Where was God in Aurora massacre?
Twelve crosses comprise a makeshift memorial near the Aurora, Colorado, movie theater, scene of last week’s mass shooting
July 24th, 2012
02:13 PM ET

Where was God in Aurora massacre?

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

(CNN) - Where was God in Aurora?

It’s a fresh take on an age-old question: Why does God allow suffering, natural disasters or - if you believe in it - evil?

We put the question to Twitter on Tuesday and got some starkly different responses.

“In short, God was in complete control, exercising His will,” wrote @PastorRileyF, who leads a church in Bethune, Colorado.

That riled @TheTrivia Jockey, who tweeted, “If that was God's will, God is definitely not deserving of my worship.”

Watch: Survivor of massacre says he forgives gunman

@trentpayne also took issue with the Colorado pastor: "I'm going to respectfully disagree with you Pastor. God gives free will to man, but it wasn't his will that they die."

The back-and-forth provoked other believers to chime in on the theological issue of God’s sovereignty vs. human free will, with many Christians seeking to explain how a sovereign God could preside over seemingly senseless bloodshed.

“It is not God's will or want that people died in Aurora,” wrote @GospelBluesman 20m. "God allowed man's inhumanity to man, rather than intervene.”

The conversation and debate continued in the comments section of this post, with some insinuating that the massacre might be a kind of divine punishment, or at lease divine neglect:

We as a country have been telling God to go away. We told him to get off our currency, get out of our schools, get out of our Pledge of Allegiance, take your Ten Commandments out of our courthouses, get those Bibles out of hotels and no graduation ceremonies in our churches. How can we expect God to give us his blessing and his protection if we demand that he leave us alone?

Jesse R
Liberals have made it impossible for God to be anywhere during the upbringing of a child. Can't have any religious connotations in schools, libraries, government offices, etc., etc. Young men (and women) are growing up with no real sense of right and wrong. ... We no longer have the right of religion, but rather the right from religion. Parents no longer have the ability to discipline their children. We are always looking for the excuses ... violent video games and movies, bad teachers and schools ... when we should be looking in the mirror. We as a society are the reasons these massacres happen. We have allowed our children to become social misfits that lead to the kind of carnage we have seen on several occasions since religion and God disappeared from what the Founding Fathers once said was a necessity of a successful democracy ... faith.

Lots of readers used religious takes on the shooting to challenge the whole idea of God:

Who invited me?
How do you know the people that were killed didn't go to hell?, and how exactly does any of this show there is a reason? Reason is obviously something that you have replaced with belief, and you threw out logic with it.

"God doesn't exist, so he wasn't anywhere. Get over it. A man was evil, and he was evil because he was crazy.

Plenty of others said the shooting was the devil's work:

Evil things like this happen because Satan is the god of this world ... for the time being. God will undo all the damage caused by Satan's rebellion and man's disobedience when the time is right. In the meantime we all experience trials and tribulation due to living in an ungodly world. That is why Jesus taught his followers the Lord's Prayer ... 'to pray for God's kingdom to come.'

What’s your take? Where was God in the Aurora massacre? Or do you feel that such tragedies are evidence for a godless universe?

Let us know in comments, and we’ll highlight the best ones.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: God • Violence

soundoff (10,690 Responses)
  1. Jorge A. Estrada

    Why does everyone blame God? Does the Devil get a free pass? How come no one ever blames the devil? Evil exists, and we must confront evil. We must show the devil that we will get though this with God's grace.

    July 25, 2012 at 2:17 pm |
    • Hooligan

      are you kidding? The devil is the SCAPEGOAT for god.

      and if the devil exists then we have god to blame for not putting that sick puppy down EONS ago.

      OH WAIT... neither exist.

      July 25, 2012 at 2:18 pm |
    • Former Christian

      Why does everything bad have to be "the devil"? God in Christian mythology already proved himself capable of evil. God has been directly responsible for tons of deaths in the Bible. God himself is a sinner. The entire religion is a joke.

