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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. Joe

    When your child falls in the playground, why don't you run over and pick them up every time? I think God probably had a very tough choice to make a long time ago. How much can I intervene before it stops being their life and free will. Will they have truly earned their way to Heaven if God was part of so much. We are challenged with our children in similar ways, we want them to learn, adapt, grow, earn the skills they will need to be successful on their own. What if when your child fell he/she got really really hurt? I think you would be devastated as I think God is for what happened in Aurora. God loves you more than you love your child let's not forget that. I think he is weeping today, he feels all the pain and anguish for each of the victims and their families. So is he present in our life? I wholeheartedly believe so. I think he is talking to us every day about our choices, giving us opportunities to, on our own, choose a righteous path. He has been a part of my whole life guiding me to try to be a loving and good person. I have not been many times, I have failed often and miserably but with every lesson I feel I can look over and find him smiling that I learned and trusted he was by my side even when he knew I would fall. I don't judge him for letting me fall. I thank him for the lesson. Aurora was awful but please don't hold him to this account.

    July 25, 2012 at 9:45 am |
    • NOT MY CHAIR

      do you force your children to earn there way into your home or just accept them with love?

      July 25, 2012 at 9:49 am |
    • Larry89

      Very simply, If god could have prevented this and didn't, then he is something I would never worship. And I don't.

      July 25, 2012 at 9:58 am |
    • Valjean

      Congratulations, Larry, you are just as ignorant and narrow minded as you probably think most believers are.

      July 25, 2012 at 10:04 am |
    • HeroOfTime

      Actually Valjean, I think Larry has a good point, just probably not put down in the best way. Here is something similar from Marcus Auerelius that sums up what Larry was trying to say. It is sort of the opposite of Pascal's Wager.

      “Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved"

      July 25, 2012 at 10:13 am |
    • Valjean

      That completely defeats the point of faith, though. If I base my belief/unbelief on that sort of logic, then it's not really something I've decided with my heart. Pascal's wager is justas at fault. Of course, we can go into a whole other argument about whether humans have souls or not...

      July 25, 2012 at 10:17 am |
    • HeroOfTime

      Valjean. I cant see your argument, and yes we could argue this and Pascal's Wager a million times over. However I don't think that argument precludes the destruction of faith. You are thinking faith in so far as religious terms. Even as an atheist I have faith. I have faith in myself, to be a good person because it is what comes naturally and what is right. I have faith in my friends, family, and loved ones, to be there for me and each other in times of need. I have faith that I will make a difference in this world, even if only to a few people. And I have faith that my impact will not only be a good one, but will continue through my friends and family.

      July 25, 2012 at 10:47 am |
  2. JM

    there IS a God, however, he is not involved with the worlds affairs. He has allowed Satan the Devil to prove his case about mans independence from him. And here you have it! THIS is what man does to HIMSELF! God is NOT involved with what WE as humans choose to do. But all this is temporary for there will come the time when he will vindicate his Holy Name and take back the world and make it how he originally purposed it to be. A peaceful place.

    July 25, 2012 at 9:45 am |
    • NOT MY CHAIR

      so you're saying that millions of people must suffer everyday so that god and the devil can prove a point to each other? sounds like thats a person i want to worship, they must really must care about us!

      July 25, 2012 at 9:48 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @JM
      According the the Bible, God is the reason for the tribal warfare that has plagued mankind throughout history.
      Once upon a time, all men spoke the same language and worked together to build a great monument.
      God didn't like this, so He struck down the Tower of Babel and made it so mankind could no longer effectively communicate by diving the race into tribes with unique languages.
      This ensured that miscommunication and misunderstanding would haunt man, inevitably leading to strife and conflict.
      Even going back to "original sin", the one thing God cannot stand is mankind's quest for knowledge and understanding.
      God demands obsequious submission – it's why four of the 10 commandments are orders to obey.

