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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. Carby

    God whispered in his ear "don't do it"......the devil whispered in his other ear "do it" --Good fighting evil--the devil won this one...

    July 25, 2012 at 7:54 pm |
    • One one

      Isn't it bizzar that god, who is supposed to be the most wonderful thing in the world created Satan and hell, the most horrible things in the world ?

      I'll leave it to the believers to come up with an explanation of how this makes sense.

      July 25, 2012 at 8:04 pm |
    • Jim Jonsson

      This is a joke, where was God in Aurora. God was at the same place as he was during the Crucifixion of his son Jesus Christ. This question about where God is when bad things happens got to stop, in that no one asks that question when good things takes place. God is not a sometimes God, God exists and rules over all events at all times. Proverbs 3:5,6 tells us to acknowledge God at all times and in 1Thessalonians 5:18 we are told to give Thanks for everything. The people of today are so quick in condeming God that they fail to see God's Grace and his mercy. The Shooting in Aurora was a cowardly act and a senseless act, but, God was right there. We cannot deny that God was there for if we do then God is not Omnipresent and we deny God as a Omnipresent Being. The question should not be where was God in Aurora but the question should be why did God allow this to happen. That question may never be answered fully, but as believers in Christ we are to have faith in God through his Son Jesus Christ with the in-dwelling of the Holy Spirit in our heart. Many people want to understand God but that is not our job as a servant of God, as a servant of God we are to have faith in him. Why, because faith supersedes understanding. So now that you know, stop questioning God and begin to praise him for his Mighty Acts.

      July 25, 2012 at 8:21 pm |
    • kernilsanders

      ... and then Joe Buxton from Missouri lowered his hands revealing that he infact was working both the god puppet, and the satan puppet. joe buxton created god. and satan. and potato guns.

      July 25, 2012 at 9:34 pm |
  2. One one

    God wants our worship and love it seems.
    But he only appears to us in our dreams.
    You can pray for his help, but don’t hold your breath.
    For his plan for you is your inevitable death.
    They claim if you believe, you’re heaven bound.
    But a witness for this has never been found.
    No guarantees for this claim, now THAT’s a sin.
    So don’t take the bait and get hooked and reeled in.

    July 25, 2012 at 7:54 pm |
    • Hawkeye

      You and others might find the book "Can Man Live Without God" by Ravi Zacharias a good read. It is the book version of a lecture he gave at Harvard a few years ago – excellent material, very didactic.

      July 25, 2012 at 8:31 pm |
    • the voice of reason

      Of course man can live without god(s). Just because someone writes a book you agree with, doesn't make it true.

      July 25, 2012 at 8:36 pm |
  3. Salero21

    Another Indictment (like if we need more). Of the man made laws, that allowed a civilian to "Legally" purchase weapons that supposedly were originally designed for the Military only. No wonder it was none other than Adolf Hitler, who is credited with inventing the term "assault weapon".

    So asking: "Where was God in Aurora masacre?" is the wrong question to ask, at the wrong time and to the wrong crowd.

    July 25, 2012 at 7:53 pm |
  4. Hawkeye

    “Now the whole offer which Christianity makes is this: that we can, if we let God have His way, come to share in the life of Christ. If we do, we shall then be sharing a life which was begotten, not made, which always existed and always will exist. Christ is the Son of God. If we share in this kind of life we also shall be sons of God. We shall love the Father as He does and the Holy Ghost will arise in us. He came to this world and became a man in order to spread to other men the kind of life He has — by what I call "good infection." Every Christian is to become a little Christ. The whole purpose of becoming a Christian is simply nothing else.”
    ― C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

    July 25, 2012 at 7:53 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      Oh joy another cut and paste troll. Does it feel good to be a useless person Hawkeye?

      July 25, 2012 at 7:55 pm |
    • kernilsanders

      "where did all this chicken come from?"
      – R.L. Smiffus

      July 25, 2012 at 9:36 pm |
  5. TOMG

    WHEN ONE IS WOKE UP THERE WILL BE A SPIRITE WAITING FOR ONE TO WANT IT TO DO SOMETHINGS ON THAT GIVEN DAY TIMING , AMEN .

    July 25, 2012 at 7:53 pm |
    • the voice of reason

      Punctuation is our friend.

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

      a yummy refreshing SPIRITE

      July 25, 2012 at 9:37 pm |
  6. joe

    same place he is every time a tragedy strikes. Hiding in the imaginations of the mentally deluded religious.

    July 25, 2012 at 7:52 pm |
    • E

      nice very very true

      July 25, 2012 at 7:58 pm |
  7. Salero21

    ONE NATION UNDER GOD'S JUDGMENT.

    Another Indictment (like if we need more). Of the man made laws, that allowed a civilian to "Legally" purchase weapons that supposedly were originally designed for the Military only. No wonder it was none other than Adolf Hitler, who is credited with inventing the term "assault weapon".

    So asking: "Where was God in Aurora masacre?" is the wrong question to ask, at the wrong time and to the wrong crowd.

