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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. Chester

    Where was man?

    July 25, 2012 at 6:38 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      That is what I always wonder.

      July 25, 2012 at 6:39 pm |
    • WOTAN

      BINGO

      July 25, 2012 at 6:45 pm |
  2. refuznik

    "or at lease": Please proofread your articles. Thanks.

    July 25, 2012 at 6:38 pm |
  3. Everyone is an idiot

    For all you atheist fools, and for all you religiously affiliated fools, answer me this. For the atheists, you believe in science no? The cause and effect law sound familiar? Well then, who or what created the first atom in order for the big bang to begin? Can't answer hmm. For the religious affiliated ones, you all believe in science as well? If not, that your creator created everything, it wasn't by chance? Then who or what created Jehovah/Allah/Yaheweh/God? If neither of you can answer, then both parties have no merit over the other. Atheist can't tell me the bible is a book of fairy tales when they themselves cannot answer a fundemental question of their own, neither can they view themselves as better then religious ones. Religious ones cannot tell me the bible is real when they cannot answer there own fundemental questions, neither can they claim atheists are foolish or ignorant as well. Someone answer this without either going on to bash the other affiliations beliefs without any soid undeniable eviden the other is wrong, insulting myself and others, or making a rebuttal that amounts to "it is because it is". And to t3chn, I will continue posting this until I get a straight answer, instead of just foolishness from people like yu who still haven't answered it wihout resorting to bashing religion to show atheism is right and others doing vice versa.

    July 25, 2012 at 6:37 pm |
    • JP0

      Science knows more about the creation of the universe than you can ever comprehend. The difference between science and religion is that science tries to explain observations of the universe. When they find that their explanations deviate from their observations they are willing to try to improve their theories to explain the new observations. Religion on the other hand is a set of fixed beliefs, not even the same set for every person. Religion looks for events that conform to their beliefs and rejects those that don't. For me science has the better explanation, incomplete tough it may be, of the operation of the universe.

      July 25, 2012 at 6:56 pm |
    • Servant

      In response to your question, "Who or what created God?", the Bible says that God "is." The name Jehovah means "I am." Thus, He was not created. He simply has always existed. Is this answer satisfactory?

      July 25, 2012 at 7:01 pm |
  4. Is our xian children learning?

    Why do xians wear crucifixes (torture devices) around their necks as jewelry? Don't tell me it's to remind them how JC died, everyone knows how. But it was the manner in which all criminals were put to death in those days, it's not exclusive to JC – do they know that?

    There are certainly many other xian symbols they could choose to wear as jewelry, even some to represent his suffering. How about little thorn crowns (less lethal and brutal), or even his face? Maybe the date he died? But a torture and capital punishment device? Around their necks as jewelry, even sometimes adorned with little gemstones?

    It's disgusting to me. Every time I see one I get sick to my stomach. Just answer me this xians: If JC was hung, would you wear little nooses around your necks every day?

    July 25, 2012 at 6:37 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      Why do you care so much? No one is asking you to wear one and I get the feeling no matter what anyone does tell you any answer is never going to be satisfactory to you.

      July 25, 2012 at 6:42 pm |
    • Is our xian children learning?

      It's called curiosity, something xians seldom have. I am genuinely curious about it. Your "feelings" aside, I wonder if they would be creeped out about it if they realize what they are actually doing. I certainly am.

      July 25, 2012 at 6:50 pm |
  5. varun

    This is not news. Heck, this is not even opinion piece. This is a deliberate attack on faith and an attempt to divide Americans when they need to be united in wake of this tragedy. Pathetic CNN! Coming from a "reputable" news organization like CNN speaks volumes about abysmal state of journalism in this day and age.

    July 25, 2012 at 6:36 pm |
    • Everyone is an idiot

      Exactly!

      July 25, 2012 at 6:46 pm |
  6. hockeyrocque

    Adam & Eve? Apple? Serpent? Do you really believe this?

    July 25, 2012 at 6:36 pm |
  7. DR Blackinstien

    For all the ATHEIST on this blog.
    You don't and never will have all the answers, BUT GOD does!
    Stop using your lil pea brain to explain analize God.
    Were you there when HE created the universe and all in it? JOHN 1:1
    You need to find HIM(Jesus Christ) before you die and open your eyes in Hell.

    Many times in life people put themselves in bad situations and open the door for evil into their lives.The movie itself had an evil overtone, "The Dark Night". God is Light! Satan is Darkness! Think about it!

    Many people today love the Darkness rather than the Light. Yes, just a movie. But evil needs a door to enter. James Holmes found that door as he was called by satan that DARK night. Peoplelike Holmes are not sick or insane, their possessed by evil. Satan. Many will say after that they heard voices speaking to them. Evil can manifest itself anywhere and anytime. Why would God allow it to happen? The real question should be, what are people doing in their lives that invoke evil and allow satan to take control over them.

    For without a doubt, just as sure as there is a GOD, there is a Devil who takes control of many today to do evil acts of murder, and other perverted evil acts.

    The Doctor

    July 25, 2012 at 6:36 pm |
    • JP0

      Another brainwashed moron. How come you never learned to think for yourself?

      July 25, 2012 at 6:49 pm |
  8. PhilG

    God was busy getting the machine gun magazine to jam.

    God was busy getting the guy to hold the door shut to the adjacent movie theater.

    Gos was busy trying to break the hold Satan had on Holmes soul long enough so he would tell the police his apartment was a massive bomb.

    This life is a place of free will where God expects us to walk on the right path and He freely gives us the option to ask Him for guidance and care to walk on that path.

    But asking God for anything has become increasingly less cool as catch words as inner strength and the freedom to do as we please replace " This is the way and the light-walk in my ways and you will prosper".

