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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. G. Zeus Kreiszchte

    If "god" was so omnipotent and omniscient, then "god" would not have created "Lucifer," knowing beforehand that "Lucifer" would become the "devil." Likewise, "god" would not have created man knowing full well that that plan would backfire. What a load!

    July 26, 2012 at 9:34 am |
    • Candace Jones

      We must humble ourselves enough to want to know Him. Try Him at his word. The promise is, He will answer if you will listen.

      July 26, 2012 at 9:45 am |
    • justme

      we were not created robots but were given free will as were the spirits. one of them decided to take that free will and offer the human a better way. the human chose to follow that spirit and reject the creator's offer and so now we have come to the end of man dominating man to his injury. the creator gave the spirit and all that followed it a limited time to prove what they could do. they and we have shown how miserable we would make things and now it is Jehovah's time to have his son Jesus take over and begin ruling so hang on we are all in for something special. for more info on what the bible really teaches go to J W .org and learn.

      July 26, 2012 at 9:56 am |
    • tallulah13

      How can one takes god "at his word" when there isn't a single shred of evidence that shows that god even exists?

      July 26, 2012 at 9:59 am |
    • G. Zeus Kreiszchte

      "god" was surely not all-knowing and all-powerful if "he" created things that "he" knew would turn against "him." Why can't you blind followers ever understand that?

      July 26, 2012 at 10:03 am |
    • sam stone

      Candace: If you want to know god at his word, perhaps the thing to do is ask him, not take the translated, edited hearsay of iron age man as representative of god

      July 26, 2012 at 10:08 am |
    • justme

      why did you not read my comment? would you rather have a bunch of robots follow you or an earth full of people that love you for who and what you are? their creator that loves them and offers them eternal life and paradise for your proper love and due worship.

      July 26, 2012 at 10:09 am |
    • G. Zeus Kreiszchte

      justme: Likewise, why do you not read and understand my comment? If you were an all-knowing, all-powerful creator, knowing AHEAD OF TIME, that what you are about to create will turn against you, then why would you go ahead and create it? Would you want to make something that is strong enough to beat you......of its own volition?

      July 26, 2012 at 10:13 am |
    • Who invited me?

      jusme
      You claim that god does not want robots, but then you believe what people created for you to believe.
      Try putting down the bible, and try thinking for yourself.
      When you stop having to live within the constrains of your man-made religion, then you can stop having to reconcile what you do compared to what you are told is the right way to live. It is this reconciling between behavior and the rules that cause people to interpret "the word" in different ways so they can make peace.

      People who do not subscribe to religion are outside of the rules religion places on people, and do not have to reconcile their behavior vs. the rules of religion. Because of this , non-religious people can see the religions for what they are....man-made rule systems and man-made answers to questions that no one can possibly have.

      July 26, 2012 at 10:15 am |
    • justme

      GZK and "who" really do not understand how i came to my conclusions and they are not about to reason on anything. what they have been told is that there is no God and so they believe what they are told and they are relieved of any responsibility but we will all be responsible soon when Jehovah shows his great power and removes all those who think they know more than him. I have other things to do right now but I will check back to see if there are any sincere or meaningful comments.

      July 26, 2012 at 10:27 am |
    • Who invited me?

      justme
      I was not told there is no god. I was baptised and raised uunder the lies of religion. I came to my own realization that ALL religions are man-made, and none of them have any actual answers. RE-read my last post to you. If you can comprehend it, it may help free you from the bonds of your man-made religion.
      People do not need religon to believe.
      But religion puts limits on belief, that will alter ones own beliefs, and take away their free thinking.
      keep your belief....dump your religion.

      July 26, 2012 at 10:34 am |
    • justme

      "who" if you come back, I hope that we can have a discussion based on truth and not on what religions that mislead people tell them. i know that seems to be a contradiction but it really is not and i understand more than you think at this time so as you do not want me to judge you i ask the same and since i gave up on "zeus" i thought you were more sincere in your comments. if we do not get to comment again i would ask you to check out J W.org for some real answers on what is happening in this world and what the Bible really teaches but if not thanks for the interchange.

      July 26, 2012 at 11:45 am |
  2. Wenger

    Difficult question for sure. To those saying God simply doesn't exist, and using this as proof, I ask: If God doesn't exist, why does any morality structure make sense? What makes this terrible killer wrong if there is no absolute measure of right?

    July 26, 2012 at 9:32 am |
    • AtheistSteve

      Morality is subjective but that doesn't mean that good and bad are entirely arbitrary. Ethical behavior seeks to do the least harm. Random killing is clearly harmful to any observer.

      July 26, 2012 at 9:38 am |
    • Wenger

      Of course, agreed that these acts were 'bad', an understatement. How can anyone disagree? I'm just challenging the logic that you can claim that it is wrong without some source of right. Is morality determined by a majority view? That doesn't hold water logically, as evidenced by period of history in which majority views were clearly 'wrong'. You just know that killing innocent people is wrong. But how do you know that? I conclude the most likely reason is that there is some source of absolute right and wrong. And if you're sure that there is no absolute truth, are you absolutely sure? Without a God, we are claiming the spot. If we go there, then why are any individual's actions wrong?

      July 26, 2012 at 9:45 am |
    • AtheistSteve

      Further we evolved as social creatures. Thus we use empathy to evaluate actions done by us or to others. We can experience vicariously, in some measure, pleasurable or painful tings experienced by others. Just ask any guy if he winces when another guy gets kicked in the balls.