      July 25, 2012 at 9:54 am |
    • HeroOfTime

      JM, I'd like to point out a few things here. Putting aside the fact that most of the old testament is riddled with inaccurate translations, let's focus on a few key points. You claim that your version of god, (which from the ridiculous posting about Satan "the devil", I will assume your god is Jehovah or Yahweh, or whatever name you hold for the god of Abrahamic lore) has no part in the affairs of man. And that all the evil done is through "Satan". However you also believe in the end times, more than likely the one written about in the book of Revelations. So wouldn't the fact that you believe that everything is foretold and planned by god, and all have a chosen path, destroy your argument about free will? Which is it?

      Also, lets suppose we have free will. The Torah ( Or Old Testament for you christians), tells us that you believe that free will came from eating of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge. So therefore we could summize that Adam and Eve, lacking free will, were always destined to eat the fruit. Therefore we could never truly have free will either.

      And im sure you will attempt to respond that it was the corruptions of Satan that made them eat the fruit. However it never says, in proper translations that the serpent was in fact the same being as Satan. In fact even most modern day translations never say the Serpent was Satan.

      So lets say that we summize maybe Adam and Eve did have free will before eating the fruit, and that it was their choice to eat it despite "God's" warning. Well lets look at this warning. In the book of Genesis Chapter 2 Verses 16 and 17, god says "16 And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.”"

      That is the first thing that your God says to man, according to your beliefs. Correct? However the story goes on to say that Adam and Eve did go on to eat from the tree of knowledge. So therefore, according to your beliefs, the first thing that god ever spoke unto man, was a lie. He said if you eat this, you'll die. They ate it, did not die.

      So either you believe your god has everything planned and we as humans are helpless to change that, and he had a hand in this massacre in Colorado, and every massacre, death of a child, and murder ever commited. Or you believe that we have free will but your god was a dick and lied to us from the very start. So please tell me which is it? Because as an "ignorant" atheist, I am just not getting this...

      July 25, 2012 at 10:29 am |
  3. ltrey33

    People ask, "Where was God?" but the answer is simple.

    He was on a cross, 2000 years ago. The death and resurrection of Christ condemned such senseless acts of violence as a part of the fallen creation, and Christ came to overturn the law of sin and death so that we could be offered eternal life. Our hope is not in a God that protects us from ourselves like infants or prevents us from doing evil like robots, but in a God who assures hope in the resurrection of the dead in Jesus Christ.

    July 25, 2012 at 9:44 am |
  4. Lion

    It's always amazed me how such an incredibly silly and ridiculous idea as an invisible super being up the sky who made everything just for fun managed to last so long. We have science now, we have evidence, fact, reason, logic, research and peer review. We are long, long, long past the need to believe in fairies, pixies, gods, demons, and monsters.

    July 25, 2012 at 9:44 am |
    • NOT MY CHAIR

      "We have science now, we have evidence, fact, reason, logic, research and peer review" yes, but ignorance is so much easier

      July 25, 2012 at 9:45 am |
    • independentlyowned

      That's the whole point of religion though. They're told to "just have faith" and ignore everything else. Religion makes it so that you don't need science.

      July 25, 2012 at 9:46 am |
    • Scott

      finally a comment that sounds intelligent. Reading all these posts about "god" makes me realize why this country is in so much trouble.

      July 25, 2012 at 9:53 am |
    • Valjean

      How can you be so arrogant?

      July 25, 2012 at 9:59 am |
    • chasmaster1

      @Lion. If we have science and have moved beyond the need for a supreme being, then by science, we should be able to create, repeat, create living organisms from inert matter, should we not. Suggest you figure out how to create dirt before you start figuring out how to create life from it 🙂 It all pivots on what your response to Genesis 1:1 is.

      July 25, 2012 at 10:00 am |
  5. Fact

    Excuse me, that should have been:
    "Where was God?" Ask those who insist on not having HIM or the bible any in part of education or the fabric of our society.
    Look into the revivals that took place in various countries including the U.S. and you will find there was hardly a need for police. Facts are facts – when you take God out evil fills the void.

    July 25, 2012 at 9:44 am |
    • Who invited me?

      that's a lot of opinion...where's the fact?

      July 25, 2012 at 9:46 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      If your god is so weak and puny that he needs people to publicly acknowledge him, he wouldn't be able to anything about anything.

