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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. JayS.

    What a pointless debate. The true believers will twist themselves into pretzels to come up with absurd theological explanations along the lines of how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. The rest of will consider the problems of regulating firearms and crazy people in an ostensibly open society.

    July 24, 2012 at 7:31 pm |
    • Fluffy the Gerbil of Doom

      Angels don't dance on pins any more. They go to the disco, dummy. And the Principalities sing "Little Red Corvette" to the almighty, that is before the called themselves, "the artists".

      July 24, 2012 at 7:34 pm |
  2. AtheistHuman

    Only the weak and ignorant would believe in a higher power (god), so that they can blame their crappy worthless existence on something. All their failures in life can be justified by a "god wants it that way" excuse.

    July 24, 2012 at 7:31 pm |
    • r3dblood3d4m3r1c4n

      Who blames... we explain. Left leaning individuals complain... where was God.... blah blah blah.

      July 24, 2012 at 7:35 pm |
    • Steve

      I guess you too will be weak and ignorant one day then.

      July 24, 2012 at 7:36 pm |
    • r3dblood3d4m3r1c4n

      I will be one of the ones, standing by while the unrighteous receive their rewards. That's who I will be.

      July 24, 2012 at 7:42 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Nonbelievers are miserable because they follow satan's lies.

      July 25, 2012 at 9:49 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Your perception of others is skewed, HS. To a lot of people here, you sound like the most miserable, nasty, judgmental person on earth.

      July 25, 2012 at 9:53 am |
  3. Backwards_dog

    God is real......on the flat earth.

    Anyone catch the news on one of gods own in Philly going to jail for protecting child molesters? Was that satans doing or gods will?

    July 24, 2012 at 7:30 pm |
  4. Just call me Lucifer

    Where was god?

    Bowling.

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

      With Santa Claus, Easter Bunny and Tooth Fairy?

      July 24, 2012 at 7:34 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Nonbelievers think they are amusing, but, sadly, are only miserable because they follow satan's lies.

      July 25, 2012 at 9:50 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Sez the old hag with no sense of humor whatsoever.

      July 25, 2012 at 9:52 am |
  5. Whatwhat

    You are asking mostly liberals on a liberal news media if they believe in God? Really?

    July 24, 2012 at 7:30 pm |
    • Just call me Lucifer

      I'm a republican... smaller government, stop abortion, ignore the poor.

      July 24, 2012 at 7:32 pm |
  6. Nada

    Scott: what a cop-out.

    July 24, 2012 at 7:29 pm |
  7. CNN's Stupid Questions

    Where was god, what god, no such thing as a god. Do you think there's a god out there watching over you and keeping you safe. NO!!! What a waste of time.

    July 24, 2012 at 7:29 pm |
  8. Nada

    Yeah ... And why didn't that bleeding statue of Mary do something when this was all happening???

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

      ummm .. cuz it wasn't blood ? You want birdsh1t to do something ?

      July 24, 2012 at 7:31 pm |
  9. dito

    Well the truth is there is no God. He is nowhere. He didnt save the jews, he didnt save the Russians from Stalin...because it is an imaginary friend.

    July 24, 2012 at 7:28 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      dito, you really should read Jesus' truth (the Bible).

      Mark 16:15-16

      15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.
      16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.

      Amen.

      July 24, 2012 at 7:33 pm |
    • david50100

      Don't you love the internet.. we can now come out and just say the truth without getting lynched by a bunch of new-borns.

      July 24, 2012 at 7:33 pm |
    • ron

      why is god even being brought up in this situation....that is just plain stupid....god could not of stopped this

      July 24, 2012 at 7:35 pm |
    • Where was God???

      God allows "Us" humans to excercise "Free Will"
      I guess we can also ask Where was God when we stole
      from our friends, neighbors or even workplace?

