My Take: CNN readers' 7 answers to 'Where was God in Aurora?'
A man pauses at a memorial of crosses near the movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, the scene of last week's mass shooting.
July 26th, 2012
02:49 PM ET

My Take: CNN readers' 7 answers to 'Where was God in Aurora?'

Editor's Note: Stephen Prothero, a Boston University religion scholar and author of "The American Bible: How Our Words Unite, Divide, and Define a Nation," is a regular CNN Belief Blog contributor.

By Stephen Prothero, Special to CNN

Over the last few days, CNN’s Belief Blog has received more than 10,000 responses to its question, “Where was God in Aurora?”

The underlying concern here has vexed theologians for centuries: How can evil happen in a world that is lorded over by a good and all-powerful God? As CNN's readers struggled to make sense of God's presence (or absence) in the Aurora, Colorado, massacre, I counted seven different answers to this question:

1. There is no God.

Self-professed atheists may make up only 2% of the U.S. population, but they are extraordinarily active online, and on CNN's Belief Blog. A commenter who identified as Jason spoke for them when he wrote, “Where was God? He was where he has always been. Nowhere because God does not exist.” Bob Dobbs agreed: “God is imaginary. The question is moot.”

Many in this camp also quoted the ancient Greek philosopher (and skeptic) Epicurus:

Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?
Then he is not omnipotent.
Is he able, but not willing?
Then he is malevolent.
Is he both able and willing?
Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able nor willing?
Then why call him God?

2. Don’t blame God, blame Satan.

Many theists on the site described the world as a battleground between God, who is working for good, and Satan, who is working for evil. “As long as Satan is loose to promote evil, bad things will happen to good people,” wrote kat.

3. Don’t blame God, blame us.

Probably the most common response from Christian commenters was that evil is a result of free will. Do we really want to be “puppets” or “robots"? Of course not. So God has given us the will to choose either evil or good.

Watch: Survivor of massacre says he forgives gunman

Believer summed up this position well:

"It's been said that the only thing we can truly give God is our will because its the only thing we possess that is uniquely ours. Everything else was given to us by him, and is, in effect, not ours to give in the first place. As such, and despite his omnipotence, he cannot intervene. . . .  He only possesses power where power can be possessed - and controlling our actions is not within that realm."

Here Deborah also chimed in: “This act of violence was not God's will. I get so tried of people blaming God for evil acts. Humans of their own free will do evil things.”

4. God was behind the massacre, and it was just.

Some believers saw God’s righteous hand in the Aurora massacre, inflicting a just punishment on a wayward nation now run by secular liberals rather than conservative Christians.

Lenny wrote:

"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?"

Read: The man who made Aurora’s iconic crosses

Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, took a similar tack in an appearance on the Heritage Foundation's "Istook Live" radio show, laying the blame at the feet of a nation that has turned away from its God:

"You know, when people say, where was God in all of this? Well, you know, . . . we’ve threatened high school graduation participants that if they use God’s name that they’re going to be jailed, we had a principal of a school, and a superintendent or a coach down in Florida that were threatened with jail because they said the blessing at a voluntary off campus dinner. I mean, that kind of stuff… where is God? Where, where? What have we done with God? We told him that we don’t want him around. I kind of like his protective hand being present."

5. God was present at the massacre but with the victims, not the perpetrator

One classic claim in the Abrahamic tradition of Jews, Christians and Muslims is that God is with those who suffer - the poor and the oppressed. Some commenters saw God’s miraculous hand in the midst of this suffering, not causing it to happen but bringing it to an end.  “This may sound crazy,” wrote Diana, “but I believe God had a hand in that the gun jammed so that more people weren’t killed.”

CNN’s Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the biggest stories

The most common claim in this category came from peacemaker, who wrote, “God is and was with the victims and s/he is weeping.” In a more explicitly Christian vein, Lauren wrote: “He was there in the theater, pierced by bullets with the victims. He was scarred by the shrapnel. His eyes were scorched with gas and then burned with tears as He mourned alongside the broken.”

6. Which God?

Some commenters interrogated the question itself, arguing that the knots it twists us into are rooted in what commenter Ego_Death called “a false idea of what God is.” After all, the problem of evil in a world ruled by a sovereign and good God only presents itself if you posit one personal God who is both good and all-powerful.

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Referring to "our idea of a human-like personal God" as "an ancient myth," Northstar56 wrote:

"But just because this kind of God does not appear to exist, does not mean that God, in fact, does not exist. I think many have developed a more mature and realistic perspective . . . in which God exists as a pure fundamental consciousness or state from which all of existence arises. This God does not control anything, but rather continues to perpetually emanate as reality . . . God was present in all of the victims, and everyone else. God was present in the killer as well. The tragedy is that the killer's awareness was so distorted and twisted that he could not see or be aware of the intrinsic priceless value of every person he gunned down."

Evoking something more akin to the “watchmaker” God of the deists, who makes the world and its laws and then refuses to intervene in its operation, Norm wrote: “God is not involved in our everyday mundane activities. How arrogant of man to think he’s the center of the universe and has God’s constant attention and every action is ‘God’s will.’”

Taking a different tack, "varun" invoked the teachings of the beloved Hindu scripture the Bhagavad Gita:

"Only the followers of Semitic religions have problem with understanding this - because they do not believe in rebirth and karma. As soon as you introduce these two concepts into (the) picture along with the eternal indestructible soul