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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. Grandma

    God exist. Read the Bible !

    July 24, 2012 at 6:48 pm |
    • Joe Momma

      God is not real.

      July 24, 2012 at 6:50 pm |
    • Joe Momma

      If God were real, it is your responsibility to prove it. Go on....go ahead. You CANNOT do it.

      July 24, 2012 at 6:51 pm |
    • Ken

      Superman exists! Read the comic book!

      July 24, 2012 at 6:54 pm |
    • noevidence

      God no exist. Read any other book.

      July 24, 2012 at 6:54 pm |
    • A Frayed Knot

      Grandma,

      The Bible is a book which includes some history of primitive Hebrew culture, and some bits good advice for practical, beneficial human behavior (also available elsewhere), but mostly it is a compilation of ancient Middle Eastern historical fiction, myth, legend, superst.ition and fantasy.

      There is not a whit of verified evidence for any of the supernatural beings and events in that book.

      July 24, 2012 at 6:58 pm |
    • GOD

      Tell them to do not forget to judge their existence god the judge the scale of justice god spirit energy fire nature body life their enemy as they do in york they go against their existence reality , once they are locked up in their fantasy negativity the spiritualy dead the infection

      July 24, 2012 at 7:00 pm |
    • Tommy P.

      Who wrote the Bible?? we, human beings wrote the Bible about God. Why can't we just think deep that back in the old days, those who wrote the Bible could make up their stories. There could be a conspiracy behind the Bible.

      July 24, 2012 at 7:10 pm |
    • Believer

      God exists alright, and He loves us all, even those who died at the hands of that killer. Sin exists and it will continue to exist until Jesus Christ returns to set up His kingdom. Why God allowed some to die and others to live, I can't say, other than that God still has plans for those who survived, and through this tragedy others may be drawn to Jesus Christ and be saved. God has compassion on whom He has compassion. His ways are far higher than ours so we can't always comprehend why.
      One thing for sure is that every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. All atheists who've died have already bowed and confessed, many times over I'm sure.

      July 25, 2012 at 8:18 am |
  2. Stephen

    Every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess one day that Jesus is Lord and yes that means all of the biblical doubters and non believers. Tragedies such as these are gut wrenching and I know God doesn't like to see us hurt and kill each other but the price of sin is death. This country has been rejecting God for far too long and I do believe God will continue to allow these tragedies to happen as long as we continue to hate and reject his teachings.

    July 24, 2012 at 6:48 pm |
    • Joe Momma

      When will you learn that god is not real. Jesus died and is dead...he ain't coming back. Learn to think and live for yourself!

      July 24, 2012 at 6:51 pm |
    • Tommy P.

      don't put your trust/faith too much into the Bible bro. Don't let the Bibles fool you. Use your common senses and logics when readings.

      July 24, 2012 at 7:15 pm |
  3. There. Are. No. Gods!

    god was in the same place he was on 9/11, during katrina, columbine, or the Oklahoma City bombing to name a few. . . no where. god does not exist. I find it hard to believe that people are still talking about this old fable as if it is at all possible to be real. There are no gods, and it is no longer important to even talk about this anymore until proof is found of them existing.

    July 24, 2012 at 6:48 pm |
    • Joe Momma

      Good call! Continue to be vocal and use reason. Keep it up!

      July 24, 2012 at 6:50 pm |
    • Jeff

      I don't think you exist either.

      July 24, 2012 at 6:53 pm |
    • pntkl

      An appeal to ignorance is considered a logical fallacy. Se><tus Empericus said it well, "When they propose to establish the universal from the particulars by means of induction, they will effect this by a review of either all or some of the particulars. But if they review some, the induction will be insecure, since some of the particulars omitted in the induction may contravene the universal; while if they are to review all, they will be toiling at the impossible, since the particulars are infinite and indefinite."

      July 24, 2012 at 6:55 pm |
  4. nburton6

    If God were to take away all the pain and suffering every time we asked (or didn't ask), we would follow him out of comfort and convenience, not love and devotion. The story of Job is one example. No matter the events, good or bad in my life, my faith cannot be shaken.

    July 24, 2012 at 6:48 pm |
    • Joe Momma

      God is not real. Give up your imaginary friend.

