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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. The Asian Atheist

    @LinCA
    You are exactly right regarding the post about agnostic versus atheist. I was merely referring to the embrace of the term atheist, as you cannot really be one without the other. So why not be proud of the more controversial of the two.

    July 25, 2012 at 12:29 pm |
    • LinCA

      @The Asian Atheist

      You said, "I was merely referring to the embrace of the term atheist, as you cannot really be one without the other."
      While I agree that there is no need to shy away from the term atheist, I'll disagree that you can't be one without also being an agnostic. There are some that "know" (or at least claim to do) that there are no gods (strong atheism).

      You said, "So why not be proud of the more controversial of the two."
      Some prefer the less provocative/controversial/offensive term non-believer. To each his/her own.

      I, for one, couldn't care less whether believers are offended or provoked by the term "atheist". I will identify myself as an atheist, when the subject comes up.

      July 25, 2012 at 12:38 pm |
  2. us_1776

    Where was god?

    The same place he's always been. Nowhere.

    .

    July 25, 2012 at 12:29 pm |
  3. george

    God is good, He sent His Son to pay for our sins. The problem is the country, society told HIM,,we don't want you" in out country, schools, government. And when was a gentleman and left because He won't stay where He's not welcomed, why is He to be blamed for what the devil, which he is the god of this world, is the man who let him rule and man's choices to listen to the devils lies and schemes...why is it God's fault? We need to open our hearts and repend of our sins, go back to Him and fear Him. The bible says ,,The thief(devil) does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I (Jesus)have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abuntantly". I can see from the comments all the hatred and unbelief, all the hatred towards God, instead of humbling ourselves and seek to fear and respect HIm, welcome Him back in our government, lives, schools etc...please good people don't blame Him bacause is not His fault please read the Bible and seek the truth

    July 25, 2012 at 12:27 pm |
    • Atone Deaf

      Shut it.
      None of it is real. Your imagery God is laughable along will all your religeons stupid rituals that do nothing. Go pray on it, see what happens. Nothing.

      July 25, 2012 at 12:33 pm |
  4. Jose

    Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8 Love never fails.

    God loves us and in his great love has given all of us free will. All the evil we see in this planet begins from our free will. Wealth, lust, power are things of this world we desire. They are temporary things, which breed our evil ways. No one is perfect; we all crave these in some way. All we can do is choose love, try to do right, and love each other as Jesus loved us.

    July 25, 2012 at 12:26 pm |
    • Neece

      That's all God wants is for people to love each other! And for some it seems an impossible task! I will humbly myself before God. I am proud to be firm believer in our Lord!!! And I have unwavering faith! Come hell or high water, I will not lose my faith. If I lose my faith I will be a lost soul. God gave us free will to do right or wrong. However, whatever road we choose to go down, we will reap the repercussions of our choices, good or bad, right or wrong! We are to love our neighbor and be our brother's keeper. I want to be treated with kindness, compassion and love so whether it’s acceptable or not, I will continue to treat others as I would want to be treated! I've been called a fool, but I what I do for others is between me and God. Whatever a person chooses to do with my acts of kindness is between them and God!

      That being said...God is love! This had nothing to do with God! This was the devil and Zimmerman truly needs to humble himself before God! To say that this was God's plan is an abomination!

      July 25, 2012 at 12:49 pm |
  5. OMG, Are you still searching for God?

    Those that do not know God ask the same ignorant question whenever life throws a calamity their way. God is not dumb, blind or cold-hearted. He is the Supreme One – The Most High – intelligence is off the scale of any meter we could build. 1) he designed this planet (his creation) with the fact premise that he won't intervene into any of man's affairs unless invited. He won't break his prime directive: man shall have free will; unless a man invites him to do so.

    God is the ultimate judge and equalizer. When people die, they will not escape these atrocities they have done, nor will those that truly belong to Him escape the greatest rewards for all the good they have done. Bear this in mind, ALL WILL STAND, and someday even kneel, before the one true God. Get to know him while you have time because any man can take a life but only God can destroy the soul and cast it into eternal seperation.

    July 25, 2012 at 12:26 pm |
    • Romans

      Your assertions:

      1) God does not intervene unless invited to

      This is incorrect. Nobody invited him to intervene on the behalf of the hebrews in Egypt. No one invited Jesus to come to Earth to atone for the sins of the world.