      July 25, 2012 at 9:48 am |
  6. OnTheRoad

    God started this comedy show and now he is sitting back and just watching!

    July 25, 2012 at 9:43 am |
  7. Bill

    Interesting posts indeed. It is the age old question of “why do bad things happen to good people. History shows us this unreconciled issue time and time again. If we look at the treatment and ultimate crucifixion of Christ, we find this event to be a classic example; ostensibly Christ is the “poster child” for bad things happening to good people. If evil is indeed present in the world, is there good, if so where does good, or evil come from? Freud argued that good and bad are inventions of social constructs that have evolved over time. His basis for such conclusion is still in debate. If however, we are innately endowed with a “moral compass” is it from a higher source? Since the creation of and clock like precision in which our universe operates will indefinitely perplex me, I am resolved to consider that I may never fully understand why things happen in this life, yet I am convinced that there is a creator of such magnificence. With a creator mindset, I will never understand (from my human perspective) how such a creator would allow His own son to endure torture at the hands of man, so to that extent, allowing humans to suffer at the hand of evil is an unfortunate result of the evil present in the hearts of man and an exercise of their will and dominion over our planet.

    July 25, 2012 at 9:42 am |
    • chasmaster1

      @ Bill Following along your thread, it's been charge that Einstein (as in Albert) made the point that there is no cold, only the absence of heat. There is no darkness, only the absence of light. Thus as you proposed, evil would result from the absence of good. I would argue that to say evil does not exist implies that good does not exist either.

      July 25, 2012 at 10:08 am |
  8. MikeB

    Asking "Where was God?" is like a College Student expecting Mom or Dad to coddle them while at College.
    Where were we? God gave us everything we need to work with. It's about time we figure it out and stop abusing one another.

    July 25, 2012 at 9:41 am |
  9. objectivist

    I think we focus more on Where was God than the entire concept being skewed. If we are made in the likeness of God, then one could premise that logic would flow similarly for him and us. I don't know about you all, but I have children and love them unconditionally and because I am a good parent they love me unconditionally in return. However if I had children and they did not love me unconditionally in return and chose to walk away and do terrible, horrible things I wouldn't continue to have children. The pain would be unbearable. I would question my parenting skills, my methods, everything about my child raising. Id be a broken spirit. and Based on the OT scriptures we know God holds feelings of jealousy and rage–why not a broken spirit or sadness?

    I don't ask where was God. I ask why God still allows for the "miracle" of life to be created if it only hurts him in the end. Clearly this concept hasn't worked for 2000+ years; the concept of creating beings and giving them free will. If God were real and had Logic, One would think he'd change his game plan by now. Clearly giving us "free will" to love him isn't working out for him. for us.

    But Hey, I'm just a agnostic "Prove it to me beyond reasonable doubt" person. what do I know? In the end, why are we focusing on God in this tragedy instead of Reaching out to others–the victims, the criminals, the bystanders. To Educate, to help, to provide emotional support in a non religious or religious way (whichever works better for that individual) to instil morals that will prevent future events like this. Because at the end of the day, no matter if your religious or not, morally this is wrong. Senseless killing is WRONG.

    July 25, 2012 at 9:40 am |
  10. hightower76

    Really!?! God is ordered out of our schools, our country, and our conversations, and people are asking where He is after this tragedy? Is it any wonder that all Hell broke loose, seeing as how it seems that Christian values are being forced out of this country by non-Christians and atheists? People need to use this as a reason to bring God back to our daily lives.

    July 25, 2012 at 9:38 am |
    • snowboarder

      don't pretend forcing your religious views in schools and government is what any god would want.

      July 25, 2012 at 9:40 am |
    • Closet Atheist

      Hightower76... you, sir/ma'am, are an idiot. Throughout history, a majority of these sociopaths are christians or some other religious zealot. Atheists (humanists, if it helps scrub the negative connotations from your narrow mind) are not your problem.

      July 25, 2012 at 9:43 am |
    • Who invited me?

      christian values? By christian values, you would be ok to let someone else take the punishment for the real perpetrator of this crime ,provided that the perpetrator felt really bad about it? isn't that the core "christian value"...allow someone else to be punished for crimes you commited?....It is the foundation of your religion after all......