    However to make it a place of free will,he cannot intervene everytime a soul is hijacked by satan,whom this world was given too as an alternate place to live since he hated God and Heaven and so much.

    God is Here and God always has been and always will be.

    You just have to find where He lives in your heart to know He never left you alone in all of this.

    July 25, 2012 at 6:36 pm |
  9. CRC

    God doesn't settle all accounts everyday but at the end of your life I can tell you it will happen.

    July 25, 2012 at 6:34 pm |
    • Ottercat

      You can't tell me anything. You know nothing.

      July 25, 2012 at 6:40 pm |
  10. justme

    harley has it right and this world has not appreciated our creator so we will have to wait for Jehovah's day to come for his Kingdom to rule and abyss satan and his demons and destroy his followers. but true believers have been sharing what the bible really teaches and all who want to know should ask sincere questions when his witnesses call or go to JW.org and learn more right now.

    July 25, 2012 at 6:34 pm |
    • JP0

      More fairy tales!

      July 25, 2012 at 6:47 pm |
  11. Nick

    God was there. In the blood, in the walls, in the floor, the specks of dust, the bullets ripping the air, the air itself, the powder propellant in each round, the metal and plastic in the weapons themselves, the minds of the victims, the murderer, everything. Every single possible thing in existence is God, no He or She or It. So get over the idea that anything happens without God, but also get over the idea that God DOES anything. Pantheism. Poke holes in this, seriously, but I doubt anyone really can.

    July 25, 2012 at 6:33 pm |
  12. Chris

    Very easy to understand. Say it with me now: There. Is. No. God. Easiest thing in the world to understand.

    July 25, 2012 at 6:31 pm |
    • Unknown

      Need real proof not opinion or "proof" based on emotion.

      Atheism is weak.

      July 25, 2012 at 6:34 pm |
    • CRC

      Anyone who thinks Jesus Christ is not real is in denial but one day you will find out you were wrong and that will be the worst mistake you ever made.

      July 25, 2012 at 6:37 pm |
    • DR Blackinstien

      Say it out loud "I am a FOOL".
      "The FOOL has said there is no GOD"
      You need to find him(Jesus Christ) before you die and open your eyes in Hell.
      Look up Fool!
      The Doctor

      July 25, 2012 at 6:43 pm |
    • JP0

      @CRC & @Dr. Blackinstein: OOOOOHHH! You have scared me into believing!

      July 25, 2012 at 6:45 pm |
  13. Cyle

    This tragedy occurred because a MAN decided one morning that he wanted to kill people. No mythological dieties were present, no good fairies could have stopped him, no demi-gods were present on the earth to magically swoop in and save the day, and there were no devils, deamons, or djinn helping him to commit this heinous act.

    A man did evil upon this world, good men and women stopped him, good men and women will judge him, and he will be incarcerated for his acts. someday he will die and that will be the end of him.

    July 25, 2012 at 6:30 pm |
    • JP0

      My sentiments exactly.

      July 25, 2012 at 6:32 pm |
  14. RyanK

    Where was god when this happened: http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2012/07/24/philly-priest-gets-3-to-6-years-in-abuse-case/

    GOD IS NOT REAL

    July 25, 2012 at 6:30 pm |
    • jago

      Free will dude. We all have it......popes, priests, princes, and peasants (like me).......all of us. God does not always prevent us from exercising our free will, but He will someday judge us all. I pray that you will choose to believe in Him and accept His gift of forgiveness and salvation before that day.

      July 25, 2012 at 6:38 pm |
    • WOTAN

      Or, since the only way to control us is to take away our free will, which actually ends our existence and kills us, there is not much He can do. I seem to remember something about Judgement for each of us and then a decision on where we get to live next time. He didn't stop any bombings, wars or anything else, ever, not even the crucifiction of who? You might wanna think about your actions here – just in case they affect their Judgement there.

      July 25, 2012 at 6:42 pm |
  15. One one

    The simplest and most obvious answer is usually the correct one.

    There are no gods.

    July 25, 2012 at 6:30 pm |
    • Chad

      or you could read the bible and find out the truth..

      July 25, 2012 at 6:31 pm |
    • Hmmmmm

      I guess God hates the illiterate then...

      July 25, 2012 at 6:34 pm |
    • JP0

      @Chad: What makes you the arbiter of what's true and what's not true? From my perspective you have been brainwashed to believe in fairy tales.

      July 25, 2012 at 6:34 pm |
    • Chad

      @JP0 "What makes you the arbiter of what's true and what's not true"

      =>I didnt say "listen to me, I know what's true", I said, "read the bible, it's true"

      July 25, 2012 at 6:37 pm |
    • CRC

      You are correct, there is only one true God and He created all and will judge all, His name is Jesus Christ.

      July 25, 2012 at 6:38 pm |
    • JP0

      @Chad: In my mind the Bible is the work of man. What makes it more true than any other work of man? Which Bible do you mean?

      July 25, 2012 at 6:41 pm |
    • Hmmmmm

      Do you really want to take the chance that not slurping my penis juice may end you up in a horrific afterlife where you will be subjected to 24hrs a day of non-stop directors cut Battlefield Earth showings while a dozen tiny 2 foot tall versions of Snookie rub up against your legs staining them in fake tan...

      I mean, do you really want to take that chance? Just email me for a free sample, start your salivation today!!

      July 25, 2012 at 6:48 pm |
    • Chad

      @JP0 "In my mind the Bible is the work of man"
      @Chad "based on a reading of it, or just based on... nothing?

      @JP0 "Which Bible do you mean?"
      @Chad "The original Hebrew/Greek if you can read it, any of the translations are fine (NIV, KJV, NKJV, etc...)