      2) Only god can destroy a soul.....

      Our souls are not "destroyed." That is not biblical either. Hell is self chosen, he does not cast anything but satan and demons into the lake of fire.

      July 25, 2012 at 12:30 pm |
    • NP

      Man O man.. You gotta look up what Locigal Fallacy means.. Your god seem like a toothless "tiger"..

      July 25, 2012 at 12:31 pm |
    • The Asian Atheist

      Wow that just sounds truly awful. And this is the stuff we tell children? Might as well let kids see rater R movies if they go to Sunday school. They have already been exposed to some truly horrifying things.

      July 25, 2012 at 12:32 pm |
    • @Romans

      1) God does not intervene unless invited to

      This is incorrect. Nobody invited him to intervene on the behalf of the hebrews in Egypt. No one invited Jesus to come to Earth to atone for the sins of the world.

      RESPONSE: That was not related. The Hebrews were being punished for 400 years for breaking covenant with God. Read Acts 7

      2) Only god can destroy a soul.....

      Our souls are not "destroyed." That is not biblical either. Hell is self chosen, he does not cast anything but satan and demons into the lake of fire.

      RESPONSE: Quoting Jesus himself, "fear not them which kill the body,but are not able to kill the soul..." Read Matt 10:28

      These are God's words, not mine. Your quarrel is with Him. I have nothing more to say, so go pray to Him and learn of Him before it is too late for you.

      July 25, 2012 at 2:00 pm |
  6. EnjaySea

    I'm gonna stick my neck out here and suggest that your deity didn't prevent this crime because your deity doesn't exist.

    July 25, 2012 at 12:24 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Because God doesn't act the way you think he should isn't proof of his non existence. i wish atheists would police their own with as much vigor as they do believers when it comes to logic.

      July 25, 2012 at 12:53 pm |
    • EnjaySea

      So, Bill, I think you didn't read my post correctly. I didn't suggest that this was proof of god's non-existence. If you go back and read it again, you'll see that I'm suggesting his non-existence as being one explanation of his "absence in Aurora". My logic is perfectly sound, and I challenge you to explain why it is not.

      July 25, 2012 at 4:04 pm |
  7. Laurie

    God was there when his gun jammed....

    July 25, 2012 at 12:21 pm |
    • LinCA

      .... but failed to clear it.

      July 25, 2012 at 12:25 pm |
    • NP

      And God dissappeared right after his gun unjammed.. Do you even listen to what you say! Blind faith leads to nowhere. Be skeptical!

      July 25, 2012 at 12:26 pm |
    • NP

      And God dissappeared right after his gun unjammed.. Come on.. Do you even listen to what you say! Blind faith leads to nowhere. Be skeptical!

      July 25, 2012 at 12:28 pm |
    • ArthurP

      He was also there before the shooting started but did nothing until 12 were dead. What was he waiting for a quota to be filled?

      July 25, 2012 at 12:30 pm |
    • The Asian Atheist

      Actually Ar-15s have a tendency to do that with drum magazines.

      July 25, 2012 at 12:35 pm |
  8. In God We Trust

    If you don't trust then Why there is been written on $ bill "IN GOD WE TRUST"
    He is there and controls all.
    He gives you Birth, Nurture you and finally destroy you.
    We developed Gun, Missile and nuclear weapon then we have to bear for its misuse

    July 25, 2012 at 12:21 pm |
    • joe

      If we are responsible for the damage caused by the guns we create, is god not also responsible for the actions of the free-willed people he created? The fact that he gave them free will was also a choice god should be responsible for, not an excuse to shed responsibility for their actions.

      July 25, 2012 at 12:31 pm |
    • The Asian Atheist

      Yeah that didn't happen till the fifties, and we used money before then. So a silly argument. Try again.

      July 25, 2012 at 12:34 pm |
    • Which God??

      Are you really trying to use that money bit? Stupid, for one thing. Hey, you do know that the Germans had 'Gott Mit Uns' (god is with us), on their belt buckes, right? Why didn't your gawd stop Germany from killing all the that were sent to the camps and into slave labor? Ah God's will, yes? He knew they were going to die so he let it all happen,, as planned. I see it all now. A sado-masochistic gawd.