      July 26, 2012 at 9:45 am |
    • Wenger

      Of course, agreed that these acts were 'bad', an understatement. How can anyone disagree? I'm just challenging the logic that you can claim that it is wrong without some source of right. Is morality determined by a majority view? That doesn't hold water logically, as evidenced by periods of history in which majority views were clearly 'wrong'. You just know that killing innocent people is wrong. But how do you know that? I conclude the most likely reason is that there is some source of absolute right and wrong. And if you're sure that there is no absolute truth, are you absolutely sure? Without a God, we are claiming the spot. If we go there, then why are any individual's actions wrong?

      July 26, 2012 at 9:45 am |
    • Moby Schtick

      Wenger, we are social, intelligent animals. Evolution gives us the drive to preserve our lives. Social animals use empathy to judge that was it harmful and undesirable to me is also harmful and undesirable for you. I don't want other people killing me, so I think it's fair that I don't kill other people, and I imagine that others feel this way, too. My intelligence confirms this feeling of mutual desires and feelings. Thus morality.

      God is not needed for moral mechanics–just our drives and intellect as social beings.

      July 26, 2012 at 9:46 am |
    • Moby Schtick

      "was it" above should be "what is" mybad

      July 26, 2012 at 9:47 am |
    • Wenger

      Hi Moby, good points. And sorry for my accidental double post. I agree that the existence of morality can be explained through social animal behavior. I wasn't asking 'why morality?' I was asking 'what makes an individual's morality right or wrong?' You say its bad to do something that you don't want done to you. I agree! But what if our ideas about what we want to happen diverge? The killer character in the movie 'No Country for Old Men' certainly had a moral code. If it was wrong, then who decides? I don't think I can, or you for that matter.

      July 26, 2012 at 9:55 am |
    • john vance

      Scary point but a good one. I've tried to go out on that thin ice before and it's pretty creepy. If the universe is just a cosmic hiccup with no point then why even try to be good. The basic argument would be that "it matters to the person(s) now, it makes life better". But if all of existence lacks a purpose, does it really matter if anyone's life is better or worse?
      Something inside me says it's best to be "good" and it makes ME feel better. so I just slip and slide back to safe ground. If that's what God is all about, it's OK with me, but that kind of God doesn't make me afraid, just comfortable.

      July 26, 2012 at 9:56 am |
    • AtheistSteve

      Yes...you seem stuck on the notion that we evolved with strictly selfish drives. Not so. As social animals we needed to cooperate and that requires the establishment of rules (albeit unwritten ones) that favor the group over the individual. Morals are not static black and white things. Arriving at a morally beneficial outcome is the end result of a process (weighing pros vs. cons). If every individual was equally altruistic then nothing bad (perpetrated by others) would ever occur but selfishness is still part of our makeup. However these lone wolf abusers of the the common good eventually lose out by exclusion from the social group.

      July 26, 2012 at 9:58 am |
    • G. Zeus Kreiszchte

      Wenger: What is the morality of the killer in "No Country for Old Men"? Kill or be killed? Do you imagine that he would not have minded if someone more evil than him came along and killed him at random?

      July 26, 2012 at 10:00 am |
    • Moby Schtick

      @Wenger

      Why do you as.sume that there is an objective "right and wrong?" There's no reason to think that there is. If you have a concrete reason to believe in a standard "right and wrong," I'd like to see it.

      The way the universe seems to work is by compet.ition of ideas, genes, expressions, memes, and etc.. In the arena of a social structure, we must use one of two options: Might makes right (king or one in power is always right) or consensus (agreement according to popular opinion). Whatever situation you find yourself in, what's "wrong" or "right" for the individual is what is set by the social code that is raised as a standard. And whether or not there is a god with any sort of ideas on right or wrong, that's how humans have been doing morality this whole time–whether the idea of god is invoked by the king or the group enforcing the social agreement or the people who contribute to the social code.

      July 26, 2012 at 10:07 am |
    • Wenger

      Atheist Steve: So you're saying this killer isn't 'wrong', he's just a loser?

      G Zeus: My view of No Country's killer morality was that he used fate to decide a victim's life or death by flipping a coin. He didn't claim responsibility for the death, he was just the messenger. Again, just my view.

      July 26, 2012 at 10:07 am |
    • G. Zeus Kreiszchte

      Flipping a coin is still random. He allowed an external object to decide for him whether he would kill, when he knew before flipping the coin that he would kill if it told him to. That is premeditated evil, no matter how you look at it.

      July 26, 2012 at 10:16 am |
    • AtheistSteve

      So if morality evolved along with us it invariably started out with fairly simple axioms. Pleasure is preferable to pain, health is preferable to sickness, life is preferable to death...etc. As we and our societies became more complex so too did our moral landscape. It's still subjective but it is rooted in notions that support the welfare of the common good. Yes you can point to history to reveal morals that fail by todays standards(morality is still evolving)...such as slavery...but do you think the slaves felt good about their position? No..of course not.. so that moral stance was clearly subjective.

      July 26, 2012 at 10:17 am |
    • Moby Schtick

      @john vance

      It's not an either or situation. The universe might be any number of infinite possibilities instead of just two. It's a false dichotomy to present it as either "goddidit' or "cosmic hiccup." Logic is your friend.

      If the universe has no ultimate meaning in it's trillion, bilion gazillion, bazingaillion-sillion, year "program," that has nothing to do with your finite life and the finite life of your species and the finite life of your social group, and etc. Your decision affect your community and the larger world community. Don't be so stupid as to conflate some idea of the universe having no ultimate purpose as your choices of morality having no purpose here and now.

