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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. siily fools

    or where was the easter bunny,tooth fairy,or the trix rabbit?They were not there because they are made up characters!!!

    July 25, 2012 at 10:32 am |
  2. Confused

    If you don't believe God even exists, why are you wasting your time reading articles like this and further, posting comments??? If I didn't believe in God. I'd live my life and just ignore those who do. Obviously something in you is curious about God or you wouldn't waste even 2 minutes of your day to do these things.

    July 25, 2012 at 10:32 am |
    • Kevin in Atlanta

      I can't speak for anyone else, but I don't believe in God. And I would love to blissfully go through my life ignoring those that do. But, that seems impossible. As any christian I run into that figures out that I'm not a believer seems to take upon themselves to try and convert me.

      I'd love to live and let live, but your religion seems to have a problem with that.

      July 25, 2012 at 10:38 am |
    • myweightinwords

      @Confused,

      Belief is belief, whether it is in a specific god, a number of gods, the idea of god or the lack of god. Some may believe in a creator, but not one that continues to participate with his creation. Some may believe no god exists. Some may believe all gods exist.

      This is a belief blog. Where people come to talk about what they believe.

      Is that really so difficult to understand?

      July 25, 2012 at 10:45 am |
  3. PrimeNumber

    Suppose we set aside the "God Problem" for a bit and approach the thing differently. Scientic method works because nature possesses order. We can observe and predict the behaviour of lower forms of life: migrations, feeding habits, reproduction, etc. We can tell something about the changes in life necessary for survival – evolution. Humans are supposed to possess reason. Yet our behaviour seems least predictable of all species. We wouldn't want to suggest that nature possesses "mind". That would take us down a slippery slope which materialists wouldn't tolerate. So how did dumb nature produce such a being as humanity? He does things such as building nuclear weapons to kill millions, or use the same science to treat cancer. He produces blogs like this one. Here, we are dehumanized and can write insults on a computer screen with impunity.

    How did nature, left to it's own devices, produce a freak like us. What would Darwin say?

    July 25, 2012 at 10:32 am |
    • TJX

      Inherent in nature is quantum theory. The quantum world is orders more random than humans could ever be. So your argument makes no sense.

      Also, animals are just as random as humans are.

      July 25, 2012 at 10:40 am |
  4. independent texan

    Which God? Who's God? Is there a God? Nobody knows. So this is a really dumb question.

    July 25, 2012 at 10:31 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      The God of our understanding who is beyond our comprehension.

      July 25, 2012 at 10:35 am |
    • Who invited me?

      Bill
      If you cannot comprehend, you cannot understand.
      Sounds about right

      July 25, 2012 at 10:38 am |
    • Living in Texas but trying to escape

      AMEN to that. The whole concept is a waste of time and energy. Even made me fritter away 60 seconds I'm not getting back.

      July 25, 2012 at 10:38 am |
    • Layman

      my point exactly.

      you will absolutely NOT allow yourself to wonder and examine the possibility of God. no one is going to argue with you when you don't take yourself seriously enough to get investigate for yourself. there is no convincing you because you will not even open yourself up for one second to any informed discussion.

      July 25, 2012 at 10:43 am |
    • PrimeNumber

      @Bill Deacon or, as Evelyn Underhill, the Anglican mystic observed, "If God were small enough to be understood, He would not be big enough to be worshiped." It seems to me that it is a human need to seek an ultimate something to have faith in. For atheists, that something seems to be Reason. And they persist, no matter how many times it fails them.

      July 25, 2012 at 10:49 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      You are making an as sumption, PrimeNumb. You don't know that to be a fact. Furthermore, there's no evidence that reason has 'failed' anyone. It may not explain everything, but neither does religion or faith.

      July 25, 2012 at 12:14 pm |
  5. Nan

    I'm personally disgusted that after this horrible incident, the religious people were chanting about "God," esp.during the tribute I think it was. It just turns my stomach. I don't think ANYONE has any idea about these things really. And, to pretend you do is really patronizing to the people like me who know you don't. We are all guessing at best. How does God allow these things and others like this to happen? Who knows is the most valid answer.

    July 25, 2012 at 10:31 am |
    • Carrot Cake Man

      Great post, Nan. Thank you.