      July 25, 2012 at 6:51 pm |
    • Mass Debater

      @JP0 "In my mind the Bible is the work of man"
      @Chad "based on a reading of it, or just based on... nothing?

      Read it, more than three times cover to cover from three different translations. I have concluded that it is chock full of rhetorical principles that when loosely applied can improve human life. However it is mixxed with massive amounts of human contrived control mechanisms and traditional rigamarole that have enabled a handful the power to control the masses for nearly two thousand years. It's like a better homes and gardens "better living" book hijacked by the Nazi Party and used to force others to conform to their agenda just because they claim they have the best lawn tips.

      July 25, 2012 at 7:01 pm |
    • Chad

      @Mass Debater "Read it[the bible], more than three times cover to cover from three different translations"

      =>not to put to fine a point on it, but I don't believe you 🙂

      Easy question to answer (without googling) if you had read it: what was the point of the rules detailed in the "Law", what does the bible say is the reason that those laws were inst ituted by God?

      July 25, 2012 at 7:12 pm |
    • Mass Debater

      You can believe what you want Chad. I was a pastor for 28 years before I stopped lying to myself and others. It was an exercise in spiritual mass debation making myself feel good with lies of heaven for myself and friends and promises of retribution for my enemies, and I just knew I was right, in fact I had to be right!! The good book says so!! I feel sorry for you Chad that you are still wallowing in the mire of religions lies, spending your life listening to the Church is truely throwing pearls before swine.

      July 25, 2012 at 7:24 pm |
    • Mass Debater

      Oh, and to answer your question, the law was set as an example of what the Jews would never be able to live up to so that it could be fullfilled by christ and his ransom sacrafice for our sins. Was that what you were looking for?

      July 25, 2012 at 7:27 pm |
    • Chad

      notice you didnt answer the question...
      😉

      July 25, 2012 at 7:27 pm |
    • Chad

      @Mass Debater "Oh, and to answer your question, the law was set as an example of what the Jews would never be able to live up to so that it could be fullfilled by christ and his ransom sacrafice for our sins. Was that what you were looking for?"

      =>correct, and not bad.
      So, what exactly in the bible did you find didnt correspond with reality?

      July 25, 2012 at 7:29 pm |
    • Mass Debater

      Believe it or not Chad, people can actually read the bible and not come to the same trained conclusion the church has been pushing or even find that it's not the work of anyone near divine.

      July 25, 2012 at 7:30 pm |
    • Chad

      My question was, what exactly in the bible did you find didnt correspond with reality?
      What convinced you that the God of Abraham doesnt exist?

      July 25, 2012 at 7:37 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Chad

      What's the point of anyone pointing out anything in the bible to you that you won't agree with, especially when you can pull out the magic words of "context, translation, or metaphor". The Big Book of Multiple Choice can be spun to support any position.

      July 25, 2012 at 7:48 pm |
    • Chad

      @hawaiiguest "What's the point of anyone pointing out anything in the bible to you that you won't agree with"
      @Chad "I'm curious, I have seen people turn their back on Christianity due to problems with the church, or people in the church, but it's extremely rare to do it based on reading the bible in depth.

      ==============
      @hawaiiguest "especially when you can pull out the magic words of "context, translation, or metaphor". The Big Book of Multiple Choice can be spun to support any position."
      @Chad "ok, make it support atheism them.."

      July 25, 2012 at 7:54 pm |
    • Mass Debater

      Let's start with some easy ones. First, the account Moses gives in Genesis can only be taken as allagory due to it's serious time flaws and a global flood account which science does not support. The Adam and Eve story can only be just that, a story, and one that Moses attempts to link from his time in the desert while writing it all the way back to both Adam and Noah with a lineage story that gives the new nation of israel a foundation that did not exist prior to their Exodus. The rest is an amazing tale which I believe is as mixxed with historical fact as any ancient writings, from the sumerians to eqyptians and babylonians. They all have works written about themselves and their God's and their God's interaction interwoven with their history. So yes, there is a lot to gleen, but why should we take this account as fact while discounting the tales of An & Ki coupling to create Enlil which are just as valid creation myths mixxed with moral rhetoric.

      July 25, 2012 at 7:57 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Chad

      John 6:44
      No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.

      You could choose to interpret this as God chooses who will be drawn to the gift of faith, and that is part of the plan. Be whatever you want (including atheist), since God will draw who he chooses, and there is no questioning his will.

      July 25, 2012 at 8:04 pm |
    • Really-O?

      @Mass Debater –

      Very well constructed thread; however, you do realize you're wasting your time with Chad, right? He has no intention of engaging in honest discourse with you.

      July 25, 2012 at 8:04 pm |
    • Chad

      @hawaiiguest "John 6:44 No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day. You could choose to interpret this as God chooses who will be drawn to the gift of faith, and that is part of the plan. Be whatever you want (including atheist), since God will draw who he chooses, and there is no questioning his will.

      @Chad "what I asked, was for you to spin it so that it supported atheism (the claim that God does not exist)., in other words, spin the bible so that it says God doesnt exist.

      You made the case that an atheist could get into heaven..

      July 25, 2012 at 8:09 pm |
    • Chad

      @Mass Debater "First, the account Moses gives in Genesis can only be taken as allagory due to it's serious time flaws and a global flood account which science does not support. The Adam and Eve story can only be just that, a story, and one that Moses attempts to link from his time in the desert while writing it all the way back to both Adam and Noah with a lineage story that gives the new nation of israel a foundation that did not exist prior to their Exodus."

      =>very good questions, addressing it will take more than the 1min I have right now, I'll be back latter tonight.

      July 25, 2012 at 8:11 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Chad

      1) You didn't specify that it would need to support the state of being atheist, merely atheism. I did so, in the sense that it does not matter if you believe or don't.
      2) Also would depend on what way you mean "support".
      3) Even so, it still supports me being an atheist, since gods will is what matters.