      As an atheist, I use faith for certain ideas. One of my articles of faith is that my choices have consequences beyond what I can observe. Another of those articles is that the universal process is producing some sort of "good" even though it may not seem like it in many instances within my short life and from my limited viewpoint. Along with other "articles of faith," I have found those to be useful to my own life and practice. I could be totally wrong, because I don't know, but that's beside the point.

      Don't let stupid reasoning and faulty algorithms (illogical arguments) make chaos or "evil" seem more reasonable than unreasonable just to feel better about other stupid reasoning and faulty algorithms about some ridiculous myth of some god or other.

      July 26, 2012 at 10:18 am |
    • AtheistSteve

      Yes of course he's wrong...but not because his actions are objectively so...it's because his actions are anti-social. His actions are antithetical to harmonious social wellbeing ending with him being viewed as an outcast. That's all morals are...social rules. There are also hierarchies to social morality. It's starts with self. The next level is family, then to next higher group(village/town), then to country/nation and finally to everyone(global). It gets more complex as the group gets more extensive and inclusive. Sam Harrison has an excellent book/video titled The Moral Landscape that goes into greater detail. Many times there are more than one option when making a moral decision and that also demonstrates that morals are not objective.

      July 26, 2012 at 10:39 am |
    • AtheistSteve

      Finally God can't be intrinsically moral. Before he supposedly created the universe and everything in it He apparently was alone for an infinite period of time until the act of creation. Perfect and alone....which begs the question of WHY he would feel the need to alter this perfection by creating something that was decidedly NOT perfect (The universe is messy, chaotic, random and almost entirely inhospitable to life). No morality can occur until an action is performed upon another entity..

      July 26, 2012 at 10:54 am |
    • Wenger

      AtheistSteve, I choose not to accept that killing innocent people in a movie theater isn't objectively wrong. Without some objective good or evil, I am logically free to do as I like and nobody can tell me its right or wrong. Of course I may be ostracized from society for doing what most people feel is 'wrong', but why is even that result good or bad? From your responses it seems that you do not allow for the remotest possibility of the existence of a god, and I think you're making logical leaps to support your presupposition. Example: You have not demonstrated any logical connection between 'wrong' and 'not a helpful member of society/outcast' because you refuse to consider the possibility that there is any objective standard of wrong. Maybe there is no difference in your view. I'm not talking about one religion's god versus another, totally different topic... Besides, we're not going to change each other's minds on a CNN blog.

      July 26, 2012 at 11:21 am |
    • AtheistSteve

      No we won't change each others minds. Incidentally I do allow for the possibility of an existent god, I just don't believe it's probable due to a complete lack of evidence.
      I've done what I can to show you how killing can be demonstrated to be wrong from an entirely subjective viewpoint based on tens of thousands of years of human social evolution. Whether you accept it or not it remains consistent with what we observe in humans and to a lessor extent in other social animals.
      You would have morals authored by a supreme arbiter whereas I don't accept that morality is that simplistic. You would have morality exist as "set in stone" as it were even if there were nobody or even just yourself alive on the planet. I however believe someone would only be capable of a moral "act" if there were another individual around to experience the consequences of that act. Thus it is entirely subjective.

      July 26, 2012 at 12:21 pm |
    • Jeff

      Morality was brought about as a survival mechanism. As we evolved and started living more in social groups it was a necessary evolution so that groups would survive and grow. You see morality in other less advanced animals just as chimps who form social groups. How would you explain that? Maybe they are Christian’s to?

      July 26, 2012 at 12:35 pm |
    • *

      " Maybe they are Christian’s to"

      *too

      July 26, 2012 at 12:37 pm |
    • AtheistSteve

      I think where we are clashing is rooted in the terminology. I don't believe in the existence of "good and evil". Those are highly charged terms heavy with religious connotations.. I've tried to soften the terms by using good and bad but that is merely muddying the waters. I view morality using the secular terms of benefit or harm. Thus it is easy to classify something as "wrong" if it inflicts harm. But morality is also fluid and dependent on the situation. The harm of being pricked by a needle is outweighed by the benefit of immunity to disease from a flu shot for example.

      July 26, 2012 at 12:48 pm |
  3. John Vance

    God is in his heaven and all is right with the world, I just don't know what God is and certainly have no idea which set of religious tenets (if any) best represent Him. Stick with the basics of love, brotherhood, amity, etc and don't get lost in the doctrinal details. The need to feel correct can get in the way of the desire to be good.
    Oh yeah, I forgot, don't kill people for kicks, it's counter-productive to mankind.

    July 26, 2012 at 9:31 am |
  4. supabuckz

    Evil is not God's will! It is Satan who influences people that cause these things. God allows it to happen becuase we as man have free will! God is very sad by the bad things that go on. Trust in yourself and him; he will put a end to all evil!

    July 26, 2012 at 9:25 am |
    • Who invited me?

      Getting a lot of milage on this one...Free will :The term used by religious affiliated people to explain the total absence of god when someone does something bad.

      July 26, 2012 at 9:28 am |
    • G. Zeus Kreiszchte

      So you're saying it IS "god's" will to ALLOW "satan" to do bad things....or maybe you mean it's because "god" is too weak to prevent "satan" from doing bad things......or what are you saying?

      July 26, 2012 at 9:31 am |
    • Moby Schtick

      Also blaming any non pleasant realities of life on "the debil" is stupid as fvck. Rainbows and kittens? Oh, god made them. Landslides and Ebola? That's the debil's fault, sure enough.