      July 25, 2012 at 2:19 pm |
  2. ralph marsh

    Where was God when the shooting took place? The same place where He was when they Killed His Son Jesus. Allowing free will to happen. Proving that free will and not His will is not the best answer. Proving how lost we all are without Him. Praise his Holy Name.

    July 25, 2012 at 2:17 pm |
    • Hooligan

      The only thing worse then the indifference of men is the indifference of supposed divine beings.

      July 25, 2012 at 2:23 pm |
  3. t3chn0ph0b3

    If God is all powerful, could He create a rock He couldn't lift?

    When speaking in terms of infinity, it is impossible to determine a logical answer to any question. Dividing by zero just doesn't work.

    So, "Good God, Why Do Bad Things Happen?"

    It's not a question worth answering.

    Spend your time instead with your families and friends or improving your own situation and the situations of others. Alleviate suffering and find happiness. Cause suffering and find dispair.

    July 25, 2012 at 2:17 pm |
  4. Former Christian

    Where was Cagn? Where was Pangu? Where was Zeus? Where was Jupiter? Where was Inari? Where was Amm?

    July 25, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
    • Just askin

      Go to Greece, Rome and India to ask those questions. In the US, Christianity is the majority. It would be stupid to ask anything else. Are you stupid?

      July 25, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
  5. john

    to the person choosing what to put up on the artical what do u belive this is a very unprofessiona question for a news orginzation to ask...? how dare you question god and allow satins followers and non belivers an area to spit blasfomy and ridicule whie victims famlies right now are turning to god.. the person who asked this question should be put on adminstrative leave!!!!

    July 25, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
    • Who invited me?

      I love my satin sheets, but I do not follow them. That would be just silly.
      What do you have against satin?

      July 25, 2012 at 2:19 pm |
  6. Norm

    Only man in his arrogance would assume that God cares about his minute by minute goings on.
    Man is an insignificant collection of atoms in the grand scheme of the universe.
    Thank God for all the physical things around you, but don't think he's standing over your shoulder, guiding you and everyone else through life.
    That would be like you watching over an insect and guiding it's every move and thought until the day it expires.
    How arrogant and narcissistic.

    July 25, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
    • God is the creation, We are the Creator

      That comparison is not even right.
      As an Engineer, I have to make sure my creation/invention is as perfect as it can be.
      I'll test run it to make sure it runs well. If there is a problem with lets say a Robot, I will intervene and make sure that it doesn't get damaged. The church says We are each specially thought out and made. To say that he doesnt look after us 24/7 can only mean that he doesnt care about you anymore. God is known to be Omnipotent, Omniscient, and Omnipresent. Since you disagree with that, I guess you're worshipping a flawed God. Good luck in life with someone who doesnt exist let alone care about you anymore.

      July 25, 2012 at 2:24 pm |
  7. SAS

    If you would educate yourself in the word of God hence the BIBLE then the scriptures help us understand all of life's evil drama would show you the answer to where God was on that fateful day, there is no gray area only the truth which we know as the BIBLE. Faith comes from hearing (church) and reading the bible in order to understand why God allows these things to happen. As for myself my God is still in control and I am an imperfect human being unable to conceiveably question why God allows this to happen but ultimately his love for his children all of us who have come to him through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior will sustain us in such times of unspeakable grief for vengeance is in the hands of the Almighty God.

    July 25, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
    • oakville1958

      we are all assuming – even know for certain, that death is something bad that happens to us. The fact remains, we all will die and only the soul is eternal. It is only the physical body that ends, which we call death. If we believe in soul, then we should not fear death, because the soul never dies. Our presence on earth, is but for a very short time and this duration is determined by our soul – how long it wants to be on earth. God has given us that choice. Is is then, God's fault if our soul chooses to live a short life and experience death, the way we die?

      July 25, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
    • God is in control

      Best explanation I've heard so far....no explanation needed!!!!

      July 25, 2012 at 2:55 pm |
  8. ramsaxon

    Man is made image of god? What more must be said?