      July 25, 2012 at 10:34 am |
    • ArthurP

      He does not allow it. It is all part of his plan. Mere mortals cannot alter his plan.

      July 25, 2012 at 10:36 am |
    • lee

      "It is part of his plan" Which is why I wouldn't worship your god even if I thought for a second that he existed. What a sicko.

      July 25, 2012 at 3:06 pm |
  6. lee

    "Where was god in Aurora massacre?"

    Same place he always is. In the imaginations of way too many people.

    July 25, 2012 at 10:29 am |
    • nectarine mint

      Amen

      July 25, 2012 at 10:39 am |
  7. Frank

    God wasn't in Aurora because GOD IS NOT REAL. I don't mean to be harsh, but seriously any grown adults here that still believe in God really need to think about why they believe in God and just how ridiculous the whole story/idea of God are. I grew up the first 20 years of my life going to church every Sunday, praying, praising Jesus just like all of you, but never did I feel more free than when I realized what a complete load of crap all of it is. I mean when you're praying you're talking into the air (or in your head), nothing more, it has absolutely zero effect on what happens in your life. I'm all for the fellowship/community aspect of religion, but too many people use it to try to take away other's rights. You don't believe in abortion? Don't get an abortion! Don't believe in gay marriage? Don't marry a gay person! But who cares if someone else does? Get over it and move on, you people are slowing the progress of mankind.

    Life has a lot more meaning when you believe that this is it and that there is no eternal life. I mean all of you essentially believe that you're going to live forever, and people tend to not appreciate things they have an infinite supply of.

    July 25, 2012 at 10:29 am |
    • miss londa

      lol..really..lol

      July 25, 2012 at 10:34 am |
    • Skeptic

      So...the Aurora shootings were a matter of evolution? Of progressing mankind? Of weeding out the weak? To break our species of the thought that we're going to live forever and thus lose appreciation for living?

      That makes sense.

      You claim evolution and the advancement of the human species...but you don't live that way. You simply cannot function that way, you will not. You're holding yourself and everyone else to a worldview and standard that we cannot live out of.

      July 25, 2012 at 10:36 am |
    • PrimeNumber

      With atheists, thinking for oneself always means abandoning the idea of God. The atheists have predetermined what conclusions the thinking person should come to. Why should we think? You atheists have already done it for us. Let's believe what the atheists require and be sheep.

      July 25, 2012 at 10:36 am |
    • Tricia

      Where is my Like button when I need it!

      July 25, 2012 at 10:36 am |
    • TJ

      You do feel more free when you believe your actions on this earth have no repercussions beyond this life.

      You are correct that people do horrible things in the name of God, but that doesn't mean he doesn't exist. You have no more proof that God doesn't exist as I have that he does. So calling me misguided is a short sighted opinion.

      People are the evil ones that hate and oppress. Those are not things that God stands for.

      July 25, 2012 at 10:38 am |
    • Layman

      and where does your sense of right and wrong come from? nothing is injust or wrong if we're all just living to evolve and better the human species. why are you so upset about people trying to rob others of their "rights"? what rights does anyone have with regards to evolution?

      there is no right and wrong. just survival and advancement, right?

      don't hold me to a standard that you cannot yourself meet.

      July 25, 2012 at 10:49 am |
    • Layman

      "unjust" is what i meant...excuse the typo. just wanted to clear that up for myself before someone would rather attack my intelligence or literacy instead of contribute to the discussion

      July 25, 2012 at 10:50 am |
    • TJ

      Misspelling unjust is the least of the problems of your argument as you just acquitted the actions of Holmes under the basis that what he did as neither right nor wrong. It was just an act of evolution.

      July 25, 2012 at 10:58 am |
    • tallulah13

      Layman, the concept of right and wrong comes from simple human empathy - treat others as you would be treated. Right and wrong existed long before your god and your bible, and should humanity survive long enough, will continue to exist long after your god has been discarded with the rest of the thousands of gods humanity has worshiped.

      July 25, 2012 at 11:11 am |
    • Layman

      TJ – your offended because you have some moral basis of right and wrong. and you should be offended, as am i. and i'm angry, as should you be, at what happened in Aurora.

      and my point is that none of us can live out of that worldview...that everything is just an act of evolution or whatever the case may be. Jesus, the Bible, Christianity give us the BEST explanation for why and what exactly is going on here...

