home
RSS
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:

Lenny
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.

Kyle
"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:

Harleyxx
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. JSR

    I don't recall hearing anything about GOD telling him to purchase the guns, go to the theater and kill...........

    July 25, 2012 at 2:36 pm |
  2. troy

    I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under GOD, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. This is the nation I grew up and loved being a part of. Now we have the liberals and the atheist spewing their hate for god. Taking away what generation of children grew up saying every day. Why? So today’s generation can be violent, dependant on the government, do things like this when things dont go your way? The world is falling apart. Why you ask, do you think its a coincidence it happens because the liberals and atheist are pushing god farthing and further away? I don’t care if you don’t believe that is up to you. There are a lot of us who do believe who are you to tell me he does not exist. Our country was way better off when we didn’t have these people spew their hate and try to push god out.

    July 25, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
    • Who invited me?

      Odd you should recite the altered version of that recital.
      The original did not have that in it, because it was written to include ALL people.
      Since it was changed by religious zealots in the 1950's , it now excludes a large portion of the patriotic population.
      Also changed at that time was the national motto from e pluribus unem to the LIE " in God we trust"
      Both of these changes were made by people forcing THEIR religion on everyone. That is un-american and very, very unpatriotic.

      July 25, 2012 at 2:40 pm |
    • christ_child1991

      i love the line one nation under GOD....."do you think its a coincidence it happens because the liberals and atheist are pushing god farthing and further away?" I agree the futher GOD is pushed away the more this world will fall apart. What if this country we lived in all pulled together and trusted god just for one month. What if we all came together in unity and seeked god. I'll tell youy what this country would be alot better off what if god judged america like he did sodom and gomorrah and looked for just 1/3 of the country's population be righteous like lot was.... THIS COUNTRY WOULD BE DESTROYED BY FIRE AND BRIMSTONE RAINING DOWN FROM HEAVEN ... this world needs to pull itself together

      July 25, 2012 at 3:08 pm |
  3. Matt

    God doesn't allow suffering and evil. We do.

    July 25, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
    • ME II

      That sounds ridiculous. Only someone capable of stopping it would be able to "allow" it to happen.

      July 25, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
    • christ_child1991

      @ME II it is not ridiculus we are able to stop this just by saying saying no and beliving and trusting in god..

      July 25, 2012 at 3:10 pm |
  4. Jim R

    The difference between science and religion is that science doesn’t mandate the universe to be what a person wants it to be – rather it forces our beliefs to conform to the evidence of reality. Thus the core concept in all religions comes from the fear of death, the finite end. Those that subscribe to religion belong to the infancy of our species.

    July 25, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
    • life5678

      Science is as much belief as religion. Have you ever been in space? How do we know what is really outside of our galaxy? Are you saying that in all the universe that there could not be any being that is smarter than you? or humans? that's rather vain don't you think. Just how smart could other beings be? How big? how great? Smart enough to create other life such as us? Smart enough to be considered a god? A being that perhaps was created a 100 billion years ago? How smart would that being be? Simple minds, simple answers.

      July 25, 2012 at 2:45 pm |
  5. JustSayin

    So you think these people suffered? Don't forget that God's son was beaten for 2 hours and then nailed to a cross and speared in the side.

    July 25, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
  6. tony

    dont ask for help when all we do is sin were are you when you do bad things
    if your son dosent listen to you punish,when is the last time someone did something
    for gd you have 7 laws and you dont keep one this world dosent deserive mercey
    no one dose

    July 25, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
    • t3chn0ph0b3

      Dude. At least use periods. How old are you? Seven?

      July 25, 2012 at 2:36 pm |
  7. life5678

    How can you know what 'Good' is if you do not know what 'Evil' is? Without evil you would have know reason to believe in God, you would not need God. We are here to learn to be the best decision makers we can be so we can have free will with God. Without challenges, there is no decision making, no purpose. If you knew for sure that God exists, then you have know free will because you have no doubt. From the Dark Night, comes light.

    July 25, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
  8. J. Kelly

    god has no sway over man's destiny. At least, the god as religious cults perceive him or her. If there's an omniscient god who knows all and has seen all from the beginning of time until the end of time, then he has always known that this crazy was going to open up with his assault rifle in that theater. The shooter had to do it because god always foresaw it. god can not be wrong. So, according to the religions who believe in an omniscient god, free will can not exist.

    Don't take solace in god. Take solace in the fact that the shooter was a crazy and the majority of people in the world are good.