      I have met your challenge, just not in the way you thought.

      July 25, 2012 at 8:15 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Really-O

      Do you think that I met the requirements Chad wanted?

      July 25, 2012 at 8:17 pm |
    • Really-O?

      Regarding Chad's, "very good questions, addressing it will take more than the 1min I have right now, I'll be back latter tonight."

      Apparently Chad needs to search the web for some "data" (I'm dumbfounded that he still missuses that term) to refute Mass Debater's post. Classic Chad.

      July 25, 2012 at 8:17 pm |
    • Mass Debater

      There are also of course, theological debates that I believe at least disprove most Christians view of their God, that of claiming God is love and justice while simultaneously claiming he is sending souls to an eternity of torture not only based on the possible sins they may have committed in the short few years they had on this planet, but for just for the sin of not accepting him as your savior and possibly thinking to other deities or perhaps none. This is of course not possible by any stretch of at least our definition of love and justice.

      July 25, 2012 at 8:33 pm |
    • Really-O?

      @hawaiiguest – "Do you think that I met the requirements Chad wanted?"

      Certainly you did; however, what's the point in engaging Chad directly? He's as dishonest as they come. My advice is to simply point out his incessant stream of B.S. and move on to fruitful interactions.

      Cheers

      July 25, 2012 at 8:33 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Really-O

      Well I took that challenge to show not only Chad, but everyone else out there how easy it is to spin things in the bible to literally support anything, even atheism.

      July 25, 2012 at 8:41 pm |
    • Really-O?

      @hawaiiguest –

      Yes...well done.

      July 25, 2012 at 8:49 pm |
    • Chad

      if anyone is still watching this thread, the problem is I have been just swamped at work, but I will definitely be back (probably late this afternoon) to give my views on @Mass Debater's good questions
      – veracity of the Genesis account
      – perceived incongruity of "God is love and justice while simultaneously claiming he is sending souls to an eternity of torture not only based on the possible sins they may have committed in the short few years they had on this planet, but for just for the sin of not accepting him as your savior and possibly thinking to other deities or perhaps none. This is of course not possible by any stretch of at least our definition of love and justice."

      hope you stay tuned..

      @Hawaii: I actually think there is decent theological basis for making the case that atheists (on earth) will get a second chance (after death) to accept Jesus Christ.

      My job for you (since you made the claim you could do it) is to spin the bible so that is says God doesnt exist.

      July 26, 2012 at 10:45 am |
    • Mass Debater

      "spin the bible so that is says God doesnt exist."

      Now that's a tall order. Spin the book that makes the claim for God so that it makes the claim for not God. I think you might be missing the point here Chad. The bible can be used to show inconsistencies, incongruities and multiple versions of the ancient Hebrew's God from the one who lashes out with death to any blasphemer to the one who turns the other cheek after being spat upon and slapped. But to make it "prove" there is no God would be like asking a reader to find the part of Lord of the Rings that says the one ring never really existed and the tale is just the beer soaked blathering of an unkempt hobbit...

      July 26, 2012 at 11:56 am |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Chad

      Define god and define exists. What are the intrinsic characteristics of those two terms?

      July 26, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
    • Chad

      @Mass Debater “The account Moses gives in Genesis can only be taken as allegory due to its serious time flaws”
      @Chad “I completely disagree, here’s why:
      if a person adds up the genealogies in genesis you are going to arrive at a “birth date” of Adam somewhere around 4000BC. Is it valid to do that? Was Enoch the direct father of Methuselah as one would first think upon reading
      When Enoch had lived 65 years, he became the father of Methuselah Genesis 5,

      or is Enoch some grandparent, great grandparent, great-great grandparent, and on and on.

      There are two things to consider:
      1. Hebrew genealogies are not recorded for the same purpose as we record genealogies today, telescoping is common and accepted, so simply adding up the recorded numbers is to misuse the text:

      genealogies presented in the Bible are not and were never intended to be complete, exhaustive lists of ancestry. Instead, they were meant to establish lineage by highlighting key figures linking one individual with another. The genealogies found in Scripture are commonly–if not invariably–telescoped, a process in which some names are included and others are omitted for brevity's sake or as unnecessary for establishing the particular claim being made (whether that claim has primarily familial, religious, or political purpose). Key to understanding this telescoping of the genealogies is the recognition that the Hebrew words generally translated 'father,' 'son,' and 'begat' (or 'became the father of') and their Greek New Testament counterparts have much broader meaning than the precise ones the English words have. The Hebrew ab covers not only father but also grandfather or ancestor; ben means not only son but grandson or descendent; yalad does not mean precisely 'gave birth to,' but rather 'became the ancestor of' or 'gave rise to the line of.' Interestingly, we accept (at least subconsciously) the concept of telescoping even in English, as when we read the genealogy of Jesus in Matthew 1:1,
      The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.
      This is a typical Hebrew genealogy. It takes the identical form as that of genealogies throughout Scripture. It is not meant to convey the number of generations between Abraham and Jesus, but merely to establish ancestry. In this case, it is so obvious even to the modern reader that we are not even tempted to apply to it our own expectations of genealogies. But when we turn to a longer Hebrew genealogy, we may be tempted to treat it as an exhaustive list. We must avoid this temptation. In almost every case (or perhaps all cases) where there is enough other biblical evidence to assess the completeness of a genealogy recorded in Scripture, we discover that telescoping has occurred. In addition, no clues are ever given as to whether or not a particular genealogy is complete (in modern terms) or telescoped. And the amount of telescoping can be quite significant in terms of generations omitted. Nonetheless, comparison among genealogies and assessing other historical evidence from Scripture leads to the conclusion (by conservative Bible scholars) that biblical genealogies are generally not less than 10% complete.

