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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. Jesus is the King

    33% of the World = Christian
    25% of the World = Muslims

    = ~ 60% of the world believe in Jesus + growing fast.

    There isn't a single person on Earth who have not heard of Jesus Christ or seen a Cross.
    Cross is the most famous and widely known symbol !
    The holy Bible is the most purchased and read book for the past 2,000 years of blessings.
    The Gregorian/Christian calendar is based on approx. year of Christ' birth.

    ..

    33% of the World = Christian
    25% of the World = Muslims

    = ~ 60% of the world believe in Jesus + growing fast.

    There isn't a single person on Earth who have not heard of Jesus Christ or seen a Cross.
    Cross is the most famous and widely known symbol !
    The holy Bible is the most purchased and read book for the past 2,000 years of blessings.
    The Gregorian/Christian calendar is based on approx. year of Christ' birth.

    ..

    33% of the World = Christian
    25% of the World = Muslims

    = ~ 60% of the world believe in Jesus + growing fast.

    There isn't a single person on Earth who have not heard of Jesus Christ or seen a Cross.
    Cross is the most famous and widely known symbol !
    The holy Bible is the most purchased and read book for the past 2,000 years of blessings.
    The Gregorian/Christian calendar is based on approx. year of Christ' birth.

    July 24, 2012 at 9:25 pm |
  2. TOMG

    HUMAN EE CAN NOT SAW THE AIR AND WE CAN NOT SAW OUR VOICES SPEECH ALSO , AMEN .

    July 24, 2012 at 9:25 pm |
  3. TOMG

    INORDER FOR THE HUMAN FORM TOBE TRANSFORMATION ONTO ARE THE AIR AND THE SOIL AND THE FIRE AND THE WATER TO MAKE UP ALL MANKINKS AND ANIMAL FORM KINDS IN THIS KARMA HELL AND HEAVENLY LIFE FORM , AMEN .

    July 24, 2012 at 9:24 pm |
  4. Jesus is the King

    33% of the World = Christian
    25% of the World = Muslims

    = ~ 60% of the world believe in Jesus + growing fast.

    There isn't a single person on Earth who have not heard of Jesus Christ or seen a Cross.
    Cross is the most famous and widely known symbol !
    The holy Bible is the most purchased and read book for the past 2,000 years of blessings.

    July 24, 2012 at 9:24 pm |
  5. Walt

    God did give us free will and we can choose to do evil or choose to do good. For those who solely rely on science, if they are indeed searching for the truth (and are honest about their search; no biases), then they are searching for God (although they may not ackowledge it). The wonders of the universe that we continue to discover are truly amazing and awe inspiring; but we keep learning more all the time. Ultimately, how do you answer the question about where did the universe (say, starting with the Big Bang) come from? When you are trying to answer that question honestly, then that's when you can open yourself up to the potential that God exists (He who lives outside of time, which is a human creation).

    July 24, 2012 at 9:23 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @Walt

      " (He who lives outside of time, which is a human creation). "

      The concept of anything, including a God is a human creation.

      Peace...

      July 24, 2012 at 9:27 pm |
    • Walt

      We label everything in nature around us with words yet they are not a human creation. God is a name we give to something that we haven't made that we believe is responsible for all.

      July 24, 2012 at 9:31 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @Walt

      Hi -Walt

      " God is a name we give to something that we haven't made that we (*believe*) is responsible for all. "

      Well, there you have it. Operative word is *believe*... and the ('concept') of God, 'is' arguably 'man-made,' and has been continually evolving.

      You can pound sand all you want about your *beliefs* but that doesn't make them *fact.*

      Peace...

      July 25, 2012 at 3:51 am |
    • Walt

      Peace,

      When you come to end of your facts and there are still questions left, then the opportunity for faith to bridge the gap to God exists. The use of science as the only basis for determining existence of God proves that such a person is truly closed minded for by defnition, they could never find God. We continue to discover more and wonderful, exciting things all the time; where's the awe? Where did it all come from? Even if some science theories suggest that it's just an endless cycle (in time), how did it get there? These are the questions that can't be answered and at that point, you can be open to the existence of God.