      July 24, 2012 at 6:48 pm |
  5. Joe Momma

    I wish the world would wake up and realize that a god does not exist because it cannot exist.

    To mangle a Will Ferrell line from the movie Zoolander: "I feel like I'm taking crazy pills!"

    July 24, 2012 at 6:48 pm |
    • ikenelson

      God does exist. Nothing can make me doubt Him.

      July 24, 2012 at 8:14 pm |
  6. Peter

    I checked the white pages. He doesn't maintain a residence in Aurora, CO.

    July 24, 2012 at 6:47 pm |
    • Joe Momma

      hahaha! Most excellent!

      July 24, 2012 at 6:52 pm |
  7. ATHEISM = RELIGION

    ATHEISTS = NOT NORMAL HUMAN
    ATHEISM = RELIGION CULT
    ATHEISTS = IDI.OTS, FRE.AKS, BA.STARDS, M.ORONS

    July 24, 2012 at 6:47 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      What a surprise. Another useless troll.

      July 24, 2012 at 6:48 pm |
    • Ron

      Because people rant about how bad atheists are are the picture of mental stability.

      July 24, 2012 at 6:48 pm |
    • Colin

      Christianity is the belief that God impregnated a virgin with himself to give birth to himself so that he could sacrifice himself to himself to negate a rule that he himself made.

      July 24, 2012 at 6:49 pm |
    • garrettspeaks

      You my friend are mostly an atheist, you just believe in probably one god more than most self-described atheists.
      Atheism is a religion like bald is a hair color, it's not.
      Atheists tend to be highly rational, logical, and very moral. Very few are rule breakers, and in fact among prison populations only 0.2% are atheists while 90% follow Abrahamic faiths.
      Atheists are completely normal human beings.

      July 24, 2012 at 6:50 pm |
    • Ken

      If atheism is a religion, then I guess "Off" is a television channel.

      July 24, 2012 at 6:52 pm |
    • Joe Momma

      Now that, there, is a strange, twisted use of logic. Terribly, terribly flawed.

      July 24, 2012 at 6:53 pm |
  8. John

    There is a lot I don't know about suffering, but God didn't spare himself from suffering in Christ either. The bible declares we are under a curse and will remain so until the appointed time, whenever that may be. In the bible it doesn't promise we will have good lives, but instead promised us hardship and suffering for now.You don't have to believe it, I am merely pointing out that even in the bible, suffering was extreme on both the good and the bad.

    July 24, 2012 at 6:46 pm |
  9. WHEELS

    There are thousands of religions in the world. Everyone believes in some divine higher power. Well everyone is wrong, and that's what all people with different beliefs have in common.

    July 24, 2012 at 6:46 pm |
    • Joe Momma

      Nicely said, Wheels!

      July 24, 2012 at 6:58 pm |
  10. jmb2fly

    I don't know.........

    July 24, 2012 at 6:46 pm |
  11. Colin

    Can you imagine a history book one hundred years from now:

    "Probably the most amazing thing about the people of the early 21st Century is that, despite having probed the deepest oceans, understood the smallest subatomic particles and put a man on the moon, they still tried to interperate natural or manmade events through the prism of a collection of Iron Age myths from the Middle East, which were cobbled together into a book called "the Bible" before the Dark Ages."

    July 24, 2012 at 6:46 pm |
    • noevidence

      Sweet quote, I like it.

      July 24, 2012 at 6:48 pm |
    • Joe Momma

      Excellent work Colin! Keep it up!

      July 24, 2012 at 6:54 pm |
  12. Ryan

    500 years from now, if humans haven't made themselves exctinct over believing in their invisible friend, humans will still be having this ridiculous debate. We don't understand the universe so the first thing you morons think is that some sky daddy created everything? Only a complete fool would believe such garbage. If you can't tell religion is nothing more than a man-made tool used for power and control, well there is just no helping you. F god

    July 24, 2012 at 6:46 pm |
    • Joe Momma

      Spot on, Ryan! Keep up the good work!