      July 25, 2012 at 9:44 am |
    • independentlyowned

      Last I checked, "Christian values" like sharing your crayons and being nice to each other were still taught in schools. Heck, we even had food and toy drives to donate to the poor! Isn't that what Christians are supposed to do?

      July 25, 2012 at 9:44 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      No one has "ordered God" our of schools. People who claim such nonsense have no credibility. There is no law against saying a prayer in school; there is a law that the school cannot sponsor prayer. Schools cannot engage in having every student recite the lord's prayer as they used to do. Suppose they could. Would you approve of having all students recite a Muslim prayer? No? Then figure it out-we are not all Christian and are not required to adhere to your beliefs. This is a secular nation, not a theocracy.

      What is it with you freaks? Is your god so puny and weak and deaf that he requires visual and audible worship?

      July 25, 2012 at 9:45 am |
    • Madtown

      hightower76
      seeing as how it seems that Christian values are being forced out of this country
      --------
      You mean, exactly how the founders wanted this country to be?

      July 25, 2012 at 9:47 am |
    • hightower76

      I'm not forcing my views on anyone, but I think it's peculiar that after tragedies like this most recent one in Colorado, everyone is asking where He was... when it seems most people want God out of our lives to begin with. Do you see the irony here?

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

      No. Because I'm NOT asking the question, and neither is "everyone" else. CNN is asking it because some people view this tragedy in that particular way.

      Your assumption that "everyone" is doing something is black-and-white thinking, which seems to be a common problem here.

      July 25, 2012 at 9:51 am |
    • HeroOfTime

      Im only going to point out the fact that America, as a nation, was not founded by christians, or for promoting christian principles. This is historic fact, and has been shown, written about, and proved many times over. So rather than rehash was is already established historically, I will point out to you a modern day example Mr Hightower76.

      Norway:
      According to the latest census, Norway is around 70% Atheist. Meanwhile the Global Peace Index has Norway listed as the most peaceful country on the planet. They have the second highest GDP in the world. An unemployment rate under 2%, and hourly wages averages to some of the highest in the world.

      Meanwhile they are also ranked first in life expactancy, literacy, education, and standard of living.

      So if we are failing as a nation because we have taken YOUR god out of the equation, would you please be so kind as to explain how Norway is doing so well, while being a predominantly Atheist nation?

      July 25, 2012 at 9:57 am |
  11. Hugo

    The Asian Atheist said "You are right, there is no room for god in my atheist sized box. A lot of that space is taken up by rational thinking, the rest of the space is reserved for whatever else I learn in life."

    Rational thinking is what you want? What is more rational than mathematics. (Never mind those irrational numbers...j/k).

    As a mathematician, I notice you used the noun god but didn't define it. Since there exist many different definitions of god, I don't know which definition you are using. One definition of god is that god is the same as the universe. Another definition of god is that god is The Asian Atheist. Are you going to deny that the universe exists? Are you going to deny that you exist?

    If not, then god does exist. It depends on your definition.

    Isn't rational thought fun? (Please practice. To get better, you can take more college math.)

    July 25, 2012 at 9:38 am |
    • snowboarder

      that was an absurd comment playing semantics with the word "god".

      July 25, 2012 at 9:44 am |
    • Hugo

      snowboarder, "absurd" is the best you have? If my statement is absurd, it should be easy to defeat it on the points.

      However, there is no (nearly) universally agreed on definition of god. Even the word atheist, if analyzed, shows that.

      Atheist – not a theist. OK, but is an atheist not a deist? I don't know. All I can tell is that the atheist claims to not be a theist. Do you even know the difference between a theist and a deist?

      July 25, 2012 at 9:53 am |
    • The Asian Atheist

      Well that was lovely. A meager attempt at ridicule through the use of an overly abstract and irrelevant statement, laced with a disrespectful tone common among the religious. And the context of the discussion clearly states that the god in question is the one defined by the abrahamic religions, so the noun of "god" as I used it had an implied definition. But in an attempt to sound clever, you use abstract mathematics as a guise to peddle an overly pedantic definition of rational, and of my use of the noun. I define rational in the context of debate regarding the omnicient christian definition of a god. Rational in that context is only believing in things for which compelling evidence has been provided. The abrahamic god has zero evidence in favor of it's existence. Is that well defined enough for you? Don't waste time thinking you are cleverer than you are.