    July 25, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
    • Jim Jones

      Why does God need a starship RAMSUXON?

      July 25, 2012 at 2:17 pm |
    • God

      More like, I was made in man's image. Don't go blaming me for your shortcomings.

      July 25, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
  9. dood

    I find it interesting that this article is "Filed under: God • Violence"

    July 25, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
    • God

      So do I, I don't even know this guy.

      July 25, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
  10. Alex

    People have a tendency to only see the good in God. If there is a tsunami that kills millions or a massacre that kills dozens they will somehow find a way to thank God. All powerful? All Loving? How about none of the above.

    July 25, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
  11. Shekhar

    Good (or misspelt as God) and Evil (or misspelt as Devil) are both within us. All of us have the good and bad in us. Most of us know how to control the evil. It is just a few, in a very small number of people, that do not know how to. Thank Good (God) for that!!!

    July 25, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
  12. mr. mark

    The problem is that the perpetrator of this crime chose not emulate Jesus but instead chose to emulate the Joker.

    July 25, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
    • Wade

      Yes, more people worship Hollywood and media than the Almighty. Here's proof.

      July 25, 2012 at 2:17 pm |
  13. Rev. Karl Warrington

    I certainly believe in God, but sometimes his humans decide to do things that are contrairy to God's will. The story of Adam and Eve illustrate this point. Free will is an important part of the Biblical witness. I personally, and as a pastor, believe that this shooting has anything to do with divine retribution. That would be a sad commentary since a 6 year old girl was killed. Unfortunately terrible things happen and I believe that God is there to provide love, comfort, and strength to those who survived.

    July 25, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
  14. Stephanie

    One reader asks where was God during the shooting? Same place He was when we said, no to God in our schools, our workplace, our worship, our currency, our courtroom, our country, our laws, our lives. We have become a country of spoiled, greedy, prideful, unthankful, ungrateful, and glutnous people who want to do things our way and void of God. Our God is not a God of convenience, nor is He at the beck and call of those that deny His existence. Our God is not mocked!
    Thus saith the Lord our God, "If my people who are called by My name will humble themselves and seek My face and pray. Then will I hear from heaven, forgive their sins and heal their land."

    God Is...... and IS not moved or swayed by public opinion. He is the first and He is the last whether we believe it or not.

    July 25, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
    • Treeper


      July 25, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
  15. Ed Wenger

    God does not exist.

    July 25, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
  16. Jim Jones

    Why does God need a Starship?????

    July 25, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
  17. Carl

    Let's just say there is no God, and that we are responsible for our own actions. I mean doesn't it seem awfully primitive to believe that there has to be a God?

    July 25, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
    • Wade

      Almost as primitive as believing we evolved from apes

      July 25, 2012 at 2:23 pm |
  18. Elizabeth

    God sent the First Responders. God gave the doctors, nurses and other health care providers the strength, courage and knowledge to help the wounded. God sent counselors to help the grieving. God gave the heroes in this story the courage to sacrifice their own lives to save others.

    July 25, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
  19. Wade

    Easy answer, he was the same place he was in our classrooms that morning: asked not to be there.

    July 25, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
  20. Turp Griswald

    Tough conversation to add to. Either you believe in an all-knowing God, who would have known the assailant's thoughts, but lets people do whatever even if those actions will result in terrible suffering. Or you reject the idea of an all-knowing God, and hold individuals and society responsible for the events that occurred.

    July 25, 2012 at 2:15 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100 101 102 103 104 105 106 107 108 109 110 111 112 113 114 115 116 117 118 119 120 121 122 123 124 125 126 127 128 129 130 131 132 133 134 135 136 137 138 139 140 141 142 143 144 145 146 147 148 149 150 151 152 153 154 155 156 157 158 159 160 161 162 163 164 165 166 167 168 169 170 171 172 173 174 175 176 177 178 179 180 181 182 183 184 185 186 187 188 189 190 191 192 193 194 195 196 197 198 199 200 201 202 203 204 205 206 207 208 209 210 211 212 213 214
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.