home
RSS
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. EX. atheist

    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 9:43 pm |
    • Rich Walborski

      God was at your mom's house. Burn!

      July 24, 2012 at 10:03 pm |
  2. TOMG

    ONLY ONESELF EATTING WASTE FROM THE HUMAN AND ANIMAL WASTE AND DRINKING THE DAILY HUMAN URINE AND ANIMAL URINE INORDER TO HAVE THE TRANSFORMATION INTO THE EVIL AND DEVIL MIND AND SOUL , AMEN .

    July 24, 2012 at 9:43 pm |
  3. John P

    This has to be the most inane and inconsequential debate I've ever seen. How can millions of people in this day and age still believe in such nonsense as a god who directs and oversees everything on this planet.

    If this was god's will, Duuhh, how do we get rid of him/her? How long must this species evolve before it comes out of the dark ages?

    I'm interested in hearing from all the religious whako's, who blindly follow irrationality and will attack my logic from all levels of "faith".

    I'll enjoy their ignorant vitriol.

    July 24, 2012 at 9:42 pm |
    • pntkl

      For whatever side of the debate one sits on, argumentum ad ignorantiam is the same as argumentum ad nauseum. The species will remain in the dark ages, until it becomes its own species [dependent on no other], and also loses the need to urinate and defecate. Otherwise, it will be the same ole same ole, where most everyone likes to think the bathroom smells rosy, after expelling waste products therein. It's amazing how people like to consider themselves so much better, based on their beliefs, albeit equally lacking ability to overcome their own shortcomings.

      July 24, 2012 at 9:58 pm |
    • John P

      PNTKL:

      Your ability to coin words is astonishingly religiastic.

      July 24, 2012 at 10:20 pm |
    • pntkl

      Mr. John P,

      Thank you; however those words were minted long before you would have found humor in using religiastic. If you intended for more acridity, yet were left craving a response for the fifth line, here are my apologies for those that simply left you with an argument of silence. Baiting others, for the purposes of amplifying one's own false sense of superiority, is just as or more vitriolic as any other fish in the sea.

      July 25, 2012 at 6:47 am |
  4. Waldo Rhubarb

    Where was God in Colorado? God was the men who put themselves first and saved their girlfriends and friends. God was the friend who stayed behind and put pressure on her friend's neck wound, saving her life while putting hers in more danger. God was the first responders. God was the people who helped pull others from the theater who were injured. God is the candlelight vigils and the 2 million dollars donated for the care of the wounded. God is everywhere if you open your eyes.

    July 24, 2012 at 9:41 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @Waldo Rhubarb

      So... God helps or is the good stuff, but stays out of preventing the bad ?

      Seems to be showing up a bit late, after the carnage, don't you think ?

      Peace...

      July 24, 2012 at 9:47 pm |
  5. TOMG

    EVIL MIND ARE ALL OVER IN THIS CIVILIZATION HELL ERA NOW DAILY , AMEN .

    July 24, 2012 at 9:41 pm |
  6. SDM

    Definitely a terrible question, it invites stupid from both sides of the belief spectrum. This entire situation is very tragic, but to ask where was god you must remember every living thing was given free will to do either great good or great evil. Choice is humanities greatest gift, but it's also our biggest flaw.

    The old saying "give someone an inch and they'll take a mile" is exactly what has happened. Most people are generally good and moral and will choose to do what is right, regardless of the belief system you follow, even if it is no belief at all; but there are always a few that will abuse the right of choice and innocent people will fall victim. It is why people of countries that contain so many natural resources are the areas of starvation and chaos, and it is why a man buys thousands of dollars worth of ammunition and arms and goes on a rampage.

    People on here and throughout the nation can claim god wasn't there or "doesn't exist" for me, god was with the 13 year old girl who attempted CPR on one of the victims, God was with the teenager who applied a tourniquet to an individual who was bleeding out of their leg, God was with those men and women who died sacrificing themselves to protect their loved ones, and god was there when that mans machine gun jammed, preventing this tragedy from being far far worse.