      July 25, 2012 at 9:56 am |
    • The Asian Atheist

      Let's pretend for a second that you are truly being serious, and not just a pedant. The commonly accepted definition of an atheist is one that does not believe in a higher power, generally not a deist or a theist. A theist supports and defends the idea that there is one god and he is an intervening and influential force in the universe, which is the definition of the abrahamic god. Deism is a belief in a higher power, potentially defined as a god, based on nature and reason, but devoid of supernatural connotations. It also tends to include a god as a potential creator, but one that, post creation, has no interest or influence in what was created. Try again.

      July 25, 2012 at 10:12 am |
    • Hugo

      @Asian Atheist, you make some good points. I agree with the definition of atheist including not a deist. I was addressing the snowboarder, however.

      So, why do I get to use that context and I didn't see your context? Two reasons. First is your nick and it's a general question I ask of people who say they are atheists. I ask atheist with respect to what god? The second is you choice of symbols. If you meant the God of Abraham, then it's a proper noun and should be capitalized. This is vs Zeus is one of the Greek gods. (But in that case, Zeus is capitalized but god isn't). I can only use what you wrote to try to understand what you mean. I can't read your mind.

      And, no, I don't think I'm super clever. I was trying to engage you in a discussion to explore the issue.

      July 25, 2012 at 3:23 pm |
  12. 666metal

    God was busy at a poker game.

    July 25, 2012 at 9:37 am |
    • Larry89

      No,no,no. He was at a baseball game where a hitter needed a homerun.

      July 25, 2012 at 9:46 am |
  13. raju thomas

    "Where is God?' good question.. But the best question would be "Is God in your heart?"
    I like this song:
    Change my heart O' God
    May I be like you...Mold me and guide me.. this is what I pray
    You are the poter and I am the clay..... make me a good vessel

    July 25, 2012 at 9:35 am |
    • NOT MY CHAIR

      you want to be like god? you want to be able to do mass genocide?

      July 25, 2012 at 9:44 am |
  14. badbellyblues

    Faith isn't a pathway to truth. How is it that you use reason as a path to truth in every endeavor of your life, then when it comes to the ultimate truth the most important truth your saying that faith is required. How does that reflect on a god that supposedly exist and wants you to have this evidence, what kind of god requires faith instead of evidence. Faith is an excuse people give when they don't have evidence. If you can come up with something I believe that I don't have evidence for, I will stop believing. That's the nature of a rational mind. Faith is not a virtue faith is gullability. It's evidence that determines wether or not your perception of reality is reasonable and in conjunction with the world as it is. Matt Dilahunty

    July 25, 2012 at 9:35 am |
    • Eric

      Then by what rational do you say GOD deos not exist. Using your logic the conclusion is I do not know. How can you rationally rule something out without evidence to the contrary?

      July 25, 2012 at 9:38 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      The same way you rule something exists, Eric.