      By the way, I'd like to compliment you on your civility in your posts; very atypical for these forums.

      July 25, 2012 at 2:09 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @Walt

      Hi again, -Walt...

      If... you and I are having a discussion about the *possibility* of there being some kind of a creative-intelligent force in the universe, etc... I'm o.k. with that as long as we both understand that we are talking..."what-ifs"

      If one gets to the point where they begin to attempt to fill in the gaps of our knowledge that we have of the big questions up to a certain point with an absolute, iron-clad... I *know* there is a God, then I will call them on it. You probably know as well as I, that... that type of thinking or reasoning is called, as it should... "the god of the gaps" logical fallacy argument.

      Also, complexity of life and the beauty/awe we as humans as-sign to life does not *mean* or = God, correct ?

      And for the record... I am open to the possibility of a creative designer/process, etc... for lack of a better word.

      And... 'thank you' for your compliment. I have been on these blogs since the beginning for the last 3 + years, and do my best to go after logic fallacies, and presupposition vs. ad hominem and historical type arguments.

      Thank you for taking the time to have a mutual discussion where, hopefully, we both can learn something.

      Regards,

      Peace...

      July 25, 2012 at 11:26 pm |
  6. inHISlight

    John 14:6

    July 24, 2012 at 9:23 pm |
    • Atheist = Thinker

      Santa 12:25

      July 24, 2012 at 9:24 pm |
    • inHISlight

      @athiest thinker

      What book are you referencing? Santa ????

      July 24, 2012 at 10:36 pm |
  7. Jesus is the King

    33% of the World = Christian
    25% of the World = Muslims

    = ~ 60% of the world believe in Jesus.

    There isn't a single person on Earth who have not heard of Jesus Christ or seen a Cross.
    Cross is the most famous and widely known symbol ! .

    July 24, 2012 at 9:22 pm |
    • exlonghorn

      That's silly logic. 99% of the world used to believe the Earth was flat.

      July 24, 2012 at 9:26 pm |
    • Starsnova

      did not know so many earthlings are so weak and dilutional (THE ASGARDS)

      July 24, 2012 at 11:54 pm |
  8. Jesus is the King

    33% of the World = Christian
    25% of the World = Muslims

    = ~ 60% of the world believe in Jesus.

    There isn't a single person on Earth who have not heard of Jesus Christ or seen a Cross.
    Cross is the most famous and widely known symbol !

    ..

    33% of the World = Christian
    25% of the World = Muslims

    = ~ 60% of the world believe in Jesus.

    There isn't a single person on Earth who have not heard of Jesus Christ or seen a Cross.
    Cross is the most famous and widely known symbol !

    ..

    33% of the World = Christian
    25% of the World = Muslims

    = ~ 60% of the world believe in Jesus.

    There isn't a single person on Earth who have not heard of Jesus Christ or seen a Cross.
    Cross is the most famous and widely known symbol !

    ..

    July 24, 2012 at 9:22 pm |
  9. grouchoman

    Jesus wept, HE understands suffering. It is the age of Grace and HE offers salvation to those who trust in Him. Those who do have the promise of eternal life "where every tear will be wiped away" and there will be no more suffering. It is to show us that man's heart is desperately wicked and we need a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.

    July 24, 2012 at 9:22 pm |
    • exlonghorn

      Salvation? He seems to have a tough enough time showing up on a piece of toast. Maybe he should set his sights a little lower.

      July 24, 2012 at 9:28 pm |
  10. dolankk

    I don't believe in God. There are beautiful and terrible things in this world, and neither quality – the beautiful or the terrible – is cause for belief or disbelief. I do not see "God" in any of it, because I see "God" as a philosophy and death as a fact. Find comfort where you will, but you will not find the answers you seek with regards to this atrocious tragedy: not in religion, not in the courtroom, and not in the media. You'll find a man made into a myth, and that will be easier to digest, but you will not find answers.

