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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. xchgon

    A psycho walks ino a theater and kills people and now we want to define whether or not there is a God? Bahahaha
    Nah, blame it on a Big Bang

    July 24, 2012 at 7:25 pm |
  2. smarter_agent7

    I can be of help here: The Hubble proved the existence of God – an article to that effect was on the cover of Time. It proved the universe is expanding from a central point, and approx. fifteen billion years ago, everything was at the central point, hence the Big Bang and Creation. Evolution exists too, at least for the animals and plants. So there is the interplay of fate and free will. Jesus proved there is an afterlife, so to God, death is more transition, than tragedy. Man must fix man's problems. Gun control can be debated (law abiding citizens could have shot the killer, versus keep guns away from killers), but the real answer is that ethics needs to be taught in school, right along with the classic studies; as seen from recent events, everybody needs it, rich, poor, smart and dumb. Additionally, people need a sense of belonging, to some kind of organization, for their entire lives. That is the only way to prevent society's rejects and the hate and problems rooted in their depression.

    July 24, 2012 at 7:25 pm |
    • 0G-No gods, ghosts, ghouls, goblins or guns

      Is this the article you are referring to:

      http://www.laughinginpurgatory.com/2012/04/hubble-telescopes-images-prove-god.html

      July 24, 2012 at 7:30 pm |
  3. Phillip

    "Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?
    Then he is not omnipotent.
    Is he able, but not willing?
    Then he is malevolent.
    Is he both able, and willing?
    Then whence cometh evil?
    Is he neither able nor willing?
    Then why call him God."
    Epicurus

    July 24, 2012 at 7:25 pm |
  4. mrssmith509

    What God?

    July 24, 2012 at 7:24 pm |
  5. Rahul G.

    "Where was God in Aurora massacre?" is not even an adult question. It's something a 4-year-old would ask. If this question represents the state of Christianity thought or faith then something's rotten in Denmark and it sure isn't fish.

    July 24, 2012 at 7:24 pm |
  6. Ellen

    Where was God? He was with every dying soul that night, comforting them and giving each one the most incredible entrance into Heaven. I believe he showered them with so much love that the temporary pain they endured was quickly replaced with overwhelming joy, love and peacefulness. Please read this poem. I hope it brings peace to whomever reads it.......

    GOD HATH NOT PROMISED... (song lyrics)

    God hath not promised skies always blue,
    Flower-strewn pathways all our lives through;
    God hath not promised sun without rain,
    Joy without sorrow, peace without pain.

    But God hath promised strength for the day,
    Rest for the labor, light for the way, Grace for the trials, help from above,
    Unfailing sympathy, undying love.

    July 24, 2012 at 7:24 pm |
    • One one

      Wouldn't it be nice, if it were true as opposed to fantasy ?

      July 24, 2012 at 7:27 pm |
    • Tryndamere

      If your god existed, why did he not preventing this from happening? He wanted to see people suffering? That's not a good God, do you think?

      July 24, 2012 at 7:29 pm |
    • Tryndamere

      Buddha's been silent for thousand years and God or Christ is just nothing.

      July 24, 2012 at 7:31 pm |
    • Apatheist

      What did he do to those whose lives were cut short that night but didn't find it reasonable to believe in him? Oh, that's right, eternal torture...

      July 24, 2012 at 8:09 pm |
  7. Tryndamere

    God? Do you think there would be 5 billion Gods watching each one of us or just 1 God watching all of us? There is no God. Gods were created by us out of fear like this. This society creates this monster. If there was God, do you think the Black God would like the White God? Or the straight God would smash the gay God?

    July 24, 2012 at 7:24 pm |
    • AtheistHuman

      Thubs Up!

      July 24, 2012 at 7:27 pm |
  8. Kimberly

    I'm not a religious person and this recent atrocity in Aurora confirms why I'm not religious. I have a hard time believing that a supposed "all loving God" would allow evil people to harm and/or kill. But, if you are a believer, God did allow his (or her) supposed son, Jesus, to be murdered so there you have it.

    July 24, 2012 at 7:23 pm |
    • Amazing Grace

      Did you mean we have a all-loving God, so we can do whatever we like? If we do not repent through the grace of Jesus, we do not deserve any blessing. Grace and justice walk side by side. They are inseparable.

      July 24, 2012 at 7:27 pm |
    • Kimberly

      I'm not a believer but I know many people who are and they claim that God is "all loving". I don't see any love in what happened in Aurora. Why would God allow something like this to happen? Why didn't God stop it?

      July 24, 2012 at 7:34 pm |
  9. rick jolie

    god was 'the joker'

    July 24, 2012 at 7:23 pm |
  10. d

    mabye god was testing those people and mabye others, to see if they can be patient in the face of torment and wait till the man gets what he deserves

    July 24, 2012 at 7:23 pm |
    • sam

      God should stop 'testing'.

      July 24, 2012 at 7:23 pm |
    • Tryndamere

      Testing who? Do you think these 12 innocent people would go to heaven? Do you know how painful it is to be shot and bleeding to death? Why would these innocent people suffer before going to heaven? You think god is testing you?

      July 24, 2012 at 7:26 pm |
    • Amazing Grace

      Innocence is relative. Everyone is sinful. Without grade, we would perish and separate from God forever. Physical perishing is not fearful. Spiritual perishing IS.

      July 24, 2012 at 7:30 pm |
    • Kimberly

      I think the bible is archaic fiction written by archaic people who didn't have anything else to do. I bet if computers and smartphones were available back then, we wouldn't have a bible. LOL.

