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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. believe enough

    Why is it when things of this nature happens, we seek answers from God? Let's be honest, if we were to get an answer, it probably be, "I don't know."
    Come on, we already ask God to get each of us through these hard economic times, watch our loved ones over seas, ect.
    Now we ask why he or she allowed this tragedy. I think the better question is, why we allow such tragedies. People spend so much time kneeling and begging for blessings from God they forget he or she gave them that power already. We ask too much from God, maybe because we have too much going on as a species. Pray for the victims, care for their loved ones, but don't blame God.

    July 25, 2012 at 8:05 pm |
  2. Greaser

    He was too busy looking at a bukkake video.

    July 25, 2012 at 8:04 pm |
  3. J S

    It's difficult for me, here in the modern era of science and reason and logic, to believe in any God who always has an excuse to not be there when bad things happen or to take credit when good things happen. Maybe things are just *happening* and God, either by design or by not existing, is not causing things to happen at all.

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

      God created this planet for mankind and He gave authotiy to us to rule over it. We gave that auhority over to Satan. It is our job to regain that authority. We are not doing that. We are to blame. Not God.

      July 25, 2012 at 8:08 pm |
  4. wpayne

    I don't understand how CNN thinks this dialog passes for journalism.

    July 25, 2012 at 8:03 pm |
  5. Syed Shamim

    It is Allah who punished the racist and unjust court and jury in the United States.
    Countless praises and thanks be to Allah. An American Court of Justice, considering itself powerful, unjustly punished an innocent Pakistani Muslim female Neuro-Scientist Dr. Aafia Siddiqui on terrorism charges and sentenced her to 86 years in prison, when they knew that Dr. Aafia Siddiqui never killed anybody. Now Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta'ala has shown the US Department of Justice what terrorism actually means, when a White Neuro-Science Ph.D student James Holmes massacred dozens of innocent American civilians watching movie in a theater in Colorado. Dumbest people are those who abuse their power without realizing the power of the Creator of heavens and earth.

    July 25, 2012 at 8:03 pm |
    • Greaser

      Take a shower at least once a week. Allah won't mind.

      July 25, 2012 at 8:05 pm |
    • kernilsanders

      Allah does not exist either. Thank Science! That dude is a *REAL* monster....

      July 25, 2012 at 9:45 pm |
  6. Diana

    God doesn't make or force anyone to do anything, if he did there would be no death, murders, adultery aka 10 commandments being broken or gays. People are murdered everyday not just in CO. some people and reporters are acting like these people were special when they are no more special than anyone else who have been murdered. Funny how they were not asking this question when Black people including kids are being murdered every day in Chicago.

    July 25, 2012 at 8:03 pm |
  7. Hawkeye

    In passing, we should note this curious mark of our own age: the only absolute allowed is the absolute insistence that there is no absolute.
    Francis Schaeffer

    July 25, 2012 at 8:03 pm |
    • Rational Libertarian

      Keep your kids as far away from a church as you can.
      Frank Zappa

      July 25, 2012 at 8:05 pm |
    • kernilsanders

      Yaba Daba Do.
      – Fred Flinstone.

      July 25, 2012 at 9:46 pm |
  8. jimbo

    God is a myth. When we die, we die. Just as when we are in deep sleep, only it's forever.

    July 25, 2012 at 8:02 pm |
  9. Hawkeye

    Christianity is the greatest intellectual system the mind of man has ever touched.
    Francis Schaeffer

    July 25, 2012 at 8:01 pm |
    • Rational Libertarian

      Christianity is the cornerstone of human retardation.
      Me

      July 25, 2012 at 8:03 pm |
    • GodFreeNow

      "greatest intellectual system the mind"
      Yeah! Take THAT antibiotics, computer technology, philosophy, modern physics, space program, internet, mobile technology, etc!

      Belief in our invisible super hero in the sky of which we have no evidence shows WAY greater intelligence.

      July 25, 2012 at 8:10 pm |
    • kernilsanders

      Hawkeye's brain is the most inept intellectual system ever created.
      – Hawkeye's Mom.

      July 25, 2012 at 9:48 pm |
  10. lbdukeep

    Where was God? Watching as man makes every mistake in the book – knowing mankind exercises free will at every twist and turn. His place is not to stop us, and not Her will to change us. It is up to each of us, you and I to make the decision to do or not to do. Stop blaming God or Goddess for man's actions!

    July 25, 2012 at 8:01 pm |
    • Rational Libertarian

      No free will if God has a plan.