      July 24, 2012 at 6:55 pm |
    • Funny

      Haha I never comment on this stupid stuff but the end of yours was too classic. f god. lol. Like when I was 9 and I learned to read I understood that the notion of god is hilarious. I put people who believe in god about 10 levels lower than me intellectually. It's a shame. We would be much more advanced as a race if people accepted the truth and were interested in physics, biology, etc. Also, anyone who tries to pick apart my grammar I really don't give an f. Grammar is not relevant in common conversation basically only academia. Talking snakes = o.k. missed commas = not o.k.?

      July 24, 2012 at 6:57 pm |
  13. ATHEISM = RELIGION

    EVERY SINGLE ATHEIST ON THIS PLANET WILL SUFFER AND BURN IN HELL !

    July 24, 2012 at 6:46 pm |
    • noevidence

      You will suffer too, by virtue of living. And judging by your humility, you are probably going to hell also (if you believe in such a thing). Sooo... What's your point?

      July 24, 2012 at 6:49 pm |
    • Joe Momma

      That's funny. I live my life god-free and am happier for it. You, on the other hand, are doomed to a life of guilt and ignorance only to eventually die and NOT be resurrected (because that is impossible).

      July 24, 2012 at 6:56 pm |
    • Joe Momma

      @noevidence Good reply! Well done!

      July 24, 2012 at 6:57 pm |
    • Religousless

      And all believers in God will burn in hell too when 12/21/12 rolls around...joking about mayan calendar thing. Do people not believe in facts and science anymore? Whats more likely: humans evolving from apes or humans origin stemming from "adam and eve?" Where is the skeletons or remains of adam and eve? Religion and believing in god is just a cheap and effortless way of justifying something. "Oh god told me to blown myself up with hundreds of other innocent people" or " "god helped me finish the marathon today." Really?

      July 24, 2012 at 7:01 pm |
    • HeroOfTime

      Atheism isn't a religion. It's a philosophical stance saying "I don't not believe in a god, or gods, or supernatural beings. You should do more research before making claims you don't understand.

      July 26, 2012 at 9:57 am |
  14. gman

    God was there in Aurora. The gunman chose to team up with devil.

    God did not ask to have guns as toys....
    God ask us to be compassionate. Not to only the 1%.

    July 24, 2012 at 6:46 pm |
    • Joe Momma

      Gibberish, gibberish, gibberish. Why bother?

      July 24, 2012 at 7:04 pm |
  15. Allyn Needham

    As some have stated, we cannot fully understand God. God is God. We are God's children. Infant and toddlers cannot understand their parents' minds. We, as God's children, don't understand His.

    Jesus told us that God causes it to rain on the just and the unjust. He also said that during our lives we will hear of wars and rumors of wars. He also said do not be afraid. God is with us and trust in Him because His plan will work out for the best in the end. The battle with evil is like a war and on this earth the unjust are too often served. In this tragedy, regardless the amount analysis and reasoning, no one will be able to answer "why?"

    In the end, we must have faith that God is in control and that He knows best. Some with find that comforting and others will find it empty. I have pity for those who find it empty. For in a time like this, there are no satisfying earthly answers.

    Those that believe in God, believe through faith. "Faith is the assurance of things hope for, the conviction of things not seen." We must believe that in everything God works for the good and have faith.

    July 24, 2012 at 6:45 pm |
    • Funny

      With the fairly recent discovery of carbon dating we have completely demolished the bible factually. Toddlers don't understand their parents minds because of the developing neural pathways that have not yet recognized the causal mechanisms behind adult actions. It's very complex, I suggest sticking to the bible. It's written in your language.

      July 24, 2012 at 7:02 pm |
  16. stuart

    One terrible act does not allow the conclusion there is no God. But it does remind us of the steady stream of suffering over the centuries that makes it more and more difficult to believe. Could a "loving father" type God, as described by Christians really allow so much hurt without intervening? Is the murderer's freedom really more important than the pain and anguish of the victims and their families? At best Christians are left with a God that cannot be understood, and bears no resemblance to a human loving father. How does one worship that?

    July 24, 2012 at 6:45 pm |
    • Joe Momma

      What reminds us that there is no god is the reasoning, rational human mind. This is done by observing reality and then respecting reality. Try it sometime, you may enjoy it.