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

      Anyone that breaks His commandments and does not repent to Jesus Christ for forgiveness of their sins, repay what is owed ... then sin no more ... will wait for Judgment day to be tossed into the lake of fire ... those of us that live with Jesus Christ for eternity, will never have to remember those that didn't overcome. Our memories of you are erased.

      July 25, 2012 at 9:56 am |
  10. LeoTheGreater

    We see people at the prayer in the morning,
    asking good forgiveness and their daily bread;
    In repentance do they vow their hand yet hide
    the same from fellow man, we don't know why
    we just know it's not right.
    We are hope we are the future we are children;
    We are hope we are the future we are child,
    Just for once lay down your sword and lance and
    your neighbour just by chance
    might prove to be a best friend after all.

    July 24, 2012 at 7:28 pm |
  11. Scott

    God gave us free will. This is man's doing and not God's doing.

    July 24, 2012 at 7:28 pm |
    • Satan

      I'm hoping that was said with a sarcastic tone.

      July 24, 2012 at 7:33 pm |
    • Steve

      Amen.

      God created this world for us, and He gave authority over this world to us. Mankind them handed it over to Satan. Stop blaming God.

      And, I find it very "interesting" that the very people who drive God out of society are the first ones to scream, "where was God during this?"

      Unbelievable.

      July 24, 2012 at 7:34 pm |
    • Dustin

      Oohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, that makes sense now.

      July 24, 2012 at 7:35 pm |
    • Just call me Lucifer

      Sorry... god gave you nothing. However, if you sign up with me, you get a years supply of Eskimo pies.
      Beat THAT Allah!

      July 24, 2012 at 7:35 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Lucifer, here's some truth to read with that Eskimo pie.

      Mark 16:15-16

      15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.
      16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.

      Amen.

      July 24, 2012 at 7:49 pm |
    • 0G-No gods, ghosts, ghouls, goblins or guns

      HeavenStink, how about you go preach to other 'creatures' for a while and leave us adults alone.

      July 24, 2012 at 7:51 pm |
    • Just call me Lucifer

      @HeavenSent

      Go sell crazy somewhere else zealot... we're all stocked up here.
      And it was a years supply of Eskimo pies you dolt... you may have read the bible, but your comprehension skills
      rival the average two-year-old.

      July 24, 2012 at 7:54 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      True to form atheists write the most miserable, vile, posts because they follow the lies of satan.

      How sad for you.

      July 25, 2012 at 9:59 am |
  12. awasis

    Where is God in all of this? In the imaginations of the faithful.

    July 24, 2012 at 7:27 pm |
  13. r3dblood3d4m3r1c4n

    In order for one to question, why God? One has to believe.... you see, you have to look for Him to find Him. Even though, He is all around you. Your being is filled by Him. He will not force you to do what you do not want to do (Worship Him), nor will He force you to commit what has been commited here (Aurora). He simply allows it to happen, in order for enough of His Saints to die, and all will be called Home. You are either a Saint, or Sinner right? Both. You have the knowledge to do good, yet you do evil... The Apostle Paul has written on this in Romans 7. Read the chapter.... Remember, context.

    All of us have choices, in the end, this guy made a choice to take other lives, than his own... the problem I have is with folks calling this a trajedy.... This was not a trajedy in the sense... oh, how could this happen... no, this was a methodical, planned out agression on the sheeple of the United States. Most turn and run at the wolf... I... I choose from this day on, to stand against the wolf and resist him.

    Isn't it time we all stand against what is killing our republic? The time is now. Stand today people, while there is still time.

    No gun ban, no more taxes, and pray for healing of our nation and republic... until we remove the cancer eating us alive.... WE ARE ON BORROWED TIME!

    July 24, 2012 at 7:27 pm |
    • Atheist = Thinker

      You are definitely full of it... Err, I mean Him.

      July 24, 2012 at 7:28 pm |
    • doc

      I think there are pills you can take for that

      July 24, 2012 at 7:28 pm |
    • noevidence

      Oh man, this person has the same amount of votes that I do. Ugh. What an uphill battle.