      July 25, 2012 at 12:43 pm |
  9. cajaw

    LOl.........Well, I must believe that God, The Easter Bunny and Santa Claus were held up in traffic!

    July 25, 2012 at 12:21 pm |
  10. Josh

    God was overloaded with all the prayers he was getting at the time from Penn State football.

    14 dead vs. season tickets. You know how it is.

    July 25, 2012 at 12:21 pm |
  11. rob001

    “My argument against God was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust. But how had I got this idea of just and unjust? A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line. What was I comparing this universe with when I called it unjust?”
    ― C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

    July 25, 2012 at 12:20 pm |
    • @rob0001

      I agree. Only an truly pure and just living soul is capable of compare and past judgement. It is not our business to figure it out and judge. It is our business to acknowledge that we are imperfect and need a higher authority above humans. Because, left to our own judgement, we fail miserably at managing this planet, our lives and everything in existence.

      When we get the fact that we need a Savior, then are we ready for his intervention.

      July 25, 2012 at 12:34 pm |
  12. tracy

    God was where he always has been – existing only in the minds of the ignorant and backwards.

    July 25, 2012 at 12:20 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      tracy, you and folks like you is the reason Jesus had scribed Romans 1:17-32.

      July 25, 2012 at 12:24 pm |
    • EnjaySea

      Jesus had nothing to do with writing the book of Romans. It was written by Paul of Tarsus, one of the hundreds of self-proclaimed prophets of the first century who discovered that concocting a story about receiving a revelation from god could make them bundles of cash.

      July 25, 2012 at 12:29 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Yes and we all know how Paul ended up retiring to an island get away with bundles of cash. Do you even think before you post?

      July 25, 2012 at 12:57 pm |
    • EnjaySea

      Sorry Bill, but you can't bully me into thinking Paul wasn't corrupt. I read all of his letters with my own eyes, and my conclusion is that he was a liar, a con man, and a thief. I'm sorry that you're upset about my opinion, but that's my opinion.

      July 25, 2012 at 1:58 pm |
    • EnjaySea

      Oh, and by the way, Bill, Paul is actually quite frank about his collection of cash from his followers. You might want to read his letters one more time. I didn't make this stuff up. It's in the Bible.

      July 25, 2012 at 4:11 pm |
  13. G.S.Hadley

    So.......Gilgoff, you're clearly a genius. You have figured out how to get a story onto CNN while at the same time only writing 3 lines that actually pitch/transmit an idea. Brilliant. What an example for young writers everywhere. Is this the new way to write a story? All one has to do is ask a vacuous question; forget about asking a bunch of theologians about free will or any other tripe like that. Just hand over the article to that vast sea of fools we call Twitter. Pure genius for sure. Please stop before this type of crap becomes a trend. If you can't think of anything informative to say please do not ask Twitter to write it. I will grant you that is certainly does fill up space. Sort of like carbohydrates.

    July 25, 2012 at 12:18 pm |
  14. Lucy Wilkerson

    When I hear of horrors that man perpetrates upon each other I have to remember that I myself as a parent, have no total control over my children's thoughts, decisions or actions. I spend days putting food on the table, providing a place to live and teaching my kids what is right, what is wrong, testing them on choices and saying the word "No" with conviction and backup for the inevitable "WHY".

    Is God so unlike me? My kids are on their own now. I'm proud for the most part; dissapointed on somethings? Absolutely!!! Why do we blame God for abandoning us? For allowing such evil to prevail? I raised 4 beautiful women, and am raising my grandson. I used to "judge" the mom's with the screaming kids throwing tantrums in a store to such an extent they needed to be carried out. My 3rd daughter proved to me how wrong that was. She was being raised the same as her other siblings yet I became that mom that carried her kid out kicking and screaming...

    God is the creator and we are his people. Bad things happen to really good, honest, hardworking and innocent people everyday. I don't have a picture perfect answer, I know he exists. I know that when I find myself troubled, or so wrought with worry that he is there. Standing ever so silent, but he's there. I am comforted that in my solitute of pain, I'm not alone. He is with all the grievers and mourners of the world, Maybe, like us.. he does not have the right words of comfort to say. Just his presence.

    July 25, 2012 at 12:17 pm |
    • Rundvelt

      Hello Lucy, I'm going to take the time to respond to you. Although I will be dismantling your argument piece by piece.