    July 25, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
    • life5678

      Keeping in line with your thinking, there can be no such thing as good, just events. So how can the majority of people be good and one be bad? There is no purpose then, for life, no reason to be 'good' no reason to not be 'evil'.

      July 25, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
  9. joe

    Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death.

    Matthew 10:21

    July 25, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
  10. Rob

    There never has been a "holy" deity. Your fundamentally flawed "scripture" that has been twisted and edited countless times by the Roman Catholic church, among others, is a book of lies. A collection of fairytales that were borrowed from the Egyptians, Pagans and Babylonians. Learn your own roots as a religion before you profess it as "truth". Did you know the Roman Catholic church invented the idea of a hell? Religion has always been used by the elite societies to aide them in bringing a populace to their service under "moral" obligation. If that didn't work, the sword did. Islam was created to dissolve the rift between the Persians and Arabs, uniting them against Hindus and Europeans. Christianity was created to ensnare all of Europe under one rule (Catholicism). The Founding Fathers were explicitly deliberate in not creating a "Christian" nation. They applied reason and logic, not theology.

    July 25, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
    • life5678

      Actually, many copies and fragments of the books of the New Testament which were writen between 160 AD and 300 AD have been found to be nearly identical to the Bibles we have today. And Hell was invented by the Jews, it was a large pit where they burned corpses 24 hours a day and the flames never went out. And Are you saying that in all the universe that there could not be any being that is smarter than you? or humans? that's rather vain don't you think. Just how smart could other beings be? How big? how old? how great? Smart enough to create life itself, such as us? Smart enough to be considered a god? A being that perhaps was born 100 billion years ago? How smart could that being be? Simple minds, simple answers.

      July 25, 2012 at 3:04 pm |
    • Rob

      Nothing wrong with believing in a more advanced race that created us. The majority of humanity, myself included, believe in that. I don't, however, believe in an all-meddling singular, supreme deity that listens to every football pre-game prayer, pre-concert, pre-business transaction, parking space, job opportunity, etc. That is very selfish and idiotic of any human to think that some greater source out there really gives a care about such petty matters. I believe in the clock-maker theory: set it and forget it. We were, after all, given the ability to choose, think, decide, rationalize and apply logic above all other beasts on Earth. Religion is fake and for the weak. It is written by man, forced by man, ruled by man, twisted by man and erased by man.

      July 25, 2012 at 11:45 pm |
  11. Mark Kuck

    Maybe He was the reason there were 12 deaths instead of 80. Did you ever think of that?

    July 25, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
    • Rob

      Why not 0 instead of 12?

      July 25, 2012 at 11:49 pm |
  12. Sergio

    Their is no GOD. Believing in god is like believing in Santa Claus and the tooth fairy. Please grow up and take a look at the evidence rather than basing everything in a fairy tale book called "the bible".

    July 25, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
    • christ_child1991

      ok if there is no god then explain how the universe came to be. I know god is real and the concept of santa clause is real he is based off of a man who was ST. Nicholas. This fairy tale you call the bible is real if it was fake how come things written over 2000 years ago are happening now just like "the fairy tale predicted" huh because it is not a fairy tale.

      July 25, 2012 at 3:16 pm |
    • life5678

      Are you saying that in all the universe that there could not be any being that is smarter than you? or humans? that's rather vain don't you think? Just how smart could other beings in the universe be? Is there some kind of limit? How big? how old? how great? Smart enough to create life itself, such as us? Smart enough to be considered a god? A being that perhaps was born 100 billion years ago? How smart could that being be? Humans have been civilized, conscious of our thoughts, for about 6000 years, look how far we have come. So are you saying that if humanity survived another 100 billion years, we won't be able to create life in our own image in that time? Perhaps populate a planet with that life? Wouldn't we be God then? The universe had no beginning so beings could have learned to live forever as we surely will, they could have been around for a trillion years, you have no idea. The biggest, smartest, oldest, most experienced being in the universe is God. So never say never.

      July 25, 2012 at 3:19 pm |
  13. ME II

    If God exists, wasn't He just as much with the killer as with the victims.

    July 25, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
  14. John in Utah

    God, Satan, Heaven, Hell are all Man's poor attempt to define the undefinable, mainly the physical creation of all that "is". None of those things exist and because they don't exist discussion of them is irrelevent. This man was one of many crazy people who have no connection to their fellow creatures and so they live a life driven by impulses. To believe anything else is to make excuses for what are patently insane acts of a deranged man.

