOL No one has said that scientists created this..it is the natural world..nothing to do with your supernatural being.. no Thor or Ra.. if you see the staving in Africa on your vacation is this also your gods plan and passion..

      July 1, 2012 at 2:01 am |
    • tallulah13

      HS, emotional experiences do not equal evidence. When you look at nature, you see species that have found success within their environment. I agree that it is beautiful and awesome, but sadly for you, this is proof of evolution, not god.

      Also, you don't seem to understand the scientific process. Scientists discover the whys and the hows. They seek the truth by looking for evidence. If a claim doesn't stand up to scrutiny, it is dismissed. Science is self-monitoring and self-correcting. On the other hand, you as a christian always return to the bible as your single source, even though that source is contradictory to itself and contradictory to reality.

      July 1, 2012 at 3:25 am |
    • Moby Schtick

      Thanks, Jim. Very thoughtful posts.

      I agree with you that importance is subjective, and that's why it depends on the philosophy / world view the subject holds to. That's the point, I think. As an atheist, I do NOT say that faith or a philosophy that holds humanity to a higher standard of goodness and mercy is a bad thing; indeed, that sort of thinking and "religion" is very helpful and can be a desirable belief set.

      I think that the "selfishness" VoR references, and certainly the "selfishness" I would reference on the topic is merely an attempt by a human mind to label the mechanism we see at work in the system. A naturalist like myself cannot adequately explain why a gene has such a "drive" to propagate and duplicate itself however it can. It just seems to be a "law" like gravity or electromagnetism. There doesn't seem to be a better word out there. If you can think of a better term to define this "law" that is so necessary to genetic fecundity than I would be interested in your explanation.

      thanks again!

      July 1, 2012 at 10:49 am |
    • Moby Schtick

      @Jim

      Sorry, forgot to address your "instinct" term. I meant to say that the "instinct" that you reference is merely the "selfishness instinct" that VoR and I discuss. Of course, you're right; it's instinct, but that instinct is pure selfishness–on a micro scale and on a macro.

      On a related note, if we compare "selfishness" to gravity, we get two extremes: Super massive densities (black holes, where the laws of physics break down), and the complete random complexity of the thinnest matter and energy of nearly empty space (which is teeming with trillions and trillions of sub-atomic particles which are popping in and out of existence with unknown processes and with unknown effects). So in that analogy, pure selflessness (near-zero gravity and heat) produces pure possibility while pure selfishness (super dense areas of energy and matter) produce powerful but unknown mechanism of energy. Weird, but seems to point to a balance, as all paradoxes in nature do.

      July 1, 2012 at 11:00 am |
    • Jim

      @Moby I think there are certain prerequisites for a creature to be capable of selfishness and I think a good argument could be made that selfishness and instinct are unique from one another. While both can be impulsive and often are, instinct requires no prerequisite other than that it is genetically transfered from generation to generation. Selfishness can be unique to the individual. A human might look at a member of the opposite gender and say "I want that person and I will do whatever it takes to be with them." They go after that person, and if they succeed in attracting that person they have accomplished their goal. The end result may be the same with less complex creatures, but instead of first wanting a member of the opposite gender, they feel a drive to be with them and will do whatever it takes (for dogs, no chain link fence could ever serve a good enough barrier). They smell something in the air (pheromones) and they are unable to resist. Scientifically we can smell those same pheromones and resist because through reason, we don't desire a person. Man has the ability to overcome instinct, but he also has the ability for intimate acts to be selfless as well. Less complex creatures are neither selfish or selfless, only driven by an instinct.

      July 1, 2012 at 4:51 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      @Jim

      Indeed. That was what I mean about selfishness being a human word/invention and merely a mechanism for us to think about the way genes "behave."

      July 1, 2012 at 8:20 pm |
    • Which God??

      @ Voice. Good post.

      July 2, 2012 at 2:13 pm |
  16. Jimmy

    Two gun shops in my town, and plenty of other places to buy ammo. Across the boarder no gun shops at all, and people there don't think they need any either. It's like stepping back in time to the 1930s or something. We make people fear everything here. It's sad.

    June 30, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
    • nope

      a boarder is someone who rents a room.

      June 30, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
  17. Sim34

    “Even people who are not Christians were saying, ‘This is out of our control and I’m going to try to pray. Why not?’ ”
    Sure, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, and other non-Christians who still pray would likely pray for help, but not to the same God that these folks typically pray to. Maybe Shiva is lowering the temperature?

    June 30, 2012 at 4:01 pm |
    • What IF

      It was my wish upon a star that saved so many.

      You're very welcome.

      June 30, 2012 at 5:13 pm |
  18. Hypatia

    sick and sad response to a natural disaster.