      July 25, 2012 at 9:39 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @Eric
      Exactly. How can you dismiss any assertion without proof to the contrary?
      Who is to say that Angus, Belenos, Brigid, dana, Lugh, Dagda, Epona, Aphrodite, Apollo, Ares, Artemis, Atehna, Demeter, Dionysus, Eris, Eos, Gaia, Hades, Hekate, Helios, Hephaestus, Hera, hermes, Hestia, Pan, Poseidon, Selene, Uranus, Zeus, Mathilde, Elves, Eostre, Frigg, Hretha, Saxnot, Shef, Thuno, Tir, Weyland, Woden, Alfar, Balder, Beyla, Bil, Bragi, Byggvir, Dagr, Disir, Eir, Forseti, Freya, Freyr, Frigga, Heimdall, Hel, Hoenir, Idunn, Jord, Lofn, Loki, Mon, Njord, Norns, Nott, Odin, Ran, saga, Sif, Siofn, Skadi, Snotra, Sol, Syn, Ull, Thor, Tyr, Var, Vali, Vidar, Vor, Black Shuck, Herne, Jack in the Green, Holda, Nehalennia, Nerthus, endovelicus, Ataegina, Runesocesius, Apollo, Bacchus, Ceres, Cupid, Diana, Janus, Juno, Jupiter, Maia, Mars, Mercury, Minerva, Neptune, Pluto, Plutus, Proserpina, Venus, Vesta, Vulcan, Attis, Cybele, El-Gabal, Isis, Mithras, Sol Invictus, Endovelicus, Anubis, Aten, Atum, Bast, Bes, Geb, Hapi, Hathor, Heget, Horus, Imhotep, Isis, Khepry, Khnum, Maahes, Ma’at, Menhit, Mont, Naunet, Neith, Nephthys, Nut, Osiris, Ptah, ra, Sekhmnet, Sobek, Set, Tefnut, Thoth, An, Anshar, Anu, Apsu, Ashur, Damkina, Ea, Enki, Enlil, Ereshkigal, Nunurta, Hadad, Inanna, Ishtar, Kingu, Kishar, Marduk, Mummu, Nabu, Nammu, Nanna, Nergal, Ninhursag, Ninlil, Nintu, Shamash, Sin, Tiamat, Utu, Mitra, Amaterasu, Susanoo, Tsukiyomi, Inari, Tengu, Izanami, Izanagi, Daikoku, Ebisu, Benzaiten, Bishamonten, Fu.kurokuju, Jurojin, Hotei, Quetzalcoatl, Tlaloc, Inti, Kon, Mama Cocha, Mama Quilla, Manco Capac, Pachacamac, Viracoc.ha, or Zaramama aren't true gods?
      How can the Tanakh, Talmud, Midrash, New Testament, Quran, Sunnah, Nahjul Balagha, Avesta, Vedas, Upanisahds, Bhagavad Gita, Puranas, Tantras, Sutras, Vachanas, Adi Granth, Purvas, Samayasara, Niyamasara, Pravacanasara, and Pancastikaya; Anupreksa; Samadhishataka of Pujyapada; Tattvarthasutra of Umasvati, Tattvarthasutra, Pali Tripitaka, Jataka,, Visuddimagga, Tripitaka, Lotus Sutra, Garland Sutra, Analects; the Great Learning; the Doctrine of the Mean; the Mencius, Tao Te Ching, Chuang-tzu, Kojiki, Nihon Shoki, K-oki, Ofudesaki, Mikagura-uta, Michi-no-Shiori, Johrei, Goseigen, Netarean Shower of Holy Doctrines, Chun Boo Kyung, Kitab-i-Iqan, Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, Book of Mormon, Dianetics, or Revelation X be dismissed as Holy Books since they all claim to be The Truth?
      If you're a Bible adherent, how do you know whether Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, oriental Orthodox, As.syrian, Byzantine, Lutheran, Anglican, Presbyterian, Anabaptism, Brethren, Methodist, Pietism, Apostolic, Pentocostal, Charismatic, African Initiated, United, Quakers, Couthcotti.tism, Millerism, British-Isrealism, Latter Day Saints, Mennonite, 7th day Adventism, Kelleyism, Co.oneyism, Shakers, Methernitha, Strigolniki, Yehowism, Christadelphians, Christian Science, doukhobors, Iglesia ni Cristo, Makuya, Molokans, Subbotniks, Ebionism, Martinism, Rosicrucians, Rastafarianism, Santo Daime, or Umbanda is the REAL interpretation of your God's words?
      If the One True Deity, shaper of The Universe, wishes their words to be transmitted and adhered to, they should have been a bit less ambiguous. Expecting people to select The Truth out of limitless possibilities on faith alone seems a sloppy way to run things – especially if the punishment for a wrong choice is eternal torment.

      July 25, 2012 at 9:41 am |
  15. highplainsparson

    God Is in Control. Find my fuller response by clicking on the name above. This is @PastorRileyF quoted above.

    July 25, 2012 at 9:35 am |
    • snowboarder

      Selmers – pure random chance. believing anything more is simply self serving delusion.