      So, in other words, this reading of the scripture is perfectly acceptable:
      When Enoch had lived 65 years, he became the father of the person who’s descendant would ultimately be Methuselah Genesis 5

      You may think it isnt correct because of your expectation that the purpose of a genealogy is completeness, but that just simply isnt the case when it comes to ancient Hebrew genealogies. It just isnt.

      ==============
      @Mass Debater “and a global flood account which science does not support.”
      @Chad “you need to be careful on this claim, because what science doesn’t support is a global flood 6,000 years ago.

      1. Do we see geological evidence of a global flood earlier than that? Remember, you can’t just add up generations to arrive at when Noah was born, the reality is, we have absolutely no idea when Noah lived.

      2. Alternatively, the text can also support the interpretation that the flood was local, the entire world as the author knew it (in Hebrew, the word for "earth" can mean locality as well). For example: in the statement of Cyrus, note that his kingdom, though great, did not encompass the entire globe

      Thus says King Cyrus of Persia: The LORD, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth, and he has charged me to build him a house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Whoever is among you of all his people, may the LORD his God be with him! Let him go up (2 Chronicles 36:23).

      Scholars embrace the view that The Hebrew term eretz translated earth in Genesis 6-8 should be translated land instead of earth. The word eretz is used more than 2,500 times in the Old Testament with 80% of the time being translated land rather than earth. Therefore, the Hebrew writers employed the word with its much more restricted meaning about four times as frequently as they employed it with a broader meaning. What is in view, in the Flood account, is not the entire earth, but the land around Noah. If the word land is subst.tuted for earth in the Flood account then the passage has an entirely different sense.
      Consider how the passage would then be understood.

      Now the land was corrupt in God's sight, and the land was filled with violence. And God saw that the land was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted its ways upon the land. For my part, I am going to bring a flood of waters on the land, to destroy from under heaven all flesh in which is the breath of life; everything that is on the land shall die (Genesis 6:11,12,17).

      The point is as follows: the extent of the Flood cannot be decisively settled based upon the Hebrew word for earth.

      ======================
      @Mass Debater “God is love and justice while simultaneously claiming he is sending souls to an eternity of torture not only based on the possible sins they may have committed in the short few years they had on this planet, but for just for the sin of not accepting him as your savior and possibly thinking to other deities or perhaps none. This is of course not possible by any stretch of at least our definition of love and justice."
      @Chad “Couple points:
      1. We all sin, there isn’t a single one of us who hasn’t, as such we are alienated/enemies/estranged from Him

      2. God will allow us to make the choice to be separated from Him
      So basically, you can stay where you are (estranged) or accept the offer of reconciliation (Jesus).
      Love and justice only makes sense when you understand the position we are in (alienated/enemies/estranged). Justice demands doing something about it, His great love for us was demonstrated by His method of reconciliation (not requiring anything from us, beyond accepting the gift).

      July 26, 2012 at 5:08 pm |
    • Chad

      @Mass Debator "The bible can be used to show inconsistencies, incongruities and multiple versions of the ancient Hebrew's God from the one who lashes out with death to any blasphemer to the one who turns the other cheek after being spat upon and slapped"

      @Chad "God is loving and long suffering, but not forever, He does judge.
      Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God: sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in his kindness Romans 11

      The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance 2 Peter 3

      That theme runs throughout the bible, God is patient and long suffering, but not forever.

      July 26, 2012 at 5:17 pm |
    • Chad

      Some interesting reading...:

      The scientific community doesn't wholly doubt the possibility of a great flood, but it has yet to answer the questions of where and when it might have happened.
      There are two scientific theories in existence, one suggesting flooding around the area that is now the Black Sea and the other attributing devastating floods to a comet that struck the Earth. Let's first look at the more popular hypothesis: the flooding of the Black Sea, also known as Noah's Flood Hypothesis.

      In the late 1990s, Columbia University geologists William Ryan and Walter Pitman proposed that a great flood in the Middle East resulted from rising water levels at the end of the last Ice Age about 7,000 years ago. At that time, the Black Sea was a freshwater lake and the lands around it were farmlands. When the European glaciers melted, the Mediterranean Sea overflowed with a force 200 times greater than that of Niagara Falls, converting the Black Sea from fresh to salt water and flooding the area [source 1="National" 2="Geographic" language=":"][/source].

      National Geographic Society explorer Robert Ballard, inspired by Ryan and Pitman's hypothesis, has discovered supporting physical evidence, including an underwater river valley and ancient shoreline as well as Stone Age structures and tools beneath the Black Sea. His team has also unearthed fossils of now-extinct freshwater species dating back some 7,460 to 15,500 years.

      While this theory is still being reviewed, Bruce Masse, an environmental archaeologist at Los Alamos National Laboratory, put forth his own theory about the great flood. He hypothesizes that more comets and meteors than we know have hit Earth throughout its history. He believes the seeds of great flood stories may have sprouted when a comet hit our planet about 5,000 years ago.
      Masse's presumption is that a 3-mile (4.8-kilometer) wide comet crashed into the ocean off the coast of what is now Madagascar. The result? Worldwide chaos, including violent 600-foot (182.8-meter) high tsunamis and massive hurricanes spawned when superheated water vapor and aerosol particulates shot into jet streams. All of this terror was accompanied by a week of darkness caused by material expelled into the atmosphere.

      Masse's theory derives from clues in cultural flood myths, including ancient petroglyphs, drawings and historical records, but it's the physical evidence he's after to make the case. Since Masse presented his idea in 2004, he's found support in the geological community.
      A 600-foot high tsunami would surely leave behind a geological calling card - and that it did. When waves are generated by such a significant impact, they create wedge-shaped configurations in the sand, known as chevrons, and when the Holocene Impact Working Group went looking for them with satellite imagery, they were able to locate such formations in Africa and Asia. Carbon dating fossils found in the chevrons will help determine if they fit within the proposed 5,000-year timeline.