    June 30, 2012 at 3:19 pm |
    • herbie/nope/captainamerica/capitalistclown/no one gives a sh it/atheism is unhealthy/heavensent/etc etc etc etc

      ALL THE SAME IDIOT.
      WANTS ATTENTION.
      POSTS LACKLUSTER TROLL POSTS OVER AND OVER AGAIN, UNDER COUNTLESS USERNAMES.
      STOP
      RESPONDING
      TO
      THIS
      FEEBLE-MINDED
      KID.

      June 30, 2012 at 9:12 pm |
    • nope

      Shouting only makes you look more crazy... prove your theory or be dismissed, loser.

      June 30, 2012 at 9:54 pm |
  19. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    June 30, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      Not helping these christards is it??? Just proof that prayer is only a placebo.

      June 30, 2012 at 2:45 pm |
    • Prayer for the country

      God keep our land, prayer from the Canadian national anthem. Apparently prayer changes things in Canada also.

      June 30, 2012 at 3:08 pm |
    • JWT

      @prayer

      Nope/.

      June 30, 2012 at 3:38 pm |
    • Sim34

      Canada is still vastly more secular than we are.

      June 30, 2012 at 4:03 pm |
    • yep

      @jwy
      yep

      June 30, 2012 at 4:03 pm |
    • no one gives a sh it

      what Canada is lets mind our own business

      June 30, 2012 at 4:44 pm |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      Prayer: Nope! Prayer is a placebo...nothing more! We are very much more secular and thankfully so...we're not arguing over who deserves to live and die b/c of healthcare-we have it across the board; we're not arguing over who is allowed to consensually marry-that too has been figured out; we're not arguing over abortion-we have that figured out, we're not fighting over the basic rights people wishing to use contraception-we have that figured out also. Most of us agree that using logic and reason opposed to he buybull for our countries decision making is the best way to work.

      June 30, 2012 at 5:14 pm |
    • no one gives a sh it

      no matter haw many times this ass hole Canadian comes back we know what you are and don't care we will take care of ourselves without your self righteous judgement.

      June 30, 2012 at 5:17 pm |
    • embrace the truths

      Atheism is totally useless
      God is available
      God bless America

      June 30, 2012 at 5:19 pm |
    • tallulah13

      @"embrace the truths"

      The funny thing about truth is that truth requires proof. If you wish to discuss truth, please provide something more than your personal opinion or ancient hearsay. If you have no proof, perhaps it's time for you to reconsider why you believe what you do.

      June 30, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      tallulah13, proof of Jesus is human suffering. Who suffered more than Jesus who died for all our sins? So, every time you see a human suffering, remember when Jesus comes back, there will be no more suffering.

      June 30, 2012 at 5:57 pm |
    • JWT

      By the time jesus comes back the sun will be dark. We dont need him back anyway.

      June 30, 2012 at 6:34 pm |
    • JWT

      that presumes of course that he was ever here in the first place.

      June 30, 2012 at 6:35 pm |
    • tallulah13

      HS, It makes me sick how happy you are that a man was tortured to death so that you can pretend that you're not responsible for your own actions. Human suffering can be proof of a lot of things: Natural disasters, man-made disasters, chance or even human indifference. Humans suffered long before your god was invented and should they survive, humans will suffer long after your god is forgotten.

      Your empty belief that some supernatural being will arrive to make things better relieves only your own misery, which I suspect is all you truly care about.

      June 30, 2012 at 7:44 pm |
    • no one gives a sh it

      We mean specifically Tallulah 13 as I am indeed this person.

      June 30, 2012 at 8:07 pm |
    • no one gives a sh it

      We mean specifically Tallulah 13 as I am indeed this person !

      June 30, 2012 at 8:07 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Tallulah, still lost in the desert I read. Your team doesn't take responsibility for your thoughts (don't have any), words or actions as you usher in satan's chaos.

      June 30, 2012 at 8:18 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Tallulah, you have to know that I shake my head in disbelief that you are this foolish. Jesus died for our sins. Sin is death. Death is satan that you love and follow. There will be no sin in Heaven. You better unload your sinful nature before you breath your last breath ... or, you won't be living with Jesus for eternity. Your satan is a liar and he can't save himself, never mind, any of you.

      June 30, 2012 at 8:22 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Tallulah, you have to know that I shake my head in disbelief that you are this foolish. Jesus died for our sins. Sin is death. Death is satan that you love and follow. There will be no sin in Heaven. You better unload your sinful nature before you breath your last breath ... or, you won't be living with Jesus for eternity. Your satan is a liar and he can't save himself, never mind, any of you..

      June 30, 2012 at 8:23 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Tallulah, you have to know that I shake my head in disbelief that you are this foolish. Jesus died for our sins. Sin is death. Death is satan that you love and follow. There will be no sin in Heaven. You better unload your sinful nature before you breath your last breath ... or, you won't be living with Jesus for eternity. Your satan is a liar and he can't save himself, never mind, any of you...