    July 25, 2012 at 7:51 pm |
    • BamaDaniel

      Governments go rogue,armed citizens.keep them in check

      July 25, 2012 at 7:55 pm |
  8. Hawkeye

    “God made us: invented us as a man invents an engine. A car is made to run on petrol, and it would not run properly on anything else. Now God designed the human machine to run on Himself. He Himself is the fuel our spirits were designed to burn, or the food our spirits were designed to feed on. There is no other. That is why it is just no good asking God to make us happy in our own way without bothering about religion. God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there.”
    ― C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

    July 25, 2012 at 7:51 pm |
    • the voice of reason

      As I said earlier, Lewis wrote a lot of fiction. How about an original thought instead of cut/paste?

      July 25, 2012 at 7:55 pm |
    • Skookumchuck

      "God designed the human machine to run on Himself."

      You claim to know what god was thinking?

      Can you ask him about the lottery numbers?

      July 25, 2012 at 8:02 pm |
    • Apatheist

      "“God made us: invented us as a man invents an engine. A car is made to run on petrol, and it would not run properly on anything else."

      Not true. Engines can run just fine on other fuels.

      July 25, 2012 at 8:14 pm |
  9. Galaxy Prime

    Maybe god doesn't like the Batman movies – either that or he must have been too busy picking lottery winners.

    July 25, 2012 at 7:51 pm |
    • andy

      Why do you even bother of blaming God and everything that is happening, if you read the bible everything is there, it says
      Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold. (Mathew 24:12) This man who killed all those people is a demon. how about blaming the government of letting people buy gun's and all those explosive's huh?, why is it that the government allows civilllian's like us to buy dangerous gears and what not, government should only allow the armed forces. So think about that instead of blaming God, where must of us do not seek for him, but yet we blame him for everything that has occur, be bless in the name Jesus, and have it for sure that God will judge according to his will.

      July 25, 2012 at 8:17 pm |
  10. TOMG

    THERE ARE MILLIONS OF SPIRITE ARE ALWAYS AROUND US ALL IT DEPEND ON HOW MANY GOOD SPIRITE OR BAD SPIRITE OR NOT THAT ALL , IF WE REALLY WANT TO KNOW WHERE IS GOD ON THAT NIGHT , AMEN .

    July 25, 2012 at 7:51 pm |
    • the voice of reason

      Diet Sprite or regular?

      July 25, 2012 at 7:56 pm |
    • kernilsanders

      DIET DOUBLE SPIRITE

      July 25, 2012 at 9:38 pm |
  11. One Who Doubts

    Since god is only a creation of our minds, a myth, why worry about such things. Its simple: a nut gets a gun and kills; no different that a primate with a club in 10,000 B.C.

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

      God is not a myth and posted at 6:56 PM in THESE forums. Scroll down.

      July 25, 2012 at 7:52 pm |
  12. Fabiola

    God, Jesuschrist's son, the God of David, Moses he is always around watching over us. The one who was right next to this murderer was Satan. God protected many of his children that day, many survived. If bad things come to your life there is always a purpose for it. For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

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

      If your children die you have no future because your bloodline will die

      July 25, 2012 at 7:50 pm |
  13. Bill B

    In god ewe trust on our currency is a lie. Most of us trust in god may be true. Neither belongs on our currency. Religion has no business in OUR government. Believe what you want but don't force your religion on anyone. Relligious intolerance has been the source of too much violence in man's history.

    July 25, 2012 at 7:47 pm |
  14. Robert

    Would God have placed the face of this man in front of so many, had his name said on radio, or printed in magazines and newspapers after this wicked act? Would God have given this man's history, neighbors, classmates, and others so much attention after the fact and made it available to all who wished to hear? Would God now spend hours upon hours reviewing, researching, and investigating this man after his evil choices? The answer is no – God would do none of these things. God did not kill any of those people, but this man did – and humanity has made it very clear that his evil acts are rewarded by reproducing the name, event, and character of the evil-doer until he is become even an Idol. How much time are you spending reading the comments about this instead of praying for those who died, praying for guidance, or simply praying at all? I am sure that the percentage is much higher for the former than the latter.

    July 25, 2012 at 7:47 pm |
    • Gmck

      if you god is real then he's worthless. he did nothing. he answers no prayers. he protects no one. He is supposedly all knowing and all powerful and did nothing to save these innocent people? He's worthless

      July 25, 2012 at 7:51 pm |
    • yeahalright

      Reviewing, researching, and studying lunatics like the murderer is an activity millions of times more valuable and productive than talking to an invisible and nonexistant deity.

      One has the potential benefit of preventing future attacks and mental illness in general. The other is hoping for magic.

      July 25, 2012 at 7:55 pm |
  15. Chuckhashman

    On a journey to the East i ran into GOD -A great sorrow followed-several very pretty woman were crying the impossible was made possible !! GOD never leaves the MiddleEastern people and i never wanted what happened ! GOD doesn't need man--man needs GOD! Try and chose GODS LAWS over the hypocrite manmade laws!