      July 26, 2012 at 8:05 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Chad

      Are you proposing that as "evidence" of a worldwide flood? If so, then are you proposing it as fitting with the biblical account?

      July 26, 2012 at 8:11 pm |
    • Mass Debater

      Chad, you are just making my point's for me. The flood account time frame according to the bible requires clever posturing and redefining what the ancient Hebrews meant. I understand how the lineages worked and what their purpose was, that of identifying those of David's lineage who might be the promised messiah. It was also used to prove their connection to the founder of the religion, Abraham. However, the records Moses records were not begun until after the exodus from Egypt and were supposedly "inspired" of God, so why would God have left out persons for brevity or convenience? Why would he have given his chosen people a flawed account of the creation myth and the flood story claiming it was global causing it's defenders to come up with other non-biblical explanations to explain the error like maybe it wasn't really global but local and just seemed global to those persons, even though it wasn't those persons writing anything down but was supposedly inspired by a creator who should have had a better view of events than ended up being recorded.

      And when you say " God is patient and long suffering, but not forever." does that include the people he commanded his Israelites to wipe out, man women and child? How much time did he give those children to convert before running them through with his chosen peoples swords?

      July 26, 2012 at 8:23 pm |
    • Mass Debater

      I might be more inclined to believe the God inspired part if the bible started more like this:

      "1 In the beginning, 14 billion years ago, God created the heavens and 10 billion after that he created the earth. 2 Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. 3 And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light, since it had already reached the earth before the earths creation seeing as it had 10 billion years to travel. 4 God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness, for physics had yet to be invented. 5 God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning —the first day." Gen 1:1-5

      July 26, 2012 at 8:35 pm |
    • Chad

      @Mass Debater "The flood account time frame according to the bible requires clever posturing and redefining what the ancient Hebrews meant"
      @Chad "hmm.. What is your understanding based on reading the bible, of what the date of the flood was?"

      ============
      @Mass Debater "Moses records were not begun until after the exodus from Egypt and were supposedly "inspired" of God, so why would God have left out persons for brevity or convenience? "
      @Chad "so.. what is your understanding of how the narrative of Noah was transmitted to Moses? He had never heard it before God said "NOAH, WRITE THIS DOWN"? Prior to Moses, nothing was written down? this was all news to Moses?

      ============
      @Mass Debater Why would he have given his chosen people a flawed account of the creation myth and the flood story claiming it was global causing it's defenders to come up with other non-biblical explanations to explain the error like maybe it wasn't really global but local and just seemed global to those persons"
      @Chad "in my mind, the question of it being global or local is unanswered. How is that an error, and why would that question being unanswered bother you?

      As far as I can see, your arguments revolve around "you would have written it down differently", not "what is written is demonstrably incorrect"

      ============
      @Mass Debater "And when you say " God is patient and long suffering, but not forever." does that include the people he commanded his Israelites to wipe out, man women and child? How much time did he give those children to convert before running them through with his chosen peoples swords?"
      @Chad "YES, couple things:
      a. you are viewing this life as it, the totality of everything. It isnt, God moved them from one reality to another. That's what the bible says.
      b. we are ALL GUILTY and deserving of the exact same "treatment", view the fact that you and I havent as an opportunity to accept the sacrifice of Jesus. DO NOT say "why didnt they get the same degree of long suffering that I did".
      c. this isnt in the bible anywhere that I know of, but I believe that if you die prior to the age of accountability, you arent condemned.

      July 26, 2012 at 10:24 pm |
    • Chad

      @Mass Debater "I might be more inclined to believe the God inspired part if the bible started more like this: "1 In the beginning, 14 billion years ago, God created the heavens and 10 billion after that he created the earth. 2 Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters."

      =>actually, that is precisely the exegesis known as the "Gap theory". Do some reading on it!!

      It's important to just look to see what the text actually says, many times a traditional interpretation is fixed in peoples minds..

      I'm sure that some people fell away from the faith when it was definitively demonstrated that the sun was the center of the galaxy because they felt that directly contradicted scripture. The same with the earth being round.. it's a shame... read the text.. ask questions, treat your doubts with as much skepticism as you do the text, be like the Bereans!

      July 26, 2012 at 10:32 pm |
    • Mass Debater

      "Anyone who is captured will be run through with a sword. Their little children will be dashed to death right before their eyes. Their homes will be sacked and their wives ra.ped by the attacking hordes. For I will stir up the Medes against Babylon, and no amount of silver or gold will buy them off. The attacking armies will shoot down the young people with arrows. They will have no mercy on helpless babies and will show no compassion for the children." Isaiah 13:15-18

      I am not saying that all the small errors couldn't be overlooked, i'm saying that a divine account would contain no errors. I'm saying that the only way to accept Moses writings (a skill he learned as a Prince of Egypt, along with their creation myths) as divine is on faith. You have to want to believe it as fact and if you do then you can explain away the inconsistencies of why this wasn't explained thoroughly or why that wasn't exactly what was meant by whichever scripture.

      July 26, 2012 at 11:17 pm |
    • Chad

      @Mass "I am not saying that all the small errors couldn't be overlooked, i'm saying that a divine account would contain no errors. I'm saying that the only way to accept Moses writings"

      =>what errors?
      exactly?