      July 25, 2012 at 11:12 am |
    • Layman

      tallulah13 – nope.

      explain what "human empathy" means. where does it come from?

      if God does not exist...then it's all just random (and lame) chemical reactions that are going on in our brains. no real substance.

      and WHERE did right and wrong COME FROM? who put it there? if it existed long before God, then how did it get there? how did we know what was right or wrong?

      you leave all of the explaining to me but refuse to defend your viewpoint...

      July 25, 2012 at 11:16 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Why did something have to "put it there"? Don't you think it's entirely possible that a sense of right and wrong also evolved? Just because we have developed certain attributes doesn't mean that an invisible being "put them there". Furthermore, this entire discussion of where 'morals' come from is moot. If you are claiming that god "put them there' then it would stand to reason that those who don't believe in a god would automatically resort to murder to get what they need to survive. Is that the case? If god is the source of morality, then believers wouldn't commit murder-yet they do. So your focus on absolute morality as being from god is useless, since it doesn't deter anyone from murdering.

      July 25, 2012 at 11:22 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      You and Chad and others have attempted to make this argument before and failed. You make the mistake of thinking that because an atheist doesn't believe there's a god, he or she is inherently immoral. That isn't true and it's a silly thing to assert. As to where empathy comes from, it is likely a combination of factors: empathy isn't inborn. If it were, the two-year-old wouldn't pull the cat's tail. It is only be being taught that it hurts the cat and that we don't like being hurt, and neither does the cat.

      July 25, 2012 at 11:28 am |
    • Layman

      evolution says a "hey, we should all get along" mentality leaves you hungry and dead. it lets all the "more evolved" people abuse your willingness to share food, do the hunting for them, etc.

      and i'm not making blanket statements about absolute morality. God did put this whole morality/right vs. wrong thing into us. the Bible gives us the best explanation for that. but i am not saying people don't disregard that and do things like murder or lie or whatever else. the Bible gives us the best explanation for that too. it also gives us the best explanation about what God is like – how he interacts with us. the bible also gives the best explanation for what God is going to do about it.

      i put it this way earlier...Jesus, the Bible, Christianity provide the BEST explanations for what's going on in the world.

      July 25, 2012 at 11:31 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      No, they don't. Your own posts are proof of that.

      There's no one explanation and simplistically using the Bible as the "explanation for all that is going on in the world" is dishonest.

      July 25, 2012 at 11:33 am |
    • Layman

      now you're making blanket statements...

      July 25, 2012 at 11:35 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      "Evolution says a hey let's all get along mentality leaves you hungry or dead." Hardly. Man survived by forming groups and cooperating with others.

      You seem to view 'evolution' as a 'kill or be killed' 'survival of the fittest' business. That's idiotic. Evolution doesn't operate that way.

      But it's not surprising you'd resort to some infantile explanation.

      July 25, 2012 at 11:37 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      "Now you're making blanket statements." Which you cannot seem to refute.

      You have no evidence or proof that Christianity "explains" what's going on in the world today. You just interpret it to suit your view of things. One could just as easily say this about Nostradamus's predictions, and people do that, too, and it's no more sensible than your claim.

      July 25, 2012 at 11:39 am |
    • Layman

      what explanations do you have then? and more importantly, are you living and acting out of your own perspectives and philosophy (if you care to use that word)

      why don't you give me the best explanation...or explanations?

      and i never said it was simple. life is not simple man. i'm jus trying to make sense of things just like everyone else. don't put me in that box. and don't you dare think i'm insensitive to what's going on in the world or to what happened in Aurora or that i'm making excuses.

      July 25, 2012 at 11:40 am |
    • Layman

      if you want to pick a fight...i'm not the guy you're looking for.

      and i'm not impressed by your take on all of this nor do i feel inferior to your logic.

      it's also not surprising that you would resort to your tactics as well. i've heard it all before man. you're not interested in figuring things out for yourself – you just want to argue. i'm not into arguing. and no, it's not because i'm afraid or inferior or blah blah blah. i'm not claiming to have all the answers. and now, that doesn't mean i'm stupid or blah blah blah. attack, attack, attack.