    July 25, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
    • life5678

      That's a rather limited view don't you think? Are you saying that in all the universe that there could not be any being that is smarter than you? or humans? that's rather vain don't you think? Just how smart could other beings in the universe be? Is there some kind of limit? How big? how old? how great? Smart enough to create life itself, such as us? Smart enough to be considered a god? A being that perhaps was born 100 billion years ago? How smart could that being be? Humans have been civilized, conscious of our thoughts, for about 6000 years, look how far we have come. So are you saying that if humanity survived another 100 billion years, we won't be able to create life in our own image in that time? Perhaps populate a planet with that life? Wouldn't we be God then? The universe had no beginning so beings could have learned to live forever as we surely will, they could have been around for a trillion years, you have no idea. The biggest, smartest, oldest, most experienced being in the universe is God. So never say never.

      July 25, 2012 at 3:23 pm |
  15. Betty

    Satan is alive and well. God gave human beings free will, to even reject Him and listen to Satan. God is omnipresent, He does not reject us. But He did not promise His followers an easy life either. Fortunately, we human beings have each other in times of grief, sorrow, loss, suffering...this is God's presence in all of us at work. The evil in this world will always be with us, because of free will. Please do not blame God for the evils that men do.

    July 25, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
    • christ_child1991

      AMEN AMEN AMEN

      July 25, 2012 at 3:18 pm |
  16. joe

    gay 0bama the anti-Christ and gay Bush the False Prophet.

    Times up gay 0bama July 2012..

    "The Beast"-->gay 0bama....

    "Men worshiped the dragon, for he had given his authority to the beast [see Emperor], and they worshiped the beast, saying, "Who is like the beast, and who can fight against it?" And the beast was given a mouth uttering haughty and blasphemous words, and it was allowed to exercise authority for forty-two months; it opened its mouth to utter blasphemies against God, blaspheming His Name and His dwelling, that is, those who dwell in heaven. Also it was allowed to make war on the saints and to conquer them. And authority was given it over every tribe and people and tongue and nation, and all who dwell on earth will worship it, every one whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb that was slain." (Revelation 13:4-8 RSV)

    (Revelation 13:4-8 RSV)

    42 months-->Times up in July 2012

    July 25, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
    • Rob

      your paperback novel is fiction, composed of a collection of borrowed themes from other civilizations for the sole purpose of dominating an entire conquered/subdued population

      July 25, 2012 at 11:53 pm |
  17. Michael

    Situations like the Colorado shooting have us as society asking why do bad things happen to good people. But when you look at it, this has been going on for centuries and the question that we are asking today was asked of God by Habakkuk more like a complaint in the Book of Habakkuk which was written about 605 B.C and God provides an answer to his 2 question and ours today. Here was Habakkuk's Complaint: Habakkuk 1 vs 2-4 – How long, Lord, must I call for help,but you do not listen? Or cry out to you, "Violence!"but you do not save? Why do you make me look at injustice?Why do you tolerate wrongdoing?
    Destruction and violence are before me; there is strife, and conflict abounds Therefore the law is paralyzed, and justice never prevails.The wicked hem in the righteous,so that justice is perverted. Here is Gods answer in verse 5 – "Look at the nations and watch—
    and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told. Habakkuks second complaint 1 vs 13- Your eyes are too pure to look on evil; you cannot tolerate wrongdoing. Why then do you tolerate the treacherous? Why are you silent while the wicked swallow up those more righteous than themselves? Gods response 2 vs 3- For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay. So considering all the bad things that goes on in the world like Colorado God says there will come a time when these people will face him for their actions and that his word will not prove false. It may seem to us that people get away with things but God proves here that it isn't so..

    July 25, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
  18. 1Greensix

    Mitt says he lives on the planet Kolob, so I suppose he was there with his Five Wives, just sitting around in his holy underwear drinking a non-alcoholic beverage. He ONLY looks after Mormons. Why don't the rest of "You People" get it? God loves automatic weapons. That's why he invented them. So the NRA and its followers can kill minority men.

    July 25, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
  19. Melvin Painter

    How the hck can a liberal media like CNN talk about religion. They are the ones wanting to stomp any though of God in our society. Oh yeah, only if it fits their agenda.

    Just remember, America's first kenyan clown dictator stopped going to church because he attained his political goal. He really is a muslim, but used Christianity as a political tool.

    July 25, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
    • 1Greensix

      You Wouldn't use religion to advance your lunacy though would you?

      July 25, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
  20. bigbill8517

    I suppose we could all be robots with no free will.

    July 25, 2012 at 2:33 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
Advertisement
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.