      July 26, 2012 at 9:35 am |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      supa: Ah, here lies the problem...your imaginary friend created its own imaginary arch enemy, so in turn it makes it your imaginary friends fault...stop being blind and attempt to live in the 21st century

      July 26, 2012 at 9:43 am |
    • ninjakun

      I will die laughing at the ignorance of all those stupid people beilieving there is a "God". Religion is an inner fear and the highest expression of human incapacity to take care of his own problems.

      July 26, 2012 at 9:51 am |
    • sam stone

      supa: what makes you think you have the authority to speak for god?

      July 26, 2012 at 10:13 am |
    • AndriconBoy

      Where was God!?

      Well, what about everyone else? Where was Captain Ahab and Moby Dick? Where was Batman? What about Horus or Marduk? Where was Peter Pan? Where was Barney the Purple Dinosaur? Where was the Tooth Fairy and Santa Clause? Where was Ogopogo and Bigfoot? Where was Dr. Who, Optimus Prime and Indiana Jones? Where were the freaking Care Bears??

      July 26, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
  5. Mikael Laine

    Saying a shooting like this one is somehow God's fault, is the same as saying its your mother's fault if you at age 30 haven't cleaned your house in months.

    The bible is very clear on this: GOD'S WILL DOES NOT ALWAYS HAPPEN!!!!!
    This is the very point of why God tells us to pray "thy will be done, thy kingdom come". If His will always came to pass anyway, that prayer would be of no consequence.

    Please understand, people...

    July 26, 2012 at 9:23 am |
  6. J

    Why does everyone think this is God's fault? How about the humans who have problems that are doing it instead. It's not Gd's fault.

    July 26, 2012 at 9:21 am |
    • AtheistSteve

      You're right...nothing is God's fault...nothing at all...God isn't responsible for anything whatsoever.

      July 26, 2012 at 9:31 am |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      Why does god get all of the credit but none of the blame? He can't have it both ways.

      July 26, 2012 at 9:36 am |
    • John

      When the chilean miners were rescued why did so many people thank God? Humans are full of love and compassion and are capable of extraordinary things.

      Why do religious people have so much difficulty giving credit to humans?

      July 26, 2012 at 9:41 am |
    • AndriconBoy

      I'm just going to paste my response to you from under my own comment.

      [Of course it’s God’s fault. Xtians will tell you that “everything is part of God’s plan,” therefore God is the orchestrator of this event. If everything is according to God’s plan, then that also means all suffering, pain, death, and violence is also part of God’s plan. You don’t get to say “it’s not God’s fault” or “God works in mysterious ways” just because you don’t like what your “God” is did, or because God did something absolutely terrible to a bunch of innocent people. And isn’t it funny how stuff like this happens to innocent people? Why isn’t God choking the life out of serial killers or squads of machete attackers in Africa?
      This is directly God’s fault. God made this happen. God willed it and I dare you to tell that to the family and friends of the victims. Go ahead! Explain to them how God loves them so much that he had their friends and family put to death by sending a (probably) insane gunman to blast holes in their heads and bodies and have their brains and blood strewn all over witnesses.

      If a human being acted in the same way people attribute to God’s behavior, he would be locked up in an insane asylum or put to death: mass murder one moment, making rainbows the next. Creating tsunamis that kill hundreds of thousands here, flowers and helping children get over their colds there. Big freaking deal. Are you going to tell me that behavior isn’t psychotic? God is a tyrannical madman that inflicts pain and suffering on the world and tells his followers to help in spreading misery, or at the very best, tells them to pray but certainly doesn’t tell them to stop doing terrible things to other people.
      The pain God inflicts on the world is exponentially greater than the good God does, as demonstrated by my remark above.
      And yet Xtians worship this!?!?
      For that Xtians should also be locked up in an asylum, and if for no other reason than because the most affluent, wealthy, high-profile Xtian noise boxes they try to force their hypocritical world view on others which often results in harm, intolerance, bigotry, hate, and violence – all in the name of a voice in their head that they claim is a being that doesn’t exist.

      God wasn’t there because God doesn’t exist.
      The sooner the devout actually do something beneficial in the name of Humanity – instead of performing atrocities in the name of their god – the sooner this planet will understand the peace and love that religions pretend to have an exclusive claim on.
      A world without God won’t stop events like this from happening, but a world with God doesn’t either.
      At least in a world without God we can hold ourselves accountable for our actions and take actions to help our fellow man instead of muttering some ritualistic garbage to ourselves at the dinner table or bedside.]

      July 26, 2012 at 10:00 am |
  7. G. Zeus Kreiszchte

    "god" and "satan" are purely imaginary, but good and evil are not. Nevertheless, good and evil are NOT absolutes. They are subjective. Shooting up people at random is evil but killing someone in self-defense is good.

    July 26, 2012 at 9:20 am |
  8. AndriconBoy

    God was at the same place he is when hundreds of thousands of children in Africa die each year from AIDS as the Church forbids condoms instead of teaching logic, and hands out bibles instead of food.
    God was at the same place he is when 2 million people die every year from Malaria, which is preventable and curable.
    God was at the same place he is when Christians in Rwanda execute people because God made them gay, and orders Christian warlords like Joseph Kony to commit genocide in his name so that God’s people will have a “pure” place to live.
    God was at the same place he is when he causes millions of children to be miscarried and stillborn each year (because that’s “part of God’s plan”) and then condemns them to all h3|| for never having accepted Jesus as their savior. Don’t complain to me about it. I didn’t make the rules, but they are clearly stipulated in his book.
    God was at the same place he is when millions of children are born with crippling birth defects each year and have no chance of having a normal life. "Jesus loves the little children," indeed.
    God was at the same place he is when he orders a religiously devout woman to drown her children in the tub, approves of Benny Hinn duping people out of their money, and whispers to Pat Robertson to repeat horrible, atrocious, hateful things in his name.