      July 24, 2012 at 7:03 pm |
  17. Atheism = Anti-American

    Few 100% true Reasons why Atheism is TERRIBLE and unhealthy for our children and living things:

    † Atheism is a religion that makes you angry, stupid, brainwashed, ignorant & blind.
    † Atheism is a disease that needs to be treated.
    † Atheism makes you post stupid things (90% of silly comments here on CNN blogs are posted by closet atheists)
    † Atheist are satanic and have gothic lifestyle.
    † Atheists are misguided and causes problem in our religious & public society.
    † Atheists are mentally ill, that's why they have no faith.
    † Atheism won't take you to kingdom of heaven and paradise.
    † Atheism making you agree with Mussolini, Stalin, Hitler (denied his faith later), Mao, Pol Pot & other terrible mass murder leaders who killed religious people because of their religious cult!
    † No traditional family lifestyle, no holidays, no culture, boring and feeling 'outsider'
    † Atheists are angry, drug additcted and committ the most crime.
    † Atheist try to convert people over internet because they feel "safer" behind closet.
    † Atheists do not really exist, they just pretend that they don't believe in God and argue with religious people.
    † Atheists have had terrible life experience, bad childhood and not being loved.
    † Most Atheists are uneducated... No atheists could run for presidency.
    † Atheism brought upon the French Revolution, one of the most evil events of all of history.
    † Atheism cannot explain the origins of the universe, therefore God exists.
    † All atheists believe in evolution, which means they don't believe in morality and think we should all act like animals.
    † The Bible says atheism is wrong, and the Bible is always right (see: Genesis 1:1, Psalms 14:1, Psalms 19:1, Romans 1:19-20)
    † Countries where Atheism is prevalent has the highest Suicide rate & Communist countries = Atheism!
    **Only 2-3% of the U.S. are atheists/agnostics VS. over 90% who believe in God (80% Christians) in the U.S.**

    † † Our Prayers goes to atheists to be mentally healthy and seek their creator † †

    PS! the USA is a † nation and will always be. You know it's true and stop being ignorant and arrogant!
    (Take a look at our federal/state holidays, 99% of our presidents, blue laws in parts of the nation, the majority of people, some laws, calendar, culture, etc.).
    http://rightremedy.org/tracts/7

    July 24, 2012 at 6:45 pm |
    • WHEELS

      your an idiot

      July 24, 2012 at 6:48 pm |
    • DE

      Thsnk you for proving beyond a doubt, that religion makes you as stupid as a human can be.

      July 24, 2012 at 6:52 pm |
    • garrettspeaks

      Reposting an easily debunked list of fallacies is stupid, at least come up with some of your own stuff instead of copying from others. I even wrote a long article debunking this entire thing (albeit a few months ago): http://garrettspeaks.com/2012/05/04/tearing-up-some-bullsht-propaganda/

      July 24, 2012 at 6:53 pm |
    • are you serious...

      i only got three or four "crosses" down before i realized....you my friend are not "godly"...you are crazy!

      July 24, 2012 at 6:57 pm |
    • noevidence

      Aw, you have little crosses everywhere. How adorable. I hope you get through grammar school and discover logic one day, and then you might help society in some way.

      July 24, 2012 at 6:59 pm |
    • Joe Momma

      In a nation that values separation of church from state, and was founded upon the ideals of personal liberty and individual rights, to say that atheists are un-american is a truly idiotic statement.

      July 24, 2012 at 7:01 pm |
  18. tom

    There is NO God, you freaks!

    July 24, 2012 at 6:45 pm |
  19. Jason

    Bad people do bad things, it isn't part of some grand design by an invisible being in the sky. It is a sad and tragic even that has absolutely nothing to do with religion, in any way. Religious groups using this to push an agenda should be ashamed of themselves.

    July 24, 2012 at 6:45 pm |
  20. Tommy P.

    "Buddhism has the characteristics of what would be expected in a cosmic religion for the future: It transcends a personal God, avoids dogmas and theology; it covers both the natural and spritual; and it is based on a religious sense aspiring from the experience of all things, natural and spiritual, as a meaningful unity". -Albert Einstein

    "If there is any religion that would cope with modern scientific needs it would be Buddhism." -Albert Einstein

    July 24, 2012 at 6:45 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.