      July 24, 2012 at 7:31 pm |
    • Just call me Lucifer

      Bad spelling (trajedy?) makes baby jesus cry. Way to go idiot... you woke up the baby.

      July 24, 2012 at 7:38 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Tommie Tom's obsession with grammar, tipping her hand again as Lucifer another dummy handle.

      LOL.

      July 25, 2012 at 10:00 am |
  14. Lauren

    GOD WAS THERE. God was there weeping for the ones who were lost and injured. God grieves alongside the families, friends and communities world wide who are traumatized by the results of this evil. This is not the world that God had intended for us to live in. This is the world that mankind has chosen. This is the world that mankind has created, corrupted and abused. This is the world that mankind tries to control and manipulate. Some of us mistakenly blame every tragedy, every evil, every injustice on God. They cry out, "Why didn't He intervene?", "Why doesn't He DO something?", "Why doesn't He stop the evil in the world?". HE ALREADY HAS. This world is already condemned to a death sentence. Every one of us will die at some point. He has made it possible for us to be saved from all of the injustice, all of the evil of this world by creating another one. But some people continue to reject the gift and the promises of Heaven and Salvation. Some people even reject the very notion that He exists. A gift is being offered. Why do you blame the giver of the gift when you choose not to accept it?

    July 24, 2012 at 7:26 pm |
    • KOOL AID

      Thanks for drinking me. I am refreshing and come in many flavors.

      July 24, 2012 at 7:28 pm |
    • r3dblood3d4m3r1c4n

      Agreed.

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

      So God never intended this? Then why did he go ahead and create this world when he knew very well what would happen? It's pretty clear what the implications are if God knew all along what this world he created would turn out to be. Just the stupid ignore this.

      July 24, 2012 at 7:31 pm |
    • r3dblood3d4m3r1c4n

      @ Lauren

      I was agreeing with you.

      July 24, 2012 at 7:32 pm |
  15. Edgar De la Sancha

    God does not intervenes. He is neither good nor bad. He just set the rules -Laws of nature- and then let it go.
    He does not care for any individual in particular.

    July 24, 2012 at 7:26 pm |
    • Peace2All

      A 'deist' viewpoint. Still a belief.

      Peace...

      July 24, 2012 at 7:28 pm |
  16. JohnnyAnonymous

    God was/is the same place he's always been...in the imaginary toy box with Santa Clause and the Easter Bunny...

    July 24, 2012 at 7:26 pm |
    • dito

      Yep!

      July 24, 2012 at 7:30 pm |
  17. Ella

    Indisputable argument for me: any child abuse/torture/suffering therefore–no god. Same thing as with the CO tragedy. It cannot simply be explained as "The righteous who suffer are being tested and the wicked are being punished." No, just no. Bad things happen, people are messed up creatures, and if there was a god he is long dead or hopelessly apathetic.

    July 24, 2012 at 7:26 pm |
    • r3dblood3d4m3r1c4n

      Maybe you just can't take the short and sweet version of it is, what it is.... the simplest answer is the truth. Logic, huh?....

      How about, if Eve had never taken a bite out of the apple, huh? I mean, lol... amusing.

      July 24, 2012 at 7:41 pm |
  18. fightinstupids

    He was up in heaven ruling over His eternal socialist totalitarian regime.

    Can't wait to see the looks on the faces of the millionaire bankers when they get there and have to stand in a fish and bread line with everyone else.

    July 24, 2012 at 7:25 pm |
  19. Nada

    The Bible is not the word of Jesus. Jesus NEVER left any writings of his own. (Funny, huh, for someone who preached so much!) NONE. Only after decades did other people start writing about what they "HEARD" about him. Why don't some of you BIble thumpers take some logic and ancient history classes? What a waste of trees!

    July 24, 2012 at 7:25 pm |
  20. AtheistHuman

    GOD! Coming Soon, to a theatre near you. : ] What... too soon?

    July 24, 2012 at 7:25 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.