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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. Peter McKenzie

    Job said to God, "Even if you kill me, I am still going to trust in you". If you die in a theatre shooting or if you die with a smile on your face at the age of 100 – you still die. The issue then becomes more a question of "how did you spend your life?"

    July 25, 2012 at 10:23 am |
  2. riamb60

    Warner. bros made $ 160 million on the Batman movie that weekend, if it was up to God he would have donated that money to the victims of the shooting , and pay for the medical expanses for the ones that do not have insurance.

    July 25, 2012 at 10:23 am |
    • ArthurP

      If there was a compassionate God then Americans would have universal health insurance and would not need donations to cover the costs.

      July 25, 2012 at 10:26 am |
  3. Mike

    Would be nice to have an appearance sometime. Its only been some 2012 years or so.

    July 25, 2012 at 10:23 am |
  4. cedaly1968

    God lives in us through us, we need only to believe and to allow god to work in our lives. "Where was God?" is an interesting question. The author assumes God is not constantly with us, showing us the path to take every day. We choose to listen, we choose not to listen. 4 young men took the path presented to them and they saved the lives of their girlfriends at the cost of their own. Courage, hope, mourning, anger, violence, resilience, recovery... God never leaves us. Do you leave him?

    July 25, 2012 at 10:23 am |
  5. Kara Lawrence

    Might as well ask "Where was the Tooth Fairy?" neither actually exist!

    July 25, 2012 at 10:22 am |
    • ArthurP

      She was busy collecting teeth.

      July 25, 2012 at 10:24 am |
  6. Jambo

    I can't believe they actually posted this stupid question. THERE IS NO GOD. Stop living your lives believing in fairy tales. God is no different than Santa Claus, Bigfoot, and the Easter Bunny.

    July 25, 2012 at 10:22 am |
  7. Ann

    this should not be a topic of debate.

    July 25, 2012 at 10:22 am |
  8. TOMG

    GOD ARE JUST COME FROM WITH ONESELF MIND AND SOUL AND HEART AND COMPASSION NATURE , AMEN .

    July 25, 2012 at 10:21 am |
  9. Sean Carroll

    http://youtu.be/TAifRGI1Fxs

    [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TAifRGI1Fxs&w=560&h=315%5D

    July 25, 2012 at 10:21 am |
  10. Sean Carroll

    [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TAifRGI1Fxs&w=560&h=315%5D

    July 25, 2012 at 10:21 am |
  11. TOMG

    JESUS IS THE HUMAN FORM WHEN JESUS STILL ALIVE BACK IN THOSE ERA TIMING AND THE FIRST BUDDHA WAS A HUMAN FORM BACK IN THOSE 5OOO YEARS AGO , AMEN . NOW DAILY ALL HUMAN BEING CAN BECOME LIKE GOD JESUS AND CAN BECOME LIKE THE FIRST BUDDHA AND HAPPY BUDDHA ALSO IT JUST PUT ONESELF MIND OVER ALL HELL AND HEAVENLY MATTER , AMEN .

    July 25, 2012 at 10:20 am |
    • Inigo

      Those words do not mean what you think they mean.

      July 25, 2012 at 10:23 am |
  12. Turtleguy

    God was in the imagination of believers, just like always. Focus on reality and you'll be better off.

    July 25, 2012 at 10:20 am |
  13. drdiamond

    -God came here on earth to help the human race, but we try to kill God, because we did not want Love so we hung Love on a cross and said the hell with God we don't need his Love. Today things have not changed we don't want love as a part of our human life so we kill each other, it's call free will not God's will. A fool say's there is no God and we humans created ourselves.
    The time will come we they will see just how foolish they are. We worship everything our hands made, but the things God made we humans can't touch. And we better pray that GOD does not consume us for our foolish ways. All GOD has to do to stop us in our tracks is to tell the sun not to shine, that would be the end of the human race.

    -Dr.Diamond 2012 A.D.

    July 25, 2012 at 10:20 am |
  14. palintwit

    It's just a matter of time before police find a copy of Sarah Palin's famous 'crosshairs' poster in the shooter's apartment. The ultimate irony would be if it was an autographed copy. And why Sarah Palin you may ask? Because of her views on gun ownership.

    July 25, 2012 at 10:20 am |
  15. Sean Carroll

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=suMhQ3ETCyI

    [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=suMhQ3ETCyI&w=560&h=315%5D

    July 25, 2012 at 10:19 am |
  16. .

    29 O ye wicked and ye perverse generation; ye hardened and ye stiffnecked people, how long will ye suppose that the Lord will suffer you? Yea, how long will ye suffer yourselves to be led by foolish and blind guides? Yea, how long will ye choose darkness rather than light?
    30 Yea, behold, the anger of the Lord is already kindled against you; behold, he hath cursed the land because of your iniquity.
    31 And behold, the time cometh that he curseth your riches, that they become slippery, that ye cannot hold them; and in the days of your poverty ye cannot retain them. (Book of Mormon, Helaman, Chapter 13)

    July 25, 2012 at 10:19 am |
    • joe

      And your version of religion is the worst of all. Garden of Eden in Missouri? Really?

      July 25, 2012 at 10:31 am |
  17. jj

    You don't need the Aurora disaster to know that if there really is any divine intervention in humanity, it's definately scattered. Read the paper, watch the news. What about the Holocaust?...or the Armenian genocide....or countless instances. None of us knows if there is divine intervention for real. Perhaps God is just real picky about when to do it...but it sure seems like there have been plenty of opportunities. We're on our own folks. What's really rediculous to me is when an athlete prays for his/her performance...as if something that trivial would matter to the almighty.

    July 25, 2012 at 10:18 am |
  18. NONONSENE

    God was present...the question should be – where was Homeland Security? Where were the red flags when this guy was buying all this firepower? Why did somebody question why he needed all this firepower? God did not leave us. The system disappointed us. Their lives and injuries could have been spared if the right questions were asked and action was taken.

    July 25, 2012 at 10:18 am |
    • joe

      homeland security has more power than god?

      July 25, 2012 at 10:26 am |
    • NONONSENE

      Homeland Security does not have more power than God, but was put together by the will of God to help with these type of situations.

      July 25, 2012 at 6:53 pm |
  19. ledotter

    "GOD" has no reality so why ask where he was? He exists only in the imagination of frightened people looking for assurance that they are going to be taken care of. This kind of event shakes that assurance, as it should, and leads to all kinds of convoluted illogical "explanations" for why evil exists!

    July 25, 2012 at 10:18 am |
  20. drdiamond

    -God came here on earth the help the human race, but we try to kill God, because we did not want Love so we hung Love on a cross and said the hell with God we don't need his Love. Today things have not changed we don't want love as a part of our human life so we kill each other, it's call free will not God's will. A fool say's there is no God and we humans created ourselves.
    The time will come we they will see just how foolish they are. We worship everything our hands made, but the things God made we humans can't touch. And we better pray that GOD does not consume us for our foolish ways. All GOD has to do to stop us in our tracks is to tell the sun not to shine, that would be the end of the human race.

    -Dr.Diamond 2012 A.D.

    July 25, 2012 at 10:18 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.