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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. Samantha

    I was an atheist but converted to Christianity after realizing my big mistake. I'm so happy and loved now 🙂

    July 24, 2012 at 9:34 pm |
    • Gotcha!

      Hi HeavenSent! Love the new name!

      July 24, 2012 at 9:47 pm |
  2. Yeah

    God is so good that he made Satan and let him run amok without making any effort to stop him.

    Good God!

    July 24, 2012 at 9:33 pm |
    • Just call me Lucifer

      Amen!

      July 24, 2012 at 9:34 pm |
    • ArthurP

      You read the Bible and God directly kills millions the Devil only a handful and indirectly so who is the real evil one.

      July 24, 2012 at 9:44 pm |
  3. Canadas

    John 14:16

    July 24, 2012 at 9:32 pm |
  4. Craig Leslie

    Those who are looking for a reason not to worship or believe in God can find it in another senseless act of evil. But, should that person or those persons feel any infringement of his or her or their rights, s/he or they will be the first to cry out, "I have my rights." This is exactly why there is a free will. We are here in this UNIVERS ITY to work out our life. We have a journey to take. Our infinite creator gave us this life to do with as we will. Instead of debating "where was God," in this, maybe we need to ask, "when will we be strong enough in ourselves to take the responsibility to stop committing violence ourselves in our daily lives, in our speech and our thoughts. Let us look within to find what we so desperately seek.

    July 24, 2012 at 9:32 pm |
  5. 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 9:31 pm |
  6. TOMG

    HUMAN VOICES ARE VERY POWERFUL ONLY IF ONE HAVE THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE KNOW HOW TO USE IT OR NOT , AMEN .

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

    CIVILIZATION WORLD ARE GETTING AND COMING TO THE END ALMOST , AMEN

    July 24, 2012 at 9:30 pm |
  8. † Jesus is the King †

    EVERYONE SHOULD CONVERT TO CHRISTIANITY

    July 24, 2012 at 9:30 pm |
    • Jeffrey Dahmer

      I did! Heaven for me!

      July 24, 2012 at 9:34 pm |
  9. Dan Levey

    Disasters and evil say nothing about god's existence or non-existence. He either leaves humanity alone and let's us hurt each other or he is not there to do anything at all. Either side can interpret passiveness as agressiveness or absence.

    July 24, 2012 at 9:29 pm |
  10. † 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.

    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 9:29 pm |
  11. † 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 9:29 pm |
  12. TOMG

    HUMAN BEING ARE CONCERN ABOUT THE FOOD TO ATE THREE MEALS DAILY , BUT WENT OUR HUMAN FORM FLESH WHEN IT PASSING AWAY IT IS TURNING INTO A VERY SMEELLING AND STINKY SMELL ALWAS , AMEN

    July 24, 2012 at 9:28 pm |
  13. lola2pickleson

    God is just as sad as we are when stuff like this happens, but he gives us a free will to make our own choices and some people choose to sin and do horrific evil things. In the end though God will have his vengeance on those who have done things against his Holy Word. If he didn't give us a free will to do whatever we want, he would be controlling us like robots. Be thankful he gives us a choice and lets hope we all choose the right one!

    July 24, 2012 at 9:28 pm |
    • exlonghorn

      But the Flying Spaghetti Monster, yet another God, does not align with what you're saying. On what rational basis should I believe you?

      July 24, 2012 at 9:40 pm |
  14. † 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.

    July 24, 2012 at 9:28 pm |
  15. † 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.

    July 24, 2012 at 9:27 pm |
  16. Blarb

    Where was God? There to comfort those who need Him, welcoming those that made it to heaven and spreading hope to those that were injured! God is not in the midst of violent men plotting evil, but always intervening larger massacres that beasts like this try to do.

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

      All things being equal, the simplest explanation is more often correct.’ We live in a complex world where the answer to any question is often very complex. All things being equal, with no more evidence for one solution than another, we should not posit the existence of an agent we do not need to explain a phenomenon. When thinking about a subject, we should use the simplest reasoning possible unless the evidence compels us to include an extra agency. God IS THAT EXTRA AGENCY. Take God(s) out of the equation, and the equation is unchanged.

      July 24, 2012 at 9:39 pm |
  17. TOMG

    HUMAN EYE ONLY SAW 5% OF THIS VISIBLE FORM WORLD , BUT 95 % ARE THE INVISIBLE LIFE FORM WORLD , AMEN .

    July 24, 2012 at 9:26 pm |
  18. 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.

    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 9:26 pm |
    • Atheist = Thinker

      *****REPORT ABUSE ON THIS IMBECILE...

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

      Nothing you just said has any basis in reality, and I fear that you might be just the kind of person who opened fire on that poor crowd in Aurora. You need to be fixed.

      July 24, 2012 at 9:35 pm |
    • exlonghorn

      More importantly, nothing JITK has said is relevant from a logical, rational, causal point of view. let's all say it together...SO WHAT?

      July 24, 2012 at 9:37 pm |
  19. 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.

    ,

    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 9:26 pm |
    • exlonghorn

      Typical Jesus Freak...can't succeed in rational debate, so switch to crazy ranting! nicely done.

      July 24, 2012 at 9:30 pm |
  20. linda

    god gave man free will, good or bad choices,it's man's decision

    July 24, 2012 at 9:25 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.