    July 24, 2012 at 9:21 pm |
  11. TOMG

    THE MOON LUNAR POWER IS THE SECOND MOTHER OF ALL GOD , AMEN .

    July 24, 2012 at 9:21 pm |
  12. inHISlight

    Where was God?
    Jesus answered,
    "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. from the book of

    July 24, 2012 at 9:21 pm |
  13. TOMG

    THE SUN SOLAR POWER IS THE REAL MOTHER OF ALL GOD , AMEN .

    July 24, 2012 at 9:21 pm |
  14. Jesus is the King

    33% of the World = Christian
    25% of the World = Muslims

    = ~ 60% of the world believe in Jesus.

    There isn't a single person on Earth who have not heard of Jesus Christ or seen a Cross.
    Cross is the most famous and widely known symbol !

    """""""""""""""""""

    33% of the World = Christian
    25% of the World = Muslims

    = ~ 60% of the world believe in Jesus.

    There isn't a single person on Earth who have not heard of Jesus Christ or seen a Cross.
    Cross is the most famous and widely known symbol !

    July 24, 2012 at 9:20 pm |
    • Answer

      I love how desperate you religious people are. Nothing spells desperate more than repeating one phrase over and over again.

      July 24, 2012 at 9:22 pm |
    • Atheist = Thinker

      The most famous and widely known symbol of hatred, intolerance, delusion and oppression...

      July 24, 2012 at 9:22 pm |
  15. permafrost

    if he did exist, he'd repeal the 2nd amendment and get us out of the dark ages.
    proof positive.

    July 24, 2012 at 9:20 pm |
  16. Jesus is the King

    33% of the World = Christian
    25% of the World = Muslims

    = ~ 60% of the world believe in Jesus.

    There isn't a single person on Earth who have not heard of Jesus Christ or seen a Cross.
    Cross is the most famous and widely known symbol !

    July 24, 2012 at 9:20 pm |
    • noevidence

      Thanks for contributing to this farce. We just have that much more progress to make before people can stop living their lives according to a fairy tale.

      July 24, 2012 at 9:32 pm |
  17. TOMG

    WE AS THE HUMAN FORM CAN BECOME AND TRANSFORMATION LIKE GOD , SUCH AS JESUS AND THE HAPPY BUDDHA AND MOTHER MARIA THEY ALL ARE HUMAN BEING ALSO WHEN THEIR TIME IS NOT DONE IN THERE ERA LIFE TIME BACK IN 2OOO YEARS AGO , AMEN .

    July 24, 2012 at 9:20 pm |
  18. mikewimberly

    God is not imaginary but he does not waste His time interfering in our lives, whether we want Him to or not. We humans are 100% responsible for our actions, good and bad. What is good or bad? YOU know.

    July 24, 2012 at 9:19 pm |
    • 1914

      I like how everyone is trying to give God's P.O.V. like they just had coffee with him. Why should anyone believe what any imperfect human has to say about anything when it comes to God's viewpoint on this matter?

      As the founder of Christianity, Jesus himself never spoke from his own thinking but quoted scriptures when answering questions... Who are we to think that this does't apply to us???

      2Timothy 3:16 – Enough said

      July 24, 2012 at 9:30 pm |
    • noevidence

      Yes, quoting the bible normally speaks volumes.

      Leviticus 1:6
      He is to skin the burnt offering and cut it into pieces.

      July 24, 2012 at 9:34 pm |
  19. Ami

    Why don't you believe in god?
    http://www.examiner.com/article/why-don-t-you-believe-god?cid=db_articles

    July 24, 2012 at 9:18 pm |
  20. Islam is the best

    33% of the World = Christian
    25% of the World = Muslims

    = ~ 60% of the world believe in Jesus.

    July 24, 2012 at 9:18 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.