    So exactly where was God?
    He was helping Joe Republican’s mom refinance her house “just in time.”
    He was helping the Cardinals butcher the Cubs last week, because apparently God likes the Redbirds.
    He was putting that missing $20 in the pocket of your other pants after you thought you lost it.
    He was robbing employers of their free will in order to give you the job you interviewed for, because clearly you could not have gotten the job on your own and clearly the people interviewing you are incapable of making decisions.
    He was ever so slightly belaying the heatwave he caused so you could get in a full 18 holes at the course.

    Yup, God’s priorities are perfectly aligned, and it’s not at all a coincidence that his actions fall in line with what each individual believer wants, enjoys, and hates.

    July 26, 2012 at 9:10 am |
    • J

      Just because he was there doesn't mean it was his fault.

      July 26, 2012 at 9:24 am |
    • tallulah13

      Well said, AndriconBoy.

      July 26, 2012 at 9:40 am |
    • ArthurP

      I believe it is called 'depraved indifference' and as Man is more compassionate has made it is against the law.

      July 26, 2012 at 9:43 am |
    • AndriconBoy

      @ J

      Of course it’s God’s fault. Xtians will tell you that “everything is part of God’s plan,” therefore God is the orchestrator of this event. If everything is according to God’s plan, then that also means all suffering, pain, death, and violence is also part of God’s plan. You don’t get to say “it’s not God’s fault” or “God works in mysterious ways” just because you don’t like what your “God” is did, or because God did something absolutely terrible to a bunch of innocent people. And isn’t it funny how stuff like this happens to innocent people? Why isn’t God choking the life out of serial killers or squads of machete attackers in Africa?
      This is directly God’s fault. God made this happen. God willed it and I dare you to tell that to the family and friends of the victims. Go ahead! Explain to them how God loves them so much that he had their friends and family put to death by sending a (probably) insane gunman to blast holes in their heads and bodies and have their brains and blood strewn all over witnesses.

      If a human being acted in the same way people attribute to God’s behavior, he would be locked up in an insane asylum or put to death: mass murder one moment, making rainbows the next. Creating tsunamis that kill hundreds of thousands here, flowers and helping children get over their colds there. Big freaking deal. Are you going to tell me that behavior isn’t psychotic? God is a tyrannical madman that inflicts pain and suffering on the world and tells his followers to help in spreading misery, or at the very best, tells them to pray but certainly doesn’t tell them to stop doing terrible things to other people.
      The pain God inflicts on the world is exponentially greater than the good God does, as demonstrated by my remark above.
      And yet Xtians worship this!?!?
      For that Xtians should also be locked up in an asylum, and if for no other reason than because the most affluent, wealthy, high-profile Xtian noise boxes they try to force their hypocritical world view on others which often results in harm, intolerance, bigotry, hate, and violence – all in the name of a voice in their head that they claim is a being that doesn’t exist.

      God wasn’t there because God doesn’t exist.
      The sooner the devout actually do something beneficial in the name of Humanity – instead of performing atrocities in the name of their god – the sooner this planet will understand the peace and love that religions pretend to have an exclusive claim on.
      A world without God won’t stop events like this from happening, but a world with God doesn’t either.
      At least in a world without God we can hold ourselves accountable for our actions and take actions to help our fellow man instead of muttering some ritualistic garbage to ourselves at the dinner table or bedside.

      July 26, 2012 at 9:48 am |
    • ninjakun

      J, you are as stupid as your God. You don't have anything valuable to say here; so, stay away from those who have a brain to think...

      July 26, 2012 at 9:57 am |
  9. G. Zeus Kreiszchte

    Where was "god" when Jared Loughner went a-shootin? Was "god" a Republican? Or did "god" just hate Arizona or one of its Democrat politicians?

    Where was "god" when David Berkowitz went a-shootin? Or the Texas A&M tower shooter? Or the DC sniper? Or.....?

    Where was "god" on 9-11? Is "god" not American? Or is "god" not really christian?

    "god" is a fvkiing lame-@$$, impotent REEEETARD!!!!

    July 26, 2012 at 9:04 am |
    • Nietodarwin

      Simmer down. Most atheists had to throw off the shackles of some faith, had to get some education, before they evolved into thinking rational people. Evolution takes time. Being that judgmental is THEIR way of doing things.

      Oh, by the way, I don't think you mean Texas A&M, but The University of Texas.

      July 26, 2012 at 9:22 am |
    • J

      Does that mean any of it was his fault? No, it was the fault of the people who caused those things.

      July 26, 2012 at 9:28 am |
    • Moby Schtick

      Of course it was the fault of the person. God doesn't exist.

      If you think your god is all-powerful and all-knowing, then he COULD have stopped it by YOUR reasoning, and he didn't, and therefore it was part of his divine plan. That's not the atheist's dilemma; it's the god believer's.

      July 26, 2012 at 9:41 am |
  10. Nietodarwin

    MOST CHRISTIANS DO NOT VOMIT ALL OVER THE TABLE. Yet this is what they do when they continually bring up their faith around the rest of us. If you are christian, (and/or other religions), and you feel the need to "share" your faith, think of it in those terms. The rest of us don't want to see it, hear it or smell it. Some of you ARE polite, and keep it to yourselves, and we non believers thank you for your good manners. As for the rest of you, when you go on and on about something repugnant to us it's the same as vomiting at the table.