    I can understand why things like this make people denounce god's existence, I'm sure god understands why some will denounce and curse him; but as my finish this comment (sorry if it's too long) let me say this, for every event where we stare into the depths of true evil and suffering, we always see the best of what humanity is capable of and supposed to be. The people who died saving others, I doubt they regret there choice to save someone else and allow them to live. It hurts now, but we should not just mourn their loss, we should also celebrate the lives they lived and the lives they saved.

    July 24, 2012 at 9:41 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      You can't deny that god exists AND curse him. That'd be like not believing in Santa and being mad at him too.

      July 24, 2012 at 9:43 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @SDM

      " god was there when that mans machine gun jammed, preventing this tragedy from being far far worse. " 😯

      Really ? Kidding, right ?

      Peace...

      July 24, 2012 at 9:50 pm |
  7. TOMG

    THERE ARE GOD FROM WITHIN ONESELF MIND AND SOUL , AMEN .

    July 24, 2012 at 9:40 pm |
  8. Sean

    We often forget that we are living in a war zone. While God is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent, he is not the only one who influences our lives. Satan rules this world and the evidence of his reign is manifested as disease, deprivation, demonic possession, natural disasters, and death. To non-believers, it may seem unjust for God to have allowed this massacre to take place, but Christians take solice in knowing that God is ALWAYS just. The shooter will have to answer for his transgressions, and the Christian victims are now in a better place.

    July 24, 2012 at 9:39 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      Sean, don't be an idiot. If god is omnimax, then the devil could have no power and there is no free will. You can't say that god knows everything but allows free will. That would be stupid.

      July 24, 2012 at 9:41 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @Sean

      " While God is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent, he is not the only one who influences our lives. Satan rules this world and the evidence of his reign is manifested as disease, deprivation, demonic possession, natural disasters, and death."

      So... God is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent...but... can't defeat one of his own creations ?

      Peace...

      July 24, 2012 at 9:43 pm |
  9. Samantha

    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 9:39 pm |
    • Rich Walborski

      Are you serious? This is the silliest and most inaccurate thing I've ever read.

      July 24, 2012 at 9:44 pm |
    • God

      History will shame you. You are a cowardess bigot who deserves the same treatment that you pervade towards others who you deam "unholy". Get over yourself Samantha.

      July 24, 2012 at 9:45 pm |
    • exlonghorn

      And religion used to drive us to think the world was flat, witches needed to burn, sickness was a curse, insanity was demonic possession, and floods were caused by angry deities. We now know that none of this is true. It's called enlightenment and EVOLUTION. Already, Christmas is more about presents and parties. The time of theists is numbered.

      July 24, 2012 at 9:47 pm |
  10. TOMG

    EVIL AND HELL ARE COMING AND LIVING TOGETHER WITH OUR CIVILIZATION FULL OF HELL ERA NOW DAILY , AMEN .

    July 24, 2012 at 9:39 pm |
  11. RudoWakening

    How is this even a question? God was nowhere, because there isn't such a creature.

    July 24, 2012 at 9:38 pm |
  12. Christie

    God's mercy and grace shows through even in tragedy. We will never understand the wisdom of God, as His ways are NOT our ways. He allows evil to exist and I do not know why. But one thing I DO know. There are no mistakes, nor errors, and NOTHING happens that He does not know about.
    I have 8 children, 3 of them have severe handicaps. Yet, I find in the midst of suffering a comfort and a life that is rich and deep, that had that suffering not existed, I wouldn't know how wonderful life can be.
    So I accept that HE knows what is best at this time in History.
    Yet, this does not take away ANY of the responsibility of the shooter in Aurora's Theater 9. He was FULLY responsible for his EVIL decision. And there will be judgment.