      July 25, 2012 at 11:45 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Why do people like you think there "must be" some explanation? There aren't always reasons for the things that happen. When believers don't know how the universe began, they tell themselves that a god must have done it. There's no evidence for that; just because we don't know how doesn't mean a god must have done it.

      As far as what happened in Aurora, without knowing all the facts, there can BE no reasonable explanation yet. That's why we have courts, laws, trials. When all the facts about this suspect are in, they may or may not point to a cause for his behavior. That doesn't mean he was without some invisible sky fairy; it likely means he was mentally ill and delusional. Possibly he was schizophrenic and imagined he was being commanded to commit this act.

      The point is: you want some easy, simple, instant explanation like "evil". If that's what floats your boat, fine. I prefer to wait and see what transpires and is revealed before I attempt any explanation, and I am willing and able to accept that there may not BE one.

      July 25, 2012 at 11:47 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Sure you are. You're here insisting that you know that god did this or that, that evolution is this or that. And you expect to discuss it, so you're here to either argue or pontificate.

      I don't care which, but don't deny why you posted.

      July 25, 2012 at 11:48 am |
    • Layman

      "When believers don't know how the universe began, they tell themselves that a god must have done it. There's no evidence for that; just because we don't know how doesn't mean a god must have done it"

      educate yourself and get informed. put in the work man. go read what science said (and says) about how the universe began. go read all of the explanations and decide for yourself which is the BEST one.

      i'm not going to win an argument with you. and i'm fine with that.

      what proof do you have that God doesn't exist?

      and why do people like you answer that question with "well...you're just living in a fantasy" or "you just can't accept that maybe there are no answers" or whatever.

      July 25, 2012 at 11:53 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Where did I say we were living in a fantasy? I say we don't know because it's the truth.

      If you can prove otherwise, you're welcome to do so, but getting mad because you can't is useless.

      July 25, 2012 at 12:03 pm |
  8. Layman

    Where was God? God never left.

    The problem w/ your loaded question is that most have never really taken the time to genuinely figure that out for themselves. Many put the burden of proof solely on the believer (and I don't mean the casual, nominal Sunday Christian...I mean follower of Jesus) without actually doing some digging for themselves. Not digging to disprove or argue...but digging for the possibility of truth and freedom.

    I'll tell you what I believe to be true, with every ounce of my being...God was there – active and present...and grieving...and completely in control...but grieving. God did NOT (and does not) will anything like this to happen but I do believe that it passed through his sovereignty and has caused us all to wonder "where was God" with the hope and purpose of drawing us all to Himself to wrestle with that question FOR OURSELVES.

    It's easy to criticize and condemn...but to be vulnerable and try to find God in all of this takes more courage than has been exhibited on many of the comments posted. There's a lot of fear on this forum...fear of the possibility, the chance that God is ACTUALLY here. Better (and safer) to be angry and blame and be bitter.

    Where is God now? Waiting for you...

    July 25, 2012 at 10:29 am |
    • miss londa

      i love this!

      July 25, 2012 at 10:36 am |
    • tallulah13

      There is no reason to believe god is in Aurora or anywhere else because there isn't a single shred of evidence to support the existence of any god. You are simply trying to rationalize why the god you believe in did nothing when a sociopath murdered 12 people, including a 6-year-old girl. Did you ever consider that god did nothing because god doesn't exist?

      July 25, 2012 at 11:07 am |
    • Layman

      what PROOF do you have that God doesn't exist? i mean, really?

      is it the fine tuning of the universe?
      the ever expanding universe? you know, the one that, if you turn back the clock, had to have a beginning? a Someone or thing to set it into motion?
      have you spent time taking a look at DNA and RNA? where'd that come from? how could so much intelligence go into something so small?

      is it all just some galactic lottery? i know you're smarter than that.

      what proof do you have that He doesn't exist?

      July 25, 2012 at 11:21 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      What proof do you have that the Tooth Fairy doesn't exist?

      July 25, 2012 at 11:50 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Why do you as sume that a supernatural being "must have" done anything? Just because we don't know how or when the big bang occurred it does not follow that the only possible answer is an invisible being.