      > When I hear of horrors that man perpetrates upon each other I have to remember that I myself as a parent, have no total control over my children's thoughts, decisions or actions.

      But God does. You seem to forget that it was God who made mankind. He designed our brains and how we would act. God designed us to be able to commit evil, and therefore God permits evil in the world.

      > I spend days putting food on the table, providing a place to live and teaching my kids what is right, what is wrong, testing them on choices and saying the word "No" with conviction and backup for the inevitable "WHY".

      Except that God doesn't tell us why. Remember the saying "God is mysterious"? Assuming a God exists, we don't know why he/she does what he/she does.

      > Is God so unlike me?

      Yes.

      > My kids are on their own now. I'm proud for the most part; dissapointed on somethings? Absolutely!!! Why do we blame God for abandoning us?

      Because God is the ultimate author and knows all. He has supreme authority. Think of it this way. You're walking down the street and man comes up with intent to murder you. God permits free will (or so is claimed, but I disagree), but there's a conflict. The murderer is going to remove your free will. God has two options here. Protect the free will of the murderer or to protect the free will of you, the individual. Who is more deserving?

      > For allowing such evil to prevail?

      No, for designing such evil to exist in the first place. God is the author of everything. It's silly to say he's not the author of something.

      > I raised 4 beautiful women, and am raising my grandson. I used to "judge" the mom's with the screaming kids throwing tantrums in a store to such an extent they needed to be carried out. My 3rd daughter proved to me how wrong that was.

      God cannot be proven wrong. At least, according to theology.

      > She was being raised the same as her other siblings yet I became that mom that carried her kid out kicking and screaming...

      Nothing to respond to here, just part of the story.

      > God is the creator and we are his people.

      Slight correction. We are his creations.

      > Bad things happen to really good, honest, hardworking and innocent people everyday. I don't have a picture perfect answer, I know he exists.

      No, you believe he exists. Because if you can't show that he exists, your opinion is only as valid as the opinion of a man who says he's napoleon.

      > I know that when I find myself troubled, or so wrought with worry that he is there. Standing ever so silent, but he's there. I am comforted that in my solitute of pain, I'm not alone. He is with all the grievers and mourners of the world, Maybe, like us.. he does not have the right words of comfort to say. Just his presence.

      So, your belief in God is because he makes you feel better when things go wrong. That's not really a testament to his existence, it's only a testament that you need to think something is out there caring for you so that you can intellectually work through the difficult stuff.

      July 25, 2012 at 12:28 pm |
    • Erik B.

      If 'god' is like you and me, then god help us! Who needs him!

      July 25, 2012 at 12:33 pm |
    • NP

      It's so funny when people make an argument in favor of god.. How blinded they are of reality.. we would all love to believe that there is someone whatching over us but new flash there is no one besides us human beings. Believe and love each other and you won't need god.

      July 25, 2012 at 12:36 pm |
  15. Brandon

    God created the world to be in perfect harmony. The sin of the first humans (adam &eve) has created a flawed earth and equally sinful people. God desires a relationship with all. That relationship does not mean your life becomes perfect or without burdens. God made the first intentional step in restoring relationships with people by sending Jesus to die on the cross as payment for our sins. After that, it is up to people to reach out to accept that gift from God. "Believers" and "non-Believers" we're tragically impacted as a result of this disturbed individual. As a country, we "vote" God out of our schools, families and remove him from our personal lives...only to be angered that He didn't "come through" for us the way we wanted him to. There will come a day when evil will be stopped for all eternity. If I'm wrong then my mistake. If you don't agree with me, but you are wrong then the consequences for you are much more severe.

    July 25, 2012 at 12:17 pm |
  16. Dandy

    Some would say that this is God's will..... but I think he was taking a dump.

    July 25, 2012 at 12:16 pm |
    • cajaw

      LOL..........probably diarrhea.............These religious idiots make him sick in his stomach!

      July 25, 2012 at 12:23 pm |
  17. Crotalus

    The believers in the Big Sky God run into a nasty choice when confronted with the concept of a benevolent deity versus the nastiness of life on earth.

    Either this hypothetical benevolent deity is perfectly OK with needless human suffering, or cannot prevent it.