      June 30, 2012 at 8:23 pm |
    • EvolvedDNA

      HS..I bet you wish that you really believed that... I sense you know that your beliefs are becoming less concrete as you get older. Satan is a generated figment that you also think may not be real, but have been traditionally conditioned to believe..you may have noticed that with out fear you are freer to think, and understand that humans are the same the world over. If you look at humans as humans and not as simply those who have to think the way you do.. you will be almost as happy as the atheist folks. we are here to help..just ask

      July 1, 2012 at 2:20 am |
    • Jesus

      Prayer doesn’t not; you are such a LIAR. You have NO proof it changes anything! A great example of prayer proven not to work is the Christians in jail because prayer didn't work and their children died. For example: Susan Grady, who relied on prayer to heal her son. Nine-year-old Aaron Grady died and Susan Grady was arrested.

      An article in the Journal of Pediatrics examined the deaths of 172 children from families who relied upon faith healing from 1975 to 1995. They concluded that four out of five ill children, who died under the care of faith healers or being left to prayer only, would most likely have survived if they had received medical care.

      The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs!!!

      July 2, 2012 at 2:15 pm |
  20. christiansagainstnike

    It is nice to see people talking about God.

    Why weren't they thinking about God when I warned them that God was not happy with the name "Garden of the gods"?
    If there will ever be a "garden of the gods"... it will be in hell with Satan and the false gods... also known as demons!

    Why didn't they consider there was something wrong when I told about the Air Force Academy building the PAGAN WORSHIP CIRCLE so that those in the Air Force could worship other gods?

    Why didn't they listen when God had me post billboards in Denver warning that Tebow endorses a company honoring the PAGAN goddess Nike?

    Glad to know they are talking about God... but will it really change their behavior?

    Will they really stop dishonoring God?

    That remains to be seen.

    Meanwhile God has me working to bring down Nike!

    http://www.christiansagainstnike.com/

    June 30, 2012 at 12:56 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      You make me want to apologize for the human race.

      June 30, 2012 at 1:01 pm |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      christiansagainstnike: Work along side Westboro Church by chance or are you simply off your meds? Either way you sound completely delusional. Come back and talk to the adults when you have some actual facts to speak to us about.

      June 30, 2012 at 2:23 pm |
    • no one gives a sh it

      what a butt in Canadian has to say. No one listening to you in your own country? What part of Canada is Westboro in?

      June 30, 2012 at 2:27 pm |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      no one gives a sh it: Freedom of speech really bothers you doesn't it? Afraid that your religion will be wiped off the planet and replaced with reason and logic? We'll go away when you do, until then and as always this is an international website that you do not have rights to...so do the world a favor and go back to your sandbox...children shouldn't be using the internet.

      June 30, 2012 at 2:44 pm |
    • Jimmy

      no one gives
      What do you have against Canadians? I live close to the boarder. They're usually pretty nice.

      June 30, 2012 at 2:54 pm |
    • no one gives a sh it

      @jimmy
      that would be border you live close to. Let them mind their own business then. No one opposes all Canadians just those self righteous ass holes that are on sites like these passing judgement on our country and values and contributing nothing to the US. If you want them to do your thinking for you what kind of patriot are you?

      June 30, 2012 at 3:03 pm |
    • Answer

      The ones who complain and rail against Canada are just haters because of what we have. Peace.

      We are civil and we love it that way.

      June 30, 2012 at 3:31 pm |
    • no one gives a sh it

      keep it to yourself then and let others run their own countries

      June 30, 2012 at 4:05 pm |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      no one gives a sh it: You clueless dolt!! Your country is in chaos...do you not think for one damn second that you could learn from us or another Secular country? No matter how much hate you spew, we will continue to voice our opinion because unlike you, we recognize the importance of our country to yours and vice versus and there is the fact that you can't seem to get through that one celled brain of yours...this is an international website...we're not leaving.

      June 30, 2012 at 4:55 pm |
    • no one gives a sh it

      we don't need ya.

      June 30, 2012 at 5:15 pm |
    • tallulah13

      This "no one gives a sh it" person certainly does not speak for me. I don't know who he/she is referencing when he/she says "we", however, it often seems that individuals who claim to be speaking for a group generally do not have the authority to do so. I suspect that they pretend to have allies because they recognize that their position is rather feeble.

      June 30, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      TruthPrevailsNot, the faster you satanists bring in satan, the quicker Jesus returns. It's all been written ... and of course, all you liars loose because God is in control.

      June 30, 2012 at 6:01 pm |
    • M.F. Luder

      It's ironic that when the imaginary carrot doesn't work, the imaginary stick is then threatened.

      June 30, 2012 at 11:57 pm |
    • James

      @ Jimmy – US Evangelicals are not jealous of Canada. I, however, am. But it's just so cold in the winter!

      July 2, 2012 at 1:30 pm |
    • TheChristianReichIsNotHealthyForChildrenAndOtherLivingThings

      What Moby Schtick said. Times ten.

      July 2, 2012 at 3:55 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      My tongue smells like goat scrotum

      July 2, 2012 at 5:46 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.