      July 25, 2012 at 11:54 am |
    • Layman

      "what proof do you have that the toothfairy doesn't exist"

      great come back.

      i'm not a moron. and you aren't either. you can come up with a better answer...

      or you just don't want to. you can't.

      July 25, 2012 at 11:55 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      It's the same thing, layman. One cannot prove a negative. You can get angry about it all you want, but you can't prove god exists. You are making the claim that he does. When someone makes a claim, he must provide proof of it. No one can prove that something DOESN'T exist-that's the point of the tooth fairy question.

      If I say the tooth fairy is real, I would be expected to show proof. If I say the tooth fairy isn't real, I don't have to prove it, because it can't BE proven.

      July 25, 2012 at 12:00 pm |
    • Layman

      the word that comes to mind is "avoidance."

      you just won't answer. you're making the claim that God doesn't exist. what evidence has led you to this claim? that's all i'm asking.

      waiting...

      July 25, 2012 at 12:03 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      No, Layman. Read carefully. I did not claim that god doesn't exist. I do not believe there's a god because I have seen no evidence of one. There may be one, but I have seen nothing that indicates its existence.

      Read again: can you prove there's no Tooth Fairy? Of course not. I cannot prove there's no god, for the same reason-because one can't prove something doesn't exist. The burden of prove is on the person who claims something exists, or happened. I can't prove that Venus doesn't have a '57 Chevy orbiting it. If I claim that it does, I have the burden of proving so.

      July 25, 2012 at 12:07 pm |
  9. Craboo

    Over the past 2,000 years the church has killed many more people then died in Colorado. The Spanish, English, French and middle east wiped out whole populations in the name of the church and god. God might not be evil but religion certainly is.

    July 25, 2012 at 10:29 am |
    • Nan

      You can say that again!! Totally agree.

      July 25, 2012 at 10:33 am |
  10. Paul Smith

    You've all got it wrong. Everything that happens exists solely in the mind of god. So, if he dreamed this nightmare, he didn't "allow" it to happen - nothing exists outside the universe which is itself god's own imagination. Even me making this comment and you reading it now are figments of god's imagination. As is "free will."

    Oh, and how do I know this? Because, as we all know, every single idea, thought, utterance, theory, and book about god or gods of any kind is made by a flesh-and-blood person no different from me or you. And since all beliefs, ideas, etc. about god are created by the human mind, including the one I expressed here, then my idea has exactly the same status as ANY other. In other words, it's just as likely to be "true" as any other notion expressed by someone else. The frame of reference is completely limited to human discourse on this matter, and in no way connected to real phenomena in the universe.

    So, looking for any connection whatsoever between anything pertaining to god and any reality outside human discourse of god is futile.

    July 25, 2012 at 10:28 am |
  11. Archived

    In a similar vein, why didn't Bigfoot intercede to stop the shooter?

    July 25, 2012 at 10:28 am |
  12. Priscilla

    God was right there. Did he will it to happen? No. Did he want people to get hurt? No. Can/will/is he working with what happened? Yes. We do have free will so he let's us make our choices in this life. That young man chose to go to the theater and shoot those people. Just because God doesn't show up and stop him doesn't mean he doesn't exist. Why is it that we set rules for "if God is real, he will be this way and that way and do this and that"? Who are we to decide those things? We aren't God!

    I'm praying for all the victims and their families. I'm praying that God will bless them each and heal and comfort them. I'm also praying for the shooter. Obviously something is wrong in his life. I'm praying for him to get the help that he needs. I'm praying for you also that's reading this comment that you find God in your life because he's there just waiting for you. You can always count on that.

    July 25, 2012 at 10:27 am |
    • A Frayed Knot

      Priscilla,
      "Why is it that we set rules for "if God is real, he will be this way and that way and do this and that"? Who are we to decide those things? We aren't God!"

      And yet you "pray" for this thing and that thing - for "God" to do this and that, according to your own desires!?

      July 25, 2012 at 11:55 am |
    • Confused

      A Frayed Knot,

      Yes, I do pray for things I desire, but I don't get everything for the same reason I mentioned, I'm not God. I don't control him. The thing is, whether I get what I ask for or not does not determine whether he's real or not nor does it determine whether I believe in him or not.