      July 26, 2012 at 11:20 pm |
    • Mass Debater

      Do you really believe it all happened just as the Genesis account says? Or are you saying that God inspired Moses to write a simple allegory for how we all came to be and the flood account with a magically inspired true lineage back to the original, non-evolved Adam up to Moses, including a flood account that says the whole world was covered, all within at the furthest stretch 9000 years, which not only does science not support, but even ancient ruins such as Gobekli Tepe show humanity was thriving far longer than any literary contortionist can make the bible twist. – http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history-archaeology/gobekli-tepe.html

      July 27, 2012 at 2:31 am |
    • HeavenSent

      Mass, read it for yourself http://biblestudysite.com/begin.htm

      July 27, 2012 at 2:40 am |
    • Mass Debater

      @HS – I'll wager I know more about the bible and have read it through and studied it far more than yourself, but that is not the point. All the defense you have against my questions is "Read it yourself, that will answer your questions" because you haven't read it enough to find out that it doesn't. I had the most faith when I started my journey of religious studies, since that was when I was a child and believed whatever my parents told me. Strangely, the more I read the bible over the next 30 years I found myself asking more questions than it was able to solidly answer. It wasn't until I came to a personal issue (being a pastor married to a mentally unstable woman) that the real moral questions came into focus, and I began seeing the difference between a congregant and a friend, for they really are two different things. Now I'm happier than ive ever been, married with a beautiful daughter and find joy in the smallest aspects of life which I never felt when I believed myself spiritually superior to so many other people. That is not of course what most churches teach, but it's hard not to feel it when you are told how many people out there are Satan's minions trying to drag you down into heII. Around every corner is a spiritual attack, that is of course only if you play the game. Stop playing the game and life is happy and peaceful. When you play a game you have people who get hung up on the rules and completely forget about the purpose of the game which is to have fun. I have often seem fights break out as a kid when someone was angrily adamant about following the rules and demanding to be the referee by policing everyone else. That is what organized religion is. It literally sucks the fun out of life and turns it into a mere bus stop on the journey of life and thus far to many take it for granted.

      July 27, 2012 at 11:00 am |
    • Really-O?

      @Mass Debater –
      In a previous post in this thread I recommended that you not waste your time with the likes of Chad. At this time I wish to rescind that recommendation as you are clearly kicking Chad's ass!

      Cheers

      July 27, 2012 at 1:56 pm |
    • Chad

      @Mass Debater "Do you really believe it all happened just as the Genesis account says?"
      @Chad "yes, absolutely.
      The question is, what exactly does the Genesis account say?
      Clearly, even a cursory review of various exegesis on it demonstrates that the young earth viewpoint is only one of several different perfectly valid interpretations, each that in no way shape or form "contorts" scripture to fit our current scientific understanding of earth history.
      The problem is that usually people get very accustomed to a traditional interpretation, that was in itself heavily impacted by the world view of the people of that time.
      That is precisely why exegesis, biblical research are such rich areas. NOT because the Word of God changes, but because we gain a better understanding of what it is.

      ======
      @Mass Debater " Or are you saying that God inspired Moses to write a simple allegory for how we all came to be and the flood account with a magically inspired true lineage back to the original, non-evolved Adam up to Moses, including a flood account that says the whole world was covered, all within at the furthest stretch 9000 years,"
      @Chad "you are still stuck on the viewpoint that the bible says the earth is ~6000 years old.
      I thought that the review of Hebrew genealogies that I did above would have demonstrated that that viewpoint really cant be justified at all?

      Simply stated, the bible simply does not say how old the earth is, nor does it say when the flood actually happened.
      that's just reality.
      right?

      July 27, 2012 at 2:19 pm |
    • Mass Debater

      "I believe that if you die prior to the age of accountability, you arent condemned."

      Just a quick follow up note on this Chad. What age does the bible specify as the age of accountability? Also, where does it say that if you die before that age you will be saved regardless of religious affiliation? Or is this another example of what "feels" right to you on what the bible must mean when it says "For I will stir up the Medes against Babylon" and "They will have no mercy on helpless babies and will show no compassion for the children" because you want the bible to be right and truthful and just, so you do not accept any view of it that does not fit your preconcieved supposedly divinely inspired message?

      July 27, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
    • Chad

      @MassDebator: "It wasn't until I came to a personal issue (being a pastor married to a mentally unstable woman)"
      @Chad "sorry to hear about that"

      ===============
      @MassDebator: " that the real moral questions came into focus, and I began seeing the difference between a congregant and a friend, for they really are two different things"
      @Chad "one thing that I see over and over with "believers" turned atheist, is that they do so because of a human reason.. Disaffection with the church, or the people in it..
      Not because they dont think God is real, that comes after.. They reject the organization, then attempt to reject God as well..

      ==============
      @MassDebator: "That is what organized religion is. It literally sucks the fun out of life and turns it into a mere bus stop on the journey of life and thus far to many take it for granted."
      @Chad "the greatest hater of "religion" of all time was Jesus Christ
      right?

      You are turning your back on God, because you dislike the people in His church..

      July 27, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
    • Mass Debater

      "we are ALL GUILTY and deserving of the exact same "treatment", view the fact that you and I havent as an opportunity to accept the sacrifice of Jesus."

      Isn't this a bit like playing a game as a child and someone declaring "Okay, the floor in the front room is lava, so don't touch it!!" as the rest of the children climb up over the furniture to avoid "being burned up"? To just make up a rule and claim "Okay, everybody from birth is so sinful that we are deserving of the death penalty, no matter how you have lived or how nice a person you are or the fact that you wouldn't harm a fly, not good enough, death penalty for you anyway, so everyone has to climb over these hurdles and donate to the church and profess your belief in invisible beings in order to not be burned up..."

