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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. Syed Shamim

    The only things the middle east contributes to the modern world is oil and ignorance.

    July 25, 2012 at 8:20 pm |
  2. God's Roomate

    My name is Chugs, I'm God's roommate. I got pretty tired of all this speculation so I just asked the big guy if he had anything to do with this shooting. God said, and I quote "No, that wasn't me. I was Africa that giving aids to babies". So, mystery solved. You're welcome.

    July 25, 2012 at 8:19 pm |
  3. Syed Shamim

    Allah is great. But don't stand to close to him because we do not believe in deodorant or showering.

    July 25, 2012 at 8:18 pm |
  4. Connie

    1. GOD Gave man FREE WILL. Free will to choose to follow him or NOT to follow him. YOU decide.
    2. GOD welcomed each and every one into heaven – of this I am sure.
    3. GOD has not been taken out of America by Liberals. I am democrat AND Catholic (only disagree on abortion with my political party). In my community there are SEVERAL churches of all types. You CAN go to church every day or once a year. You can go to church three times a day or never go to church. EVERYONE gets to choose how much or how little or if at ll they want to have a religon in thier life. THAT is the SEPARATION of church and state that is wonderful! No one's religon or decision to not follow any religon is part of our government .. so that ALL religons are honored equally in the private sector. FOR ME THIS WORKS FINE! I attend church about 2 x a month ... and pray daily for all of us! 🙂
    4. When I get to heaven – after seeing my family & freinds – I'm going to meet these wonderful people who lost their lives ... I wish it was me though ... I dont have children or a family that would miss me as much ... makes me cry to see the children especially who lost thier parents .. too sad.
    5. We will find out why this happened when we too go to heaven ...

    Humans are terribly mean to each other right? I am so sad about the state of humanity today though .. I do wish I could love everyone enough that I could take theirr pain away so that we could all just hang out on this beautiful planet and love one another ....

    July 25, 2012 at 8:17 pm |
    • Bob

      Connie, shouting at us with words in caps won't make your god fictions suddenly real. It just makes you sound rude and ignorant.

      July 25, 2012 at 8:20 pm |
  5. Syed Shamim

    I look forward to see more punishments from Allah against the racist and unjust sub-human creatures.
    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.
    O' Allah, I ask you to see us more justice and bring your wrath on those racist and unjust criminals who are abusing their power.
    I feel so great to see the revange Allah took for the crimes, racism and injustice committed against the innocent Pakistani Muslim Neuro-Scientist. Pakistanis or Muslims didn't have to kill anybody to take revange of the atrocities against Pakistani Muslim Neuro-Scientist. Allah took revange by the hands of a White Neuro-Science Ph.D student James Holmes. This news made my day!

    July 25, 2012 at 8:17 pm |
    • Syed Shamim

      Jawa

      July 25, 2012 at 8:19 pm |
    • Bob

      Seems your nasty Allah hates starving and diseased kids in Africa then. At least he has that in common with the nasty Christian tooth fairy. They would get along famously, or maybe have a good fight.

      July 25, 2012 at 8:22 pm |
  6. Bill B

    OUR government should represent all of us, not just religinazis.

    July 25, 2012 at 8:16 pm |
  7. Hawkeye

    The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and left untried.
    G.K. Chesterton

    July 25, 2012 at 8:16 pm |
    • kernilsanders

      The Christian ideal has infact been tried and tried and tried and tried and tried and tried for a few centuries now.... and found SERIOUSLY wanting.
      – B.Q. Common Sense.

      July 25, 2012 at 10:03 pm |
  8. Jesus Is Lord

    Seriously? You want to blame God? You "demand" your right to fornicate, to be gay, to do whatever you please – and you are now asking why God let this happen? A LOT of you folks need to read and study a Bible so you will know who God really is.

    Jesus is the answer. He is the ONLY way to the Father in Heaven. Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, repent, obey and be saved!

    July 25, 2012 at 8:16 pm |
    • Sammy

      Well, you "demand" your right to be judgmental, threatening, and bigoted, so that pretty much puts us all on an even keel.

      July 25, 2012 at 8:41 pm |
    • kernilsanders

      I would but there's one little hitch.... GOD DOES NOT EXIST! ... so, no thanks.

      July 25, 2012 at 10:04 pm |
  9. Syed Shamim

    I make love to many goats in the name of Allah. I hate western culture even thought they modernized the world while arabs were laying with camels.

    July 25, 2012 at 8:16 pm |
  10. Nathan

    There is no God. Last time I checked, a person killed those people...a person bought those guns, and a person is reporting this garbage...again, there is no God.

    July 25, 2012 at 8:15 pm |
  11. Brian

    It's sad to see so many people making completely illogical statements. They copy the form of an argument, not realizing that they lack the substance of logical argument. Religious belief has become a raging infection of proud stupidity.