    God–sadist, or wimp?

    July 25, 2012 at 12:16 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      It's because of folks like you written in Romans 1:17-32.

      July 25, 2012 at 12:26 pm |
  18. Paul H

    To all: The Father in Heaven has said: "Be still and know I am God."
    We must remember that "we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against RULERS OF THE DARKNESS OF THIS WORLD, against spiritual wickedness in high places."
    -We live in a physical and spiritual realm. Our enemies are not only in a physical form, but spiritual also, not able to be seen but only felt. Our spiritual enemies do not attack us to do physical harm, but to do emotional and mental harm. They seek to destroy our hope, our love, our happiness and our FAITH. This horrible deed that was done, was not only an attack against people(loved ones, friends, fellow humans) but an attack against the Father in Heaven.
    Why was this, as we say, "allowed to happen?"
    When God gave unto us, his breathe of life, he also gave everyone a conscience and FREE WILL. And those are the very 2 things are spiritual enemies attack. The individual who did this horrible deed allowed his mind and heart to be twisted. Our spiritual enemies created an emmence turmoil and hatred within this individual. This man still has his FREE WILL..He could have collasped and just cried because of his turmoil, or sought out help. But he CHOSE (free will) to turn the turmoil and hatred inwards, creating an unconquerable force. This gave our spiritual enemies the fuel they needed to ignite such a horrible thing. Some will say..then why did God not stop him or help him?? The answer is Free Will. Even though this was such a horrible tragedy, it still would have taken this man's free will from him. God made it clear, when he first created man, that he would not take that from us. And let me just say, that I am not numb to this tragedy. The words I just shared do not take the pain away...because this tragedy is something I myself and so many other people in this world do not understand.
    But this is not something we are meant to understand. Instead we should be there for the families of the loved ones who died and offer a loving hand to the injured.
    In closing I leave you all with these words of our Father in Heaven"
    "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him." Proverbs 3:5

    July 25, 2012 at 12:15 pm |
    • rob001

      Paul,

      Thank you!

      July 25, 2012 at 12:22 pm |
  19. Irish Catholic

    Where was God? Where was someone to save these people?

    Maybe God is who jammed the gun so more rounds were not fired and more people killed or hurt. Maybe the person that was created by God to save them was aborted many years ago. Maybe the person that could have stopped the gunman never took a breath of life due to an abortion.................

    July 25, 2012 at 12:15 pm |
    • cindy

      maybe. and maybe we could spread more catholic guilt around. maybe we could help people to feel worse about their choices than perhaps they do. maybe we can at least set them at odds with themselves. maybe we could feel more self righteous telling others what they should do. maybe we can get so lost in our guilt that we have barely any motivation to do anything other than tell others what they should do. maybe

      July 25, 2012 at 12:23 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Cindy, guilt? Is that what you blame your laziness on now?

      Jesus says it's because of Romans 1:17-32 is what goes on with you.

      July 25, 2012 at 12:28 pm |
    • NP

      LOL.. Do you even listen to what you say! Blind faith leads to nowhere. Be skeptical!

      July 25, 2012 at 12:37 pm |
  20. Bob

    We forget the blessings of God on a country that seeks Him like America used to be. But we have thrown God out of every arena and allowed political correctness to overshadow Gods blessings and providence in this country and we wonder why things like this happen? We want a secular society and we are getting it. We have abortion on demand, the taking down of the 10 Commandments in schools and courts, taking BC/AD out in favor of BC/BCE, we cant say prayers in school and someone asks where was God???? What a bunch of hipacrites we want God to bless what we do that is against Him and His laws and ask why did this happen.
    2Ch 7:14 and My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
    I would rather ask this where are the secular ones that allowed this to happen I would like to see them in jail along with the perpetrator of the crime for they are responsible just as much as the one who did it. They want God out of the nation yet are upset when things like this happen.

    July 25, 2012 at 12:14 pm |
    • EnjaySea

      Yes, Bob, I want a secular society, and if I'm lucky, I'll get it.

      July 25, 2012 at 12:33 pm |
    • The Asian Atheist

      I am upset when these things happen, but I sure as heck want a secular society too. A society based on the golden rule, and mutual understanding and acceptance of one another. That is impossible with religion.

      July 25, 2012 at 12:37 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.