    July 24, 2012 at 9:38 pm |
    • Ralphie Religion

      How is an insane person fully responsible? They would have to be able to choose rationally, or they had to choose the insanity.

      And as John 3:16 reminds us, if Holmes goes on to accept Jesus, there is no punishment for him. Just like Jeffrey Dahmer and the Son of Sam.

      July 24, 2012 at 9:40 pm |
  13. TOMG

    WHAT ARE THE PURPOSE FOR THE HUMAN FLESH TO BE ALIVE IN THIS WORLD ARE THE DUTY THAT ONESELF HAVE NOT FINISHING YET FROM THE PREVIOUS LIFE TIME , AMEN .

    July 24, 2012 at 9:37 pm |
  14. eric

    it's called free will? blame who ever you people want, what ever floats your boat.

    July 24, 2012 at 9:37 pm |
  15. TOMG

    WHEN THERE ARE GOOD LUCK TIME THOSE TIME ARE MOSTLY CALL HEAVENLY TIMING , BUT WHEN THERE ARE BAD LUCK TIME THOSE ARE THE HELL TIMING , AMEN

    July 24, 2012 at 9:36 pm |
  16. grouchoman

    One lesson you cannot deny is that we do not know when it is our time to die. I am sure that many of those who died were in perfect health. So, hug your loved ones, tell them you love them, don't put it off! And look into the claims of Jesus. Today is the day of salvation. Don't let anyone talk you into it or out of it. Decide for yourself. Read the Bible New Testament again with an open mind.

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

      But aren't you just now trying to "talk us into it"...

      July 24, 2012 at 9:38 pm |
    • exlonghorn

      I'll make you a deal. You go read "The Origin of Species", "The God Delusion", and Dianetics with an equally open mind. THEN we can talk.

      July 24, 2012 at 9:49 pm |
  17. Only if the name of your god starts with a D and sounds like evel.

    Mankind imagines that our creator looks, thinks and has judgement like him... this is why he cannot understand our creators judgement -> of which there is NONE. Your creator is never so far as to be without you, but to find him you have to look inside, then you will see him expressing himself in everything ...as well as you. Ta' Eso'.

    July 24, 2012 at 9:35 pm |
  18. Leo

    God was there. Don't people read the Bible? He's got a thing for mass murder.

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

    If god is all powerful, but does not act to human benefit, perhaps that's evidence that we are not of real concern to god. If there is no god, how is that different?

    July 24, 2012 at 9:34 pm |
  20. TOMG

    THE HUMAN LUNG ORGAN WILL BE GIVEN BACK TO THE AIR WORLD , AND THE HUMAN HEART ORGAN WILL BE GIVEN BACK TO THE FIRE WORLD , AND THE HUMAN STOMACH ORGAN WILL BE GIVEN BACK TO THE CEMETARY SOIL LAND AND THE HUMAN LIVER ORGAN WILL BE GIVEN BACK TO THE WOOD WORLD , AMEN .

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

      Makes sense to me!

      July 24, 2012 at 9:37 pm |
    • Calling all TOMGs! Calling all TOMPs!

      "To get back to the warning that I received. You may take it with however many grains of salt that you wish. That the brown acid that is circulating around us isn't too good. It is suggested that you stay away from that. Of course it's your own trip. So be my guest, but please be advised that there is a warning on that one, ok?"

      July 24, 2012 at 9:37 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100 101 102 103 104 105 106 107 108 109 110 111 112 113 114 115 116 117 118 119 120 121 122 123 124 125 126 127 128 129 130 131 132 133 134 135 136 137 138 139 140 141 142 143 144 145 146 147 148 149 150 151 152 153 154 155 156 157 158 159 160 161 162 163 164 165 166 167 168 169 170 171 172 173 174 175 176 177 178 179 180 181 182 183 184 185 186 187 188 189 190 191 192 193 194 195 196 197 198 199 200 201 202 203 204 205 206 207 208 209 210 211 212 213 214
Advertisement
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.