      It's like being in a relationship with a person, I can ask my husband for things and of course I'm happy when I get what I want, but sometimes he doesn't give me what I want because it's not what I really need or whatever the reason. He still exists either way and he's still my husband either way.

      July 25, 2012 at 12:07 pm |
  13. TOMG

    ALL HUMAN WASTE AND HUMAN URINE ARE THE MOST SMELL BEYOND AND ANIMAL DEFINETION TOBE DECRIBE IN , AMEN .

    July 25, 2012 at 10:27 am |
  14. TJ

    Men are free to choose for themselves, for better or worse, unto their own condemnation or salvation. We are going to be held accountable for our actions. If we were not allowed to act, we could not be condemned or saved based on our works. Of course this wasn't not God's will that these people died, but Holmes chose to do so and acted. If we want to have agency in this life, we have to take the good with the bad. don't blame God for another persons poor use of his agency.

    Also saying that God showed up late or not at all if a very short sighted perspective. If you believe in God, you believe in Life after death. You believe that each person who died will receive their due justice after this life, which I assure you is going to be great due to the tragic way their life was taken. Not all punishment and reward is limited life on this earth. So it could be said that in an eternal perspective, things could work to the benefit of the victims. That's not to say that this is not a tragedy or that we should not work to prevent this is the future, but that God will recompense the victims for the tragic and heinous actions of an individual. You also have to believe Holmes will receive a condemnation beyond comprehension. I also hope that he receives an earthly punishment worthy of his crimes.

    July 25, 2012 at 10:26 am |
  15. mark ducharme

    These days God suffers from the sameole damned if you do, damned if you don't. My belief is that God saw us as people not puppets after Jesus gave his life for us. And in doing so he feels that he no longer has the right to impose his will on us. He gives us the choice between good and evil. Which I believe is only right. Otherwise we might as well all be just puppets.

    July 25, 2012 at 10:25 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      You are on sound theological ground my friend

      July 25, 2012 at 10:39 am |
    • LinCA

      @mark ducharme

      You said, "My belief is that God saw us as people not puppets after Jesus gave his life for us. And in doing so he feels that he no longer has the right to impose his will on us. He gives us the choice between good and evil. Which I believe is only right. Otherwise we might as well all be just puppets."

      Translation: It fucked up when it created everything and populated the earth with deficient humans. It try to cleanse it a couple of times (and fucked up again as the humans remained deficient). Finally it attempted to set things straight by sending itself as its own son to get killed by its own creation to redeem its creation from their sins, and failed again. So now it has pretty much given up on humans.

      There goes the perception of a perfect being.

      It would explain why there haven't been any signs of it, in thousands of years. It would explain why prayer is so singularly ineffective. It would also shed some light on why "acts of god" in the US tend to kill predominantly christians, mostly in the bible belt.

      Or maybe, just maybe, it is only a figment of the imagination of an ancient desert dweller.

      July 25, 2012 at 10:57 am |
  16. Craboo

    God is a figment of your imagination, so if you want him you have to imagine it.

    July 25, 2012 at 10:24 am |
    • miss londa

      you are beyond ignorant

      July 25, 2012 at 10:32 am |
    • Craboo

      If god does not only exist in peoples imagination then where does he exist? I have not seen any real proof or evidence of his existence. In face these tragedies to me are proof that he does not.

      July 25, 2012 at 11:06 am |
  17. Neil Alan Willard

    I'm the Rector of St. Stephen's Episcopal Church in Edina, Minnesota. The text for my sermon last Sunday, "Batman and Aurora's Darkest Valley," was Psalm 23:4: ". . . though I walk through the darkest valley . . . you are with me." Here's a link: http://laughingwater.org/2012/07/24/sermon-batman-and-auroras-darkest-valley/

    July 25, 2012 at 10:24 am |
    • ArthurP

      It should have been "The Evil of Owning Assault Weapons"

      [Mat 26:52] Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.