      July 24, 2012 at 7:50 pm |
  11. capnmike

    Where was God in Aurora massacre? NONEXISTENT like always. "God" is a human invention. There isn't any "god"...we are alone here and RESPONSIBLE for what we do. It is too bad so many people are so brainwashed they can't accept that. No amount of praying, begging, beseeching, etc., is going to change ANYTHING. How much evidence do you need? ...GROW UP AND LIVE WITH IT!

    July 24, 2012 at 7:21 pm |
    • NutGrinder

      Amen to that! (yes i see the irony in using that word)

      July 24, 2012 at 7:24 pm |
    • Stephanie

      Exaclty! But people don't want to hear the truth. They want to keep their delusional beliefs and their heavenly fantasies otherwise they can't cope.

      July 24, 2012 at 7:25 pm |
    • Samiam

      Well said 🙂

      July 24, 2012 at 7:27 pm |
    • Amazing Grace

      Let me ask you a very simple question: what if the Bible is true? Then you have to face the music. The cost is prohibitively high, isn't it?

      July 24, 2012 at 7:32 pm |
  12. Bill

    You don't need to believe in any god to live a good life. Be kind and generous, support your community, realize that you didn't get what you have on your own, be nice to the earth, and insist on honesty and goodness in your own life. Meanwhile, sometimes bad things happen.
    Peace without believing in God really is possible.

    July 24, 2012 at 7:21 pm |
    • capnmike

      YES!!! Thank you!

      July 24, 2012 at 7:22 pm |
    • sam

      Yes. Thank you.

      July 24, 2012 at 7:25 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @Bill

      Amen ! 😀

      Peace...

      July 24, 2012 at 7:26 pm |
    • Amazing Grace

      You are blessed if you can have a peaceful life on earth without a belief in God. However, if Bible is true, then you can get a peaceful after-life. Doesn't that sweeten the pot?

      July 24, 2012 at 7:36 pm |
    • Stanley7

      Very well said. Couldn't agree more. Living a good, productive life with kindness and tolerance and humility is not contingent on the existence of God.

      July 24, 2012 at 7:36 pm |
  13. prasannatech

    Even though this question has no definitive answer, we definitely saw God in Aurora in the form of those who sacrificed their lives for others (Johathan, McQuinn for example).

    July 24, 2012 at 7:21 pm |
  14. obamawillloseinnovember

    typical communistic reporting from CNN...gay is good, god is bad, big government is good, obama is god...

    July 24, 2012 at 7:20 pm |
    • capnmike

      What are you so afraid of?

      July 24, 2012 at 7:22 pm |
    • Chuck

      Not only what are you afraid of – but what the hell are you talking about? How did you get from a discussion of where was God in Aurora to gay is good and Obama is God?

      July 24, 2012 at 7:31 pm |
  15. Colleen

    There is very little "proof" of any divine intervention into good happenings or bad. We create the world we live in. We get the credit for the good and the bad.

    Quoting verses from a book most people in the world agree was wholly written by many different men with many different agendas does little to instill fear or awe in the people reading this page.

    July 24, 2012 at 7:20 pm |
  16. Nada

    You're asking if God was there at the massacre. Really?? Which God? Zeus? The Giant Spagetti Monster? Alah? Zithra? Yea, they all were there. So was the Easter Bunny.

    July 24, 2012 at 7:20 pm |
    • Fluffy the Gerbil of Doom

      You are so wrong. It's the FLYING Spaghetti Monster. His noodly appendage will strike you. Be very afraid.

      July 24, 2012 at 7:23 pm |
    • sam

      R'amen.

      July 24, 2012 at 7:26 pm |
  17. gingersrule1

    God was invented to help the lonely and lost nit feel so lonely. Later God was used as an explanation for the unexplainable. Finally God has been used as reason for mans actions as one body. As though God presides over everything like a divine judge. If that is true. Where is the love? I see far more hate in this world than love. If God is love then why is love so small?

    July 24, 2012 at 7:20 pm |
  18. schulzy

    Where is God when any of these tragedies happen? Simple......he's right where each individual has put him

    July 24, 2012 at 7:20 pm |
    • Peace2All

      What ?

      Peace...

      July 24, 2012 at 7:21 pm |
    • Fluffy the Gerbil of Doom

      Fluffy forgot to bring him home from the pet store. Oh no.

      July 24, 2012 at 7:26 pm |
    • Fluffy the Gerbil of Doom

      Could you stop by, and pick him up, please ?

      July 24, 2012 at 7:27 pm |
  19. toorude89

    There simply is no God.

    July 24, 2012 at 7:19 pm |
    • God Lover

      How do you explain the Bible then? It is the words of God and Jesus

      July 24, 2012 at 7:20 pm |
    • AtheistHuman

      Amen!

      July 24, 2012 at 7:20 pm |
    • AtheistHuman

      @GodLover So what you are saying is in 2000 years some folks should believe that was Harry Potter was a real wizard, and should worship him? After all there are 7 bible sized Harry Potter books. Get a grip already!

      July 24, 2012 at 7:23 pm |
    • Matthew

      That is simply not true.

      July 24, 2012 at 7:24 pm |
    • God Lover

      @AtheistHuman, Harry Potter is a book being sold as fiction. The Bible is first hand accounts of REAL PEOPLE. Big difference

      July 24, 2012 at 7:25 pm |
    • sippyjuice

      @ God Lover – How do you explain the bible? There is a book written about Spiderman, does that make him real too? Are you really "god's lover"?

      July 24, 2012 at 7:26 pm |
    • Fluffy the Gerbil of Doom

      You people are so stupid. The bible was made up by human beings. Ask any bible scholar. They know ecatly when, how, and wht every single line was written, and assembled, and re-assembled. Americans are SO fricking ignorant.

      July 24, 2012 at 7:29 pm |
  20. Fluffy the Gerbil of Doom

    👿

    July 24, 2012 at 7:19 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.