    July 26, 2012 at 9:01 am |
  11. Afton Barger

    There is no such thing as god. Every god through history was created to keep the masses in line. If some all powerful being will welcome you home or send you to an eternity of torture was just a theory concocted by men in power to keep his populous under control. Most religions have existed a few thousand years, while there is irrefutable proof the world has existed much longer. Telling about Jesus simply tells everyone they are loved by SOMEONE even if no one really loves them at all. Tales of hell and purgatory are simply introduced to frighten people into being good so they don't end up in an eternity of damnation and torture. People will believe just about anything. By our nature we require some type of hope, love, or faith. Organized religion brings that to the masses and makes a pretty penny on it at the same time. There is no god, in any culture. There are only men of power willing to exploit a belief system of the masses for his or her own means and ends. The sooner people stop relying on a god and start relying on the world around them, the faster they can acknowledge that we are the masters of our own destiny and we have nothing to fear when our lives come to a close.

    July 26, 2012 at 9:00 am |
    • G. Zeus Kreiszchte

      "Most religions have existed a few thousand years, while there is irrefutable proof the world has existed much longer"

      But unfortunately the religious freaks will tell you that "The Word" was passed down verbally since the "beginning of time" and just happened to not be written down until just a few thousand years ago.

      July 26, 2012 at 9:08 am |
  12. John

    If God is in control and everything happens according to His plan then man does not have true free will.

    July 26, 2012 at 8:47 am |
    • James

      Just because God is all knowing and all powerful doesn't mean we don't have true free will. He knows us so well that he knows what we will do in every situation, but we still have to make the choice. It's like a mother that tells her child not to touch the stove. The mother knows her child well enough to know that the child will go ahead and touch the stove, but it is still up to the child to touch the stove or not.

      July 26, 2012 at 9:11 am |
    • John

      As most mothers intervene many Christians believe their god intervenes. If you believe in an interventionist god then you can not believe in true free will.

      Even without intervening, if God created Holmes knowing that, according to His plan, he would massacre a dozen innocents then you can not claim that Holmes had free will or that he should be held morally accountable to God for doing exactly what God had planned.

      If god either intervenes or everything is planned and known then you do not have free will.

      July 26, 2012 at 9:29 am |
  13. In His Care

    In a sermon delivered on Sept. 1, 1861, Charles Spurgeon preached from 1 Corinthians 2:14 in which it is declared that the natural man does not, cannot, and will not receive things from the Spirit of God and such things are considered foolish. In that sermon, he said, "You wise fellows who turn upon your heels, and sneer at things which have astonished minds infinitely vaster than yours, prove your own folly when you call the things of God folly." Consider such. Of course I'm speaking to believers; that which I'm saying does not sit well with the unbelieving; it cannot and will not. I pray that the Spirit of the Living God of Heaven (and not Lalaland or Neverland) will quicken you so that you make awake to righteousness. To the believing, remember 1 Corinthians 1:18, "for the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God." Let Him do what in His eyes is good.

    July 26, 2012 at 8:46 am |
    • Brother Maynard

      This is what frustrates me about believers
      Sentance 1:
      "... 1 Corinthians 2:14 in which it is declared that the natural man does not, cannot, and will not receive things from the Spirit of God ..."
      Sentance 6:
      "Let Him do what in His eyes is good."
      Why should I let him do what is good ... when I cannot receive things from him ?
      In one paragraph you IHC totaly and completely contradicts himself.

      July 26, 2012 at 9:37 am |
  14. Rainer Braendlein

    Life on earth is like a stretched second. For a second we have to endure the evildoers, but after the second God will punish them. Don't let us overestimate temporal suffering.

    We can regard our life on earth as a stretched second. Even time is a matter of scaling. Simply imagine you had been in general anesthetic for ten real years. It really could happen that at awakening you think you had slept only a second.

    Or imagine your whole life would be shot and then you would take a medicament which accelerates the processing speed of your brain. Actually the movie of your life would last maybe 70 yeasr, but with higher processing speed of your brain you could watch it in 7 seconds. You see it is only a matter of scaling.

    And God gives the sinner an opportunity to repent which can be over yet this evening. Hence, don't deny God's existence, but repent, before it is too late.

    During the "stretched second" on earth the good people have to endure the evil people and hope that some of them repent.

    People who became righeous through God's Gospel of his Son Jesus Christ will thank God from eternity to eternity. Thank you God, that you gave us a time where we could seek and find you, they will tell God in heaven.

    July 26, 2012 at 8:45 am |
    • Who invited me?

      You have a lot to learn about physics.

      July 26, 2012 at 8:59 am |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      "but after the second God will punish them."

      Rainer,

      That is not exactly true now is it? If the shooter truly asks god for forgiveness and accepts Jesus as his savior he gets out of the punishment according to your dogma. It is another reason why your christian dogma is immoral.

      July 26, 2012 at 9:09 am |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      @Who invited me?

      You may understand primitive physics, but obviously you don't understand higher physics or metaphysics.

      Primary school and university are two different levels. Do you get this?

      July 26, 2012 at 9:11 am |
    • Nietodarwin

      You have a lot to learn about physics, that is true. You could also stand a lesson or two in basic punctuation. I am an atheist who did go to catholic school. Maybe catholic education is better than "born again evangelical." You are not dead yet. We have libraries in this wonderful country. GET SOME EDUCATION, look at different points of view. You are an embarrassment to yourself and your "faith" ( or whatever word you want to use for your delusion.)

      July 26, 2012 at 9:16 am |
    • Who invited me?

      I am absolutely certin you do not know anything rainer. I have seen your posts and it is obviuos you have studied but you have not learned.
      My knowledge of physics and higher mathematics is far beyond the average. If you understood anything about M theory ( the unified string theory) you would know that your starting post is just the ranting of imagination.