      July 25, 2012 at 10:40 am |
    • pntkl

      Where is the bill of your mother’s divorce, of whom I have put away? Or which of my creditors is it to whom I have sold you? Behold, for your iniquities have you sold yourselves, and for your transgressions is your mother put away. Wherefore, when I came, was there no man? When I called, was there none to answer? Is my hand shortened at all, that it cannot redeem? Or do I lack power to deliver? Behold, at my rebuke I dry up the sea, I make the rivers a wilderness–their fish stink, because there is no water, and they die for thirst. I clothe the heavens with blackness, and I make sackcloth their covering. The Father has given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary; he wakes morning by morning. He wakes my ear to hear as the learned.

      The Father has opened my ear, and I was not rebellious, neither turned away from others. I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I did not hide my face from their shame and spitting.

      For the Father will help me; therefore I shall not be confounded. Therefore I have set my face like a flint, and I know that I am not to be ashamed. He is near that justifies me–who will contend with me? Let us stand together–who is my adversary? Let them come near to me. Behold, the Father will help me; who is he that can condemn me? With their inequity, they all will wear away as aging garments; the moth will eat them up.

      Who is among you that fears the Father, that obeys the voice of his servant, that walks in darkness, and has no light? Let him trust in the name of the Father, and stay upon his God. Behold, all you that kindle a fire, that compass yourselves about with sparks: walk in the light of your fire, and in the sparks that you have kindled. This will you have of my hand; you will lie down in sorrow.

      July 25, 2012 at 10:50 am |
  18. rrdreyna

    It is not God's will for someone to go to a theater and start killing folks. I will say that God's hand canot be in our lives if we do not want him in our lives. As a nation we have kicked out God's presence in many of our lives and when we need Him we expect Him to be there.

    July 25, 2012 at 10:24 am |
  19. LT

    The bottom line is that man can not legislate Satan....period!! Man's words and laws have absolutely NO effect against the enemy of our souls, Lucifer. There is only one whose Word he MUST obey. And that is the Word of God his Creator as well as our Creator. The Word of God has complete and absolute Power over Satan. And God has given mankind this same Power of Satan through his Word IF we choose to believe on God and his Word and Trust in Him. But if we refuse the Word of God we have absolutely NO defence against Satan because our laws and words carry absolutely NO power against him.

    July 25, 2012 at 10:24 am |
    • Kevin in Atlanta

      So, explain to me why this all powerful God, who can seemingly do anything he wants at any moment, can't control a fallen angel and stop him from terrorizing His children. I don't understand. Is God all powerful? Does He love us? Then why does he allow Lucifer to run amok?

      Seems like God stopped caring about His children a long time ago...

      July 25, 2012 at 10:32 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      Kevin, if you have children, certainly you understand that they do not always do just as you wish them to. Does this mean you love them less? Or are you the kind of father that rigidly controls ever movement and thought they make?

      If you don't have children, then I understand your inability to grasp how God could love us and still allow us to make our own choices.

      July 25, 2012 at 10:42 am |
    • Kevin in Atlanta

      @Bill Deacon, You misunderstand my comment. I am not asking for your God to control our thoughts. That would demolish free will and defeat His purpose, no? But, if you have children, regardless of the choices they make, as a father you will do everything you can to protect them from the things in life that you know they cannot handle on their own. Or, at the very least, give them the knowledge to defeat those obstacles on their own.

      Explain to me how your God is doing this for his children. He is omnipotent, correct? So he is quite aware of the evilness that will happen tomorrow and the day after that correct? If you loved your children, Bill, and you knew imminent danger was coming their way, would you not warn them? Would you not try to protect them?

      God sits upon his cloud and watches us kill each other, gives us no evidence of his existence, then judges us for not believing he is there. That sounds like a terrible father to me, and one I would not want in my life.

      July 25, 2012 at 2:17 pm |
  20. TOMG

    PASSING AWAY THAN WILL BE BORNING BACK AGAIN AND AGAIN AND AGAIN UNTIL ONESELF DUTY ARE FINISHING FROM THE HEAVENLY GOD ORDER THAN THERE WILL BE NO MORE BORNING BACK AGAIN AND AGAIN INTO THIS STUPID KARMA CIVILIZATION SOCEITY , AMEN .

    July 25, 2012 at 10:24 am |
    • The Asian Atheist

      Caps lock must be stuck. Because only children on xbox live write nonsense in all caps.

      July 25, 2012 at 10:28 am |
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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.