    July 25, 2012 at 8:15 pm |
  12. reader43

    God was not to be blamed for the tragedy. (James. 1:13)

    Man has free will.

    But man is not independent. We should be adhering to God's ways and standard. We need God's guidance in our lives. (Jeremiah 10:23)

    July 25, 2012 at 8:15 pm |
  13. Hawkeye

    God exist whether or not men may choose to believe in Him. The reason why many people do not believe in God is not so much that it is intellectually impossible to believe in God, but because belief in God forces that thoughtful person to face the fact that he is accountable to such a God.
    Robert A. Laidlaw

    July 25, 2012 at 8:13 pm |
    • kernilsanders

      Fundies (a.k.a. troglodyte homunculus) always like to tell atheists/agnostics what their motives are, and that they really do believe in God, but just don't want to admit it. Try again. I do find it intellectually impossible to believe in God, so deal with it. .

      July 25, 2012 at 10:10 pm |
  14. GOD

    Why is there only one of me? Oh yeah, look who I'm asking. Sheep incapable of thought.

    July 25, 2012 at 8:13 pm |
  15. EclecticMuse

    The constant bickering between the religious and nonreligious is pushing me ever more closer back to agnosticism.

    July 25, 2012 at 8:13 pm |
  16. logicalchris

    No one knows if there is a God(s). We do know this, 2000 years of history shows us there is no evidence of divine intervention. No examples of the laws of physics being subverted for an alternate outcome. For every life supposedly saved from God's will, there are 100 equally faithful followers with no such grace given. It is pure statistical randomness. No prayer has ever moved a mountain as promised. No man flying through a marketplace, healing a blind, resurrection from the dead, living in a beast mouth for days. or any other such miracle that was so frequently before there was scientific scrutiny. Any declaration of knowledge beyond our existence is pure assumption. Until our our human race embraces the unknown, we will remain children scared of the dark, inventing ever more profitable and complex ritual rain dances to explain the unknown droughts ans eclipses.

    July 25, 2012 at 8:13 pm |
  17. 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.
    O' Allah, I ask you to see us more justice and bring your wrath on those racist and unjust criminals who are abusing their power.
    I feel so great to see the revange Allah took for the crimes, racism and injustice committed against the Neuro-Scientist. Pakistanis or Muslims didn't have to kill anybody to take revange of the atrocities against Pakistani Muslim Neuro-Scientist. Allah took revange by the hands of a White Neuro-Science Ph.D student James Holmes. This news made my day!

    July 25, 2012 at 8:12 pm |
    • GOD

      Your taxi smells bad. Perhaps bathing would help.

      July 25, 2012 at 8:14 pm |
    • kernilsanders

      Allah, Jehovah, Jesus, Zeus, and Thor walk into a bar. No they didn't. Because they don't exist.

      July 25, 2012 at 10:12 pm |
  18. GOD

    Actually, I was taking a dump. My bad.

    July 25, 2012 at 8:12 pm |
    • Gabriel

      Actually, I was working on a humanitarian project.

      July 25, 2012 at 8:12 pm |
    • Bob

      "Humanitarian project" such as wiping out a whole population with a flood again god?

      July 25, 2012 at 8:14 pm |
  19. vkm

    first of all..god created free will for all men....we live in a world full of sin and confusion. and Satan is the prince of this world. he uses our weaknesses against us and blinds us from the truth and the light which is jesus christ. the shooter has sin in his life just like everyone else in this world. Evil took over and he acted. God allows trials and tribulations and tragdies to happen the bible states that he disciplines those he loves.Does he enjoy our suffering no, but the bible states that every sin you commit is a sin against god and it breaks his heart. i do believe god was there that day he did saves lives it was 12 killed and 58 injured it could easily have been 58 killed and 12 injured even worse it could have been all of them dead that would have been almost 80 people dead. Did that happen no and THANK GOD!

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

      Proof please, or else stop spewing.

      July 25, 2012 at 8:12 pm |
    • Mohammad A Dar

      Your post is nothing but hinduism, denial of truth absolute in your hindu pagan Mithraism, savior ism labeled as Christianity, have a look at your hindu denial of truth absolute faith before spewing your hinduism, paganism labeled as Christianity.

      July 25, 2012 at 8:15 pm |
  20. Jim

    God was where he was, is, and always will be – in the imagination of his followers.

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

      God was in the Dark Matter. L2Science, so that you can L2Religion.

      July 25, 2012 at 8:13 pm |
    • Mohammad A Dar

      Dark mater is hinduism, absurdity of hindu's, deniers of truth absolute, but spirit, the soft ware, every hindu, ignorant denies in his hinduism, absurdity., but proven by Quantum physics.

      July 25, 2012 at 8:18 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.