      July 27, 2012 at 2:29 pm |
    • Chad

      @Mass Debater "Just a quick follow up note on this Chad. What age does the bible specify as the age of accountability? Also, where does it say that if you die before that age you will be saved regardless of religious affiliation?"
      @Chad "it doesnt, that's why I said "you wont find this in the bible"

      =====
      @Mass Debater " Or is this another example of what "feels" right to you on what the bible must mean when it says "For I will stir up the Medes against Babylon" and "They will have no mercy on helpless babies and will show no compassion for the children" because you want the bible to be right and truthful and just, so you do not accept any view of it that does not fit your preconcieved supposedly divinely inspired message?"
      @Chad "what I want is pretty irrelevant, it's what is true that's the issue.
      We may not like a great deal of what's in the bible, but that's irrelevant. Is it true? that's the issue.

      The reality is, David had innocent blood on His hands, Jacob was a conniver of the highest caliber, and God's wrath is an utterly terrifying thing.

      The last thing I'm going to do is reject God because I dont like the way He does things.

      July 27, 2012 at 2:31 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Mass Debater

      Isn't Chad a lovely example of leadsomeone leading evidence?

      July 27, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
    • Rachel

      @Chad-Fantastic points!!! 🙂

      July 27, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
    • Really-O?

      Mass Debater delivers a hard cross to the jaw and Chad staggers to the ropes. Mass Debater follows with a devastating hook to the liver...Chad's legs wilt. A quick uppercut from Mass Debater and Chad is rendered nothing more than a twitching heap on the canvas. Mass Debater's hand is raised and the crowd goes wild!

      LOL!

      July 27, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
    • Really-O?

      ...it was a brutal fight...we hope you enjoyed it.

      July 27, 2012 at 2:36 pm |
    • Chad

      Great conversation MD!

      ==========
      @Mass Debater: "...To just make up a rule and claim "Okay, everybody from birth is so sinful that we are deserving of the death penalty, no matter how you have lived or how nice a person you are or the fact that you wouldn't harm a fly, not good enough, death penalty for you anyway"
      @Chad "well, you are familiar enough with the bible to know the Gods standard for everlasting life, namely: perfection.
      Not "close to perfect", or "better than anyone else" or "well, I'm pretty good"
      perfection
      perfection in thought and deed

      Do you know anyone that hasnt lied? Stolen? Cheated?
      I dont, nor do you.

      We are all guilty.

      ==========
      @Mass Debater: "so everyone has to climb over these hurdles and donate to the church and profess your belief in invisible beings in order to not be burned up..."
      @Chad "whoa.. wait a minute..
      hurdles? donate to church?
      no

      there is only one requirement: acknowledge that you need and accept the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on your behalf.
      that's it, it cant be bought or earned, just accepted as a gift.

      July 27, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
    • Really-O?

      Chad had his ass handed to him in a high hat. Well done Mass Debater.

      July 27, 2012 at 3:04 pm |
  16. jago

    God was where He always is....in the hearts of those who believe in Him.....and wondering why most of us keep choosing to ignore His rather simple commands. In my understanding, God has three wills: 1) His sovereign will, which is absolute and immutable, 2) His intentional will, which we can (unwisely) ignore, and 3) His permissive will. God permitted this tragedy because one man decided to exercise his God-given free will in a terrible way. This tragedy is not God's fault......we each are responsible for our own choices, regardless of what any government or court may say. Why did God not prevent it? Only God knows specifically, but I know for a fact that God has prevented other terrible things from happening quite literally because of prayer. God is real and He wants us to *choose* to believe in Him and obey His simple commands (such as love). One cannot prove God's existence like one can prove gravity, but I do know this: we have no choice but to believe in gravity. If one could prove God's existence, we would no longer have any choice but to believe in Him. Choosing to believe in Him requires faith, and faith is the foundation of relationship.

    July 25, 2012 at 6:30 pm |
    • JP0

      Malarkey!

      July 25, 2012 at 6:35 pm |
  17. flumoxed

    It just happened, and it will happen again someplace else sometime down the road. God had nothing to do with this. There are wackos in the world, always has been, always will be. If somebody really wants to kill you, they can do it fairly easy. If you are still alive at the end of each day, it is a matter of luck. If you don't wake up in the morning, it's a matter of bad luck.

    July 25, 2012 at 6:30 pm |
  18. cinqo

    you are barking at the wrong tree. this denver killer is the son of a mathematician. believe me i know how many of the mathematicians think! my own crazy brother ( former) is mathematician. ted kaczinski or the unabomber was mathematician.

    July 25, 2012 at 6:29 pm |
    • JP0

      Come now! All mathematicians are crazy or are all crazies mathematicians.

      July 25, 2012 at 6:37 pm |
    • Hmmmmm

      Math makes religious people more crazy, they get to a point in an equation that seem's too hard and they just want to scream "I know the answer! God did it!!"...

      July 25, 2012 at 6:42 pm |
    • JP0

      !!!!!!!!!!

      July 25, 2012 at 9:00 pm |
  19. justsayNo

    People want to blame God for the evil they do... He gave us one rule, don't eat the apple and we disobeyed Him. He gave us 10 commandments so we would better get along with each other... and we disobeyed them. Stiff necked disobedient liars, God sees the evil we do and jugement will come then you will know that there is a God and you won't be able to lie to yourselves any more.

    July 25, 2012 at 6:28 pm |
    • Hmmmmm

      "He gave us one rule, don't eat the apple and we disobeyed Him."

      Pretty fvcking stupid rule. Now if he had said don't eat rocks, that would make some sense and we would likely never have had a problem...

      July 25, 2012 at 6:38 pm |
  20. Woody

    Sorry god has been busy in court trying to protect all those christians that were caught with their pants down around minors !

    July 25, 2012 at 6:28 pm |
    • Nick

      PWNED

      July 25, 2012 at 6:38 pm |
    • Everyone is an idiot

      Congras on proving my point

      July 25, 2012 at 6:42 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.