      July 25, 2012 at 9:48 am |
  16. .

    I see this question a lot and thought I would talk a little about it. If there is a God, why is the world such an awful place? Why does he allow bad things to happen? The fault isn't God's, it is ours. The whole thing can be understood in Deuteronomy 28. I will just quote the first verse here, "1 And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments which I command thee this day, that the Lord thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth:
    2 And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God."
    Before Moses was taken, he called Israel together and gave them God's vision for the earth. Chapter 28  of Deuteronomy is actually a summary of Deuteronomy which is a long sermon by Moses.  God's original intent was for Israel to conquer the whole earth and then rule it in righteousness. Eventually the prince of peace, Jesus Christ, would be born and reign over the earth in justice for ever.
    That never happened. Why? Because Israel sinned and instead of worshipping God Almighty, they worshipped Idols and actually became worse than the pagans they were supposed to rule over! So God had no choice, but to give the earth a new plan based on our rebellion from him – he called Nebuchadnezzer and Babylon to take dominion over the earth and then a succession of other pagan peoples which brings us to today. But, the promises to Israel are still in effect. He caused the reformation and again brought light and knowledge to the earth in preparation to restore Israel to its rightful place. In Daniel 2 he speaks of a little stone rolling forth and filling the whole earth and this time it will never be taken away. This is the true gospel of Jesus Christ and if we will repent and return to God, he will return to us! This is really abbreviated to not take too much space. If you would like to know more about this little stone, you can go to mormon.org.

    July 25, 2012 at 9:33 am |
    • Selmers

      Then I ask myself, why did the 100-round magazine jam? Here is a tool that has one purpose and one purpose only, to dispense bullets to a weapon so that they can fire. While God does allow free will, there are also limits on what is allowed. Dozens of lives were spared that night simply because this little device jammed.

      July 25, 2012 at 9:35 am |
    • Closet Atheist

      Selmers, I have a little plot of land on the moon I can give you a great deal on.... let's talk.....

      July 25, 2012 at 9:47 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      If a tornado rips through a trailer park and a hundred people are killed and two survive, that would be God's grace then?
      Not EVERYONE died a horrible death, therefore God is merciful?

      July 25, 2012 at 9:48 am |
    • .

      I totally agree with you, Selmers. God is active in our lives. My point is that we cannot blame God for screwing up the world when it is our fault. God gave ancient Israel a mandate to conquer the world and bring peace and justice to it, but Israel did not follow that plan. Both Israel and all of us since have been in rebellion. We can't blame God when we have never followed his plan, but each of us can accept God and his teachings as indidviduals.

      July 25, 2012 at 9:48 am |
    • HeroOfTime

      Selmers, I hope you see this. Your argument for God's ( And you don't specify which of the 2,780 recognized deities in the world you are speaking of, however I think its safe to assume its the god of the three Abrahamic religions) love and will is that the 100 round drum jammed? A thing designed to do one thing and it jammed, because god intervened. So please explain to me why your god wouldn't have had Holmes' tires go flat, or the starter in the car to malfunction. Both are designed to do one thing, and a malfunction of either could have prevented the whole tragedy altogether. So why wouldn't your god choose to exercise his will that way?

      July 25, 2012 at 10:06 am |
  17. Mike

    If there is a God he wants us to learn for ourselves rather than holding our hands through everything. A good teacher doesn't hand out all the answers.

    July 25, 2012 at 9:31 am |
    • snowboarder

      aw. isn't that sweet of him.

      what moronic tripe.

      July 25, 2012 at 9:50 am |
    • MikeB

      snowboarder – Apparently you have as little respect for other as did the shooter.

      July 25, 2012 at 9:56 am |
    • HeroOfTime

      So why then would he give us a bible or torah, or Koran, or whatever holy book you hold dear? Some many people say that this is the word of god and its his will in written form. That his will is unshakable and his whole plan for the universe is laid out and can't be changed. So wouldn't that be holding our hands?