      July 26, 2012 at 9:18 am |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      @No Truth, Just Claims

      Indeed, as long as Holmes lives on earth, he can repent. But, of course, after he had repented, he would no longer kill people, but help people.

      It is clear that the authority could hardly acknowledge a confession of faith by Holmes, maybe he will get executed. However, if he had really repented and put his trust in the Lord, he would get into heaven, because Jesus has borne his sins, and made him righteous by his resurrection.

      July 26, 2012 at 9:21 am |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      That is my point Rainer,

      You could live the most immoral life and if you "ask forgiveness" (not even of those you actually offended) from god you are REWARDED. And conversely if you lead a moral life helping others but do not accept the flawed rational for your god you are punished FOREVER. You are rewarded or punished for belief (a thought crime). If any government treated its citizens in such a way they would revolt. Might does not make right. It is an immoral concept and christians should be ashamed of following such an awful concept.

      July 26, 2012 at 9:33 am |
  15. See youthereNOT

    To all of the nonbeliever, because you don't have hope, faith , or love makes your rants funny. My faith in God has allowed me to not judge you, but feel sorry for your ignorance. I pray for you all though I doubt you will accept it.

    July 26, 2012 at 8:44 am |
    • John

      You are ignorant if you think nonbelievers do not have hope or love.

      Why would you ever think that being rational instead of faithful somehow excludes love?

      July 26, 2012 at 8:54 am |
    • Who invited me?

      you claim not to judge and then immediatley call people ignorant.
      Your faith hasn't taught you anything christian.
      Beleiving in myth and fairy tales does not mean you are educated.
      Your little guide book is full of lies.

      July 26, 2012 at 8:57 am |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      You just judged us by calling us ignorant...slightly hypocritical.

      July 26, 2012 at 9:04 am |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      And btw: we do know love...by claiming that we don't shows how little you know about Atheists. No, we do not have faith...faith is defined as belief without evidence and unlike you, we happen to care that what we believe is true.

      July 26, 2012 at 9:06 am |
    • Nietodarwin

      There is nothing "funny" about non believers rants. There is nothing funny about xstians shooting off their mouths about their stupid faith. You say you are going to "pray for us." You are vomiting on us.

      MANY CHRISTIANS ARE POLITE ENOUGH TO KEEP THEIR FAITH TO THEMSELVES, try learning some manners, and don't pray for us. When you pray for us, you prey upon us. Think of it in terms of vomit. Do you vomit at the table in front of other people eating? Wouldn't you "rant" if someone were throwing up all over you?

      July 26, 2012 at 9:09 am |
    • tallulah13

      When you say atheists have no hope, faith or love, and when you call us ignorant, you are judging. Atheists are generally well educated, can love and be loved, and hope just as much as anyone else. We have faith in things that are tangible.

      You try to deny us our humanity because we don't believe exactly what you do, but what you are really doing is lying. So by your post, you have shown yourself to be a judgmental liar. Are these your christian values?

      July 26, 2012 at 9:51 am |
  16. Anthony

    Here's a question to all non-believers. We have these victims of a crime that even you would call evil that are looking for true, definitive answers not based on feelings and emotional anger towards God that would answer why this has happened, the meaning of life, etc. What do you communicate to them? Death is very sobering. They are looking for hope.

    July 26, 2012 at 8:39 am |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      Sadly there are no easy answers. What this man did was the direct result of a diseased mind. I would not lie to them and blame this on anything that can't be proven with evidence. There were people of various beliefs in the theater that night. This mad man didn't care who it was or what they believed in, he simply cared about creating chaos. I believe that everyone needs something to grasp on to in times of death but to lie and say these people have gone to a god that can't be proven to exist or lie and say that this is the result of a satan that can't be proven to exist is not helping them either. Man has been doing horrible things forever and until better measures are put in place and we as humanity figure out how to prevent this type of stuff from happening, we can't expect to see an end to it. This should be a direct indication of what needs to change. Owning weapons should come with a requirement that one goes for strict testing and they should need to pass a psychological test...any weapon in the hands of a person with a diseased mind is dangerous. My heart breaks for these people, so I will not disrespect them and can only hope they find solace in the time to come.

      July 26, 2012 at 9:03 am |
    • MominMichigan

      That was pretty well stated, TruthPrevails.

      July 26, 2012 at 9:11 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      Where will solace come from?

      July 26, 2012 at 9:15 am |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      Bill: Sadly that is not easy to answer either. I recall the first death I experienced after I stopped believing and I know how difficult death is to deal with and how people need to grasp to something, almost anything. As stated there were both believers and non-believers in that theater that night...so where does one draw the line on the grief process? Personally I can happily set aside my disbelief to show respect for my fellow man. It doesn't matter if I agree with the belief or not, it matters that one cares enough to show support and love for all. I am not so ignorant that I won't attend a church funeral. I don't attend the church funeral and participate, I attend that funeral out of respect for the deceased and the loved ones left to go on. I can accept that death is part of what we must face in this world.