      July 25, 2012 at 8:02 pm |
  11. Jaime

    Get over it. God, as we would like to believe in, is an illusion. Organized religions are the biggest scam in human history. My thoughts are with the families and friends of the victims.

    July 25, 2012 at 8:01 pm |
  12. Greaser

    Ann Coulter is a frisco dike.

    July 25, 2012 at 8:00 pm |
    • Rational Libertarian

      Still bang her, maybe with a bag over her head though.

      July 25, 2012 at 8:01 pm |
    • UpdateOurOpinion?

      The free will is to obey or disobey. You are free to live as you please, but please do not blame God when undesired consequences of your freedom occur.

      July 25, 2012 at 8:04 pm |
  13. UpdateOurOpinion?

    What could be blamed on God is merely our pride and disregard. If weather preparedness services warn you of a storm but you take no precautions would you blame them for neglect because they did not prevent damaged cause by your failure to listen? God gave us instructions to avoid much of the tragedies we now face. At this very moment people are questioning and rewriting the book God gave us. He gave us the path to Eden but we choose disobedience and arrogance. We then curse out God for tragedy caused by our own disobedience. We live in a word that even denies his existence. How can we blame God when he told us the correct path but we choose our own way? As we get closer to God we will see less of these atrocities as we move away from him we will see more. We are the cause of our pain and have only ourselves to blame.

    July 25, 2012 at 8:00 pm |
  14. ByWayofBeauty

    Please visit bywayofbeauty[dot]com, if you're interested – we just posted an article on this very subject.

    July 25, 2012 at 7:59 pm |
  15. Syed Shamim

    An American Court of Justice, considering itself powerful, unjustly punished an innocent Pakistani Muslim female Neuro-Scientist Dr. Aafia Siddiqui on terrorism charges and sentenced her to 86 years in prison, when they knew that Dr. Aafia Siddiqui never killed anybody. Now Allah has shown the US Department of Justice what terrorism actually means, when a White Neuro-Science Ph.D student James Holmes massacred dozens of innocent American civilians watching movie in a theater in Colorado. Dumbest people are those who abuse their power without realizing the power of the Creator of heavens and earth.

    July 25, 2012 at 7:58 pm |
    • Greaser

      I'm guessing you don't wear deodorant.

      July 25, 2012 at 8:01 pm |
    • Mohammad A Dar

      Greaser, dumb, deaf and blinded is one way to define your hinduism, absurdity.

      July 25, 2012 at 8:09 pm |
  16. Pete

    STOP ALREADY! GOD DOESNT EXHIST! Stop making excuses for what happens in this world. "It's part of God's plan"..."It's his will"...Than why aren't you CELEBRATING the death of all those innocent people? If this was "God's" plan than you should rejoice that his plan went through. But it's a TRAGETY what happened! And you can't convince most people that this was GOD's plan...PULEEEEZE.

    July 25, 2012 at 7:58 pm |
    • Steve

      Uh....Okay, Petey. Whatever you say. Youu convinced me of your vastly superior understanding.

      July 25, 2012 at 8:12 pm |
  17. Itzyourdeztinee

    Is not a matter of whether God was present. What matters is that most people would have kept walking to the ticket booth and paid for the ticket(s) to see their superhero. We live in a society where people don't want to be told what to do AND find excuses to blame for their failures. Of course, many people failed to see the grim reaper at the theater entrance.

    July 25, 2012 at 7:57 pm |
  18. TOMG

    WE ALL ARE THE LIVING GOD , AMEN .

    July 25, 2012 at 7:57 pm |
  19. logn

    God had nothing to do with this. God is an invention of man's mind in his (and her) unwillingness to accept that our fate is our own. That our actions guide our choices and our choices guide our fate. We make our lives what they are, not some "all knowing" being, I hate to be the downer. God was created to satisfy man's lust for immortality and hubris to blame things he was ashamed of on something that doesn't exist.

    When man begins to realize and take action for his or her actions will we ever move forward as a species. Our continued blind trust and faith in something beyond our mind's comprehension throws us back to a time where science and logic stood no chance against the corruption of the church. For that matter, any religion that believes in a omniscient being is holding us back as a species.

    Posted for your viewing pleasure on the always liberal, always far left CNN.

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

      Cheers on what you said.

      July 25, 2012 at 8:06 pm |
  20. dangsthurt

    God was too busy saving the believers and condemning the non-believers.

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

      He was making other universes

      July 25, 2012 at 7:56 pm |
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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.