    July 25, 2012 at 7:46 pm |
    • E

      Too bad the fictional god was invented by man, so too are his laws lol Sorry all laws ever invented where written by a man

      July 25, 2012 at 7:56 pm |
    • yeahalright

      Like the stoning my daughter on my doorstep if she isn't a virgin at marriage? Like that law? Like it is permissible to take slaves as long as they're foreigners? Like that law?

      July 25, 2012 at 7:56 pm |
  16. katremark

    I'm confused by the question. Which of the hundreds of different gods that have been "identified" in human history are you asking about? Here's a list. http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2008/02/11/gods-we-dont-believe-in/

    Tell me which one you are talking about and maybe we can figure it out.

    July 25, 2012 at 7:44 pm |
  17. God

    YES,AURORA WAS A TRAGEDY BY YOUR STANDARDS. BY MINE, I WAS SIMPLY CALLING MY ANGELS HOME. YOU CALL IT A TRAGEDY BUT I LOOK AT IT AS A NECESSITY, WHETHER ITS A HEART ATTACK ,A SCHOOL BUS SLIDING OFF THE ROAD , OR A GUY WITH A TRUCKLOAD OF FERTILIZER IN TEXAS, WHEN I NEED THEM TO COME HOME THE DECISION IS FINAL. I CREATED THIS EARTH FOR YOU AND SO FAR YOU HAVE DONE EVERYTHING BUT ENJOY IT . YOU'VE DRILLED HOLES IN IT MOVED MY MOUNTAINS AND HILLS POLLUTED THE RIVERS AND OCEANS AND CUT DOWN ALL MY BEAUTIFUL FORESTS. JUST AS LONG AS YOU HAVE YOUR NEXT I PHONE SO YOU CAN TEXT AND AVOID ANY PERSONAL CONTACT AND JUST TRUDGE THROUGH LIFE BLAMING ME FOR THINGS YOU CAN'T [OR DON'T TAKE THE TIME TO COMPREHEND] THEN THE WORLD IS OK. HOWEVER, WHEN THE DAY COMES THAT I SEE YOU HAVE GIVEN UP ON ME I'LL GIVE UP ON YOU. AND WHEN I WALK AWAY THIS ORB WILL BE NO MORE.

    July 25, 2012 at 7:42 pm |
    • BamaDaniel

      Don't take the kush

      July 25, 2012 at 7:46 pm |
    • the voice of reason

      Ok, that's more than a bit weird. I'd love to hear the audio version.

      July 25, 2012 at 7:46 pm |
    • BamaDaniel

      You said we had dominion over everything

      July 25, 2012 at 7:47 pm |
    • Gmck

      You made your god sound like a sadistic monster

      July 25, 2012 at 7:52 pm |
    • yeahalright

      God, now that I have your attention, I've always wanted to tell you – you are a sick SOB.

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

      "Dominion over" does not equate to abuse. A shepherd has dominion over his flock and he loves and cares for it and would give his all to protect it.

      July 25, 2012 at 7:59 pm |
    • kernilsanders

      umm God... your grammar kinda sucks... and you should probably spring for a new keyboard. your cap-lock is stuck.

      July 25, 2012 at 9:41 pm |
  18. E'dena

    As children, growing up in church, we are always told God is a loving, generous and caring God. As an adult, I often am confused by that statement. If he is so loving and caring, how can he allow incidents such as this to happen? What God so loving and caring would allow this man to rush into a theater and mindlessly spray bullets, injuring and killing innocent people? Further; what loving God would allow horrific events such as 9/11, children murdered, abused, and molested by their parents? The list of horrors and unspeakable acts around the world that happen each day grows in number and cruelty. My mother-in-law always said that God did things to test us, test our strength. If these are the tests, then I am very weak and sickened because I see neither love nor compassion.

    July 25, 2012 at 7:40 pm |
    • BamaDaniel

      It's like this me and God smoke a lot of Kush and watch David Chappell reruns

      July 25, 2012 at 7:44 pm |
    • Gabriel

      E'dena.... God was actually busy on the night of the massacre planning a major philanthropic project for charity and got caught offguard. Stop blaming God for everything – not only is he up against agents of evil, but God is having a real tricky time figuring out how to bring love, peace, and enlightenment to Earth.

      Try reading my post at 6:56 PM, please.

      July 25, 2012 at 7:48 pm |
    • Mohammad A Dar

      Do not complain in hinduism, ignorance, take your test, because life is a test of your choice.

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

      And furthermore, do you know where God was on 9/11 ? In a fire station doing the best darn job he could. Stop blaming everything on him.

      July 25, 2012 at 7:49 pm |
    • Apatheist

      Exactly, if god were real why not create us as immortal and send us to the eternal torture of hell as we F up? To "test" us? Give me a break.

      July 25, 2012 at 7:56 pm |
  19. the voice of reason

    Lewis wrote a lot of fiction.

    July 25, 2012 at 7:40 pm |
  20. Hugo

    The gods were right there, during preparation, when it happened and after:::Composer, conductor and symphony.

    July 25, 2012 at 7:40 pm |
    • Mohammad A Dar

      there are no two truth but one, rest of it is hinduism, absurdity of hindu's deniers of truth absolute.

      July 25, 2012 at 7:50 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.