      July 25, 2012 at 10:08 am |
  18. Justin

    God (along with the bible) is a book of moral values, nothing more and nothing less. They are good to follow to provide a good path to stay on in life, something to base yourself on. Even if some kind of god existed, how is he going to somehow change someones decision to go and kill a bunch of people? In the book, god gave man choice and that is about it. He can't change what we do, but when someone does something good then it's "god's will" right away. When something really bad happens, the religious people will be first to say "god gave man choice" lol.. sad

    July 25, 2012 at 9:29 am |
    • Bigdsj

      Yeah especially that part about slavery (Exodus 21:20-21) and stoning your own children (Deuteronomy 21:18-21)

      July 25, 2012 at 9:36 am |
    • Selmers

      Yet, somehow, the weapon jammed and dozens of lives we saved. Hmmm

      July 25, 2012 at 9:37 am |
    • Larry89

      Selmers, you keep posting the same thing. The gun jammed because it jammed, there was no divine intervention. You're also implying that 12 people dead is an acceptable number to the big fairy in the sky.

      July 25, 2012 at 9:51 am |
  19. Fact

    "Where was God?" Ask those who insist in not having Hin or the bible any part of education or the fabric of our society. Look into the revivals that took place in various countries including the U.S. and you will see how crime was so low during that time that there was hardly a need for police. Facts are facts – When you take God out evil fills the void.

    July 25, 2012 at 9:28 am |
    • Huebert

      Are you aware that homicide rates have fallen by over half since the early 90's?

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crime_in_the_United_States#Homicide

      July 25, 2012 at 9:33 am |
    • fiveliters

      God was in the next theatre,watching 'The Avengers'.

      July 25, 2012 at 9:39 am |
    • NOT MY CHAIR

      you do realize that the crusades were driven by your gods will right? the dark ages was brought about by your religion right? the Spanish inquisition was brought about by your religion? Salem witch burning was brought about by your religion? child molestation was done by your religious leaders. please don't think that your religion leads to a peaceful world. your religion has had control over the western world for hundreds of years and look where that has gotten us.

      July 25, 2012 at 9:43 am |
    • xcatch

      Part of the reason homicide rates have fallen is advances in medical care and the outstanding work of first responders, etc. I believe the more accurate assessment of today's society is a measurement of violent acts (defined as you wish) as compared to prior years.

      July 25, 2012 at 9:46 am |
    • HeroOfTime

      Im just gonna leave this here.
      Here is a Fact for you, FACT:
      Norway.
      According to the latest census, Norway is around 70% Atheist. Meanwhile the Global Peace Index has Norway listed as the most peaceful country on the planet. They have the second highest GDP in the world. An unemployment rate under 2%, and hourly wages averages to some of the highest in the world.

      Meanwhile they are also ranked first in life expactancy, literacy, education, and standard of living.

      So if we are failing as a nation because we have taken YOUR god out of the equation, would you please be so kind as to explain how Norway is doing so well, while being a predominantly Atheist nation?

      July 25, 2012 at 10:10 am |
    • HeroOfTime

      Ok FACT, please explain this to me then.

      Norway is around 70% Atheist. Meanwhile the Global Peace Index has Norway listed as the most peaceful country on the planet. They have the second highest GDP in the world. An unemployment rate under 2%, and hourly wages averages to some of the highest in the world.

      Meanwhile they are also ranked first in life expactancy, literacy, education, and standard of living.

      So if we are failing as a nation because we have taken YOUR god out of the equation, would you please be so kind as to explain how Norway is doing so well, while being a predominantly Atheist nation?

      July 25, 2012 at 10:11 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      It might interest you to know that there are a number of researchers who believe that the crime has fallen, in part, because abortion is legal and birth control is available.

      July 25, 2012 at 10:12 am |
  20. Marvs257

    God never promised that there would be no temptations, that there would be no bad things that would happen to us. That's what faith is all about. If you are strong, then temptations like these will not shake your faith.

    July 25, 2012 at 9:27 am |
    • Dave

      Speaking of "temptations." Stories like this make me tempted to believe that if there is a God, he simply doesn't care about us. If he's worrying about bigger picture things, then I'll put my faith in the living, breathing people who can help each other in times like these.

      July 25, 2012 at 9:31 am |
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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.