      July 26, 2012 at 9:35 am |
    • Anthony

      What if an objective proof that explains life, why we are here, and the natural human condition that goes deeper than a diseased mind? Would you not communicate it? Yeah he definitely had an agenda that created chaos but he too more than likely had a view of God that was inaccurate. (Only he knows his motives.) God never approved of murder of human beings not in a unjustified war context in the Bible. Why is it considered a lie by non-believers that God and Satan doesn't exists just because you feel it's not proven or that you all just haven't been "convinced" by what you see? I totally agree with human responsibility but humanity isn't going to save itself. So many differences out on what's right & what's wrong, what's good for you what's good for me, etc. There HAS to be an objective truth that exists, else we just continue falling. I said all that to say this: we as Christians believe that objective truth exists and have been entrusted with advancing the good news of the Gospel so that people are redeemed, strengthened, and comforted. It's not that we figured it out through human logic but that the Spirit of God has opened our eyes and hearts. Human logic and wisdom can't hold a candle to infinite wisdom. So if we cannot prove it in a way that "convinces" a non-believer it gets classified as a lie and typically what happens is the communication that the existence of God is a lie and that becomes the refuted message. No side can complain about spreading a belief. We all have a belief whether it is in God, men, or nothing.

      July 26, 2012 at 10:13 am |
    • Anthony

      TruthPrevails: I empathize with your first moment of unbelief. From what you've communicated, you've accepted death as part of life. Death is sobering. How do you go on with life knowing that you're going to die? Where do you get any hope from to live each day? As complex as life is all the beautiful things about and in life and all it's intricacy that exists apart from us (despite the Aurora shootings) it would seem like there is some meaning to it all or at least some creator.

      July 26, 2012 at 10:23 am |
  17. Bohemer

    Jesus was not on duty that day. Allah was, who is far more tolerant towards fireams (they rotate duties, the third being Buddha). The two often slug it out in heavenly media, for the entertainment of angel audience. Which, by the way, is also split along ideological and party lines.

    July 26, 2012 at 8:39 am |
    • Really

      Sorry, I know you're joking around, but it doesn't seem like you have any idea what buddhism is about.

      July 26, 2012 at 9:06 am |
    • John

      Buddhists do not believe in a diety. Some people even consider them atheist because they lack belief in a god.

      July 26, 2012 at 9:15 am |
  18. MominMichigan

    Maybe when we stop shunning God from our schools, government, media and society overall, we could ask him where he was while we were pushing him away.

    It's like not inviting someone to your birthday party and then calling them the next day asking for a present.

    Pretty unfair to pin this on God when all our society does is push him away. Where God isn't welcome, it's just an open invitation for evil.

    July 26, 2012 at 8:31 am |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      The reason your particular brand of imaginary friend is not allowed in schools or the public square is because if you want respect for your belief, you need to start to pay respect for the rest of society. You have no more evidence to support the existence of your imaginary friend than any other belief does. The consti.tution specifically states separation of church and state, thus you live in a secular nation. Theocratic countries do exist but the USA is not one of them and never has been.

      July 26, 2012 at 8:38 am |
    • MominMichigan

      The USA has never been one of them? Read your currency. "In God We Trust"

      July 26, 2012 at 8:46 am |
    • Who invited me?

      MominMichigan.
      The lie that says in god we trust was only put there in the 1950's
      It was put there by religious zealots forcing their beliefs on others.
      It is a lie...here is the proof.
      I am one of the all inclusive we.
      I do not trust in any god.
      Perhaps it could say in god many trust, or in god most of us trust, but that would probablynot work either would it.
      Best to go with the ORIGINAL motto E pluribus unem.

      July 26, 2012 at 9:06 am |
    • MominMichigan

      It's just a shame that anything good and positive in this world has to be taken away because everyone has to be such a critic. Why can't we just accept something good as just that? If keeping the presence of God around us helps make this world a better place, why do we have to pick it apart and dismiss it?

      July 26, 2012 at 9:15 am |
    • Who invited me?

      How does keeping a belief in the non-existant translate to being good? (ie do you still believe in santa?)
      Why didn't the christians keep things the way they were and not add their religion to the pledge and to our money?
      Why do you think that people who do not believe such as you cannot be good people?

      Answer me these questions three.

      July 26, 2012 at 9:22 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Knock off the nonsense about god being "kicked out" of schools, government, and public places. Is you god so weak and puny that he needs auditory and visual praise everywhere, all the time? Does he not know what you are thinking? Can you not pray silently? No one has 'kicked god' out of anything-he didn't belong there in the first place. Forcing children to pray the lord's prayer in school? Shouldn't ever have occurred; we are not all christians and children who are of other faiths or no faith should not be forced to participate in a government-sponsored prayer.

      While it is perfectly legitimate to teach children about all religions, it is NOT appropriate, in a public school, to allow religious indoctrination. Never was.

      July 26, 2012 at 9:28 am |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      MominMichigan: It's fortunately not my currency. I live in your friendly secular country to the North and sadly it seems that we know more about your country than you do. Have you even read your consti.tution to comprehend what separation of church and state means? Have you ever researched what your founding fathers said? If you don't want us or any other belief/disbelief imposing on you, then show some respect and do not impose your belief on others. There are so many versions of imaginary deities, how are you so certain of yours?

      July 26, 2012 at 10:20 am |
    • Jen

      I agree. You are free to teach your children about whatever religion you want. I don't understand why it is so important to you that MY CHILDREN believe the same thing. My children are being raised to be wonderful people (and they are), without me using the threat of burning in h-ll to force them to be good.

      Belief in god can be positive and negative. Many people use their belief in god to discriminate and even kill.

      July 26, 2012 at 10:28 am |
  19. AGuest9

    God NT – "Not There"

    July 26, 2012 at 8:29 am |
  20. Carl

    God was out at a social with the Tooth Fairy, Santa Claus and Zeus. Only Allah was around and he was cool with it.

    July 26, 2012 at 8:27 am |
    • Bohemer

      Zeus retired centuries ago, these days it a trio of different ideologues running the heavenly show – Jesus, Allah, and Buddha.

      July 26, 2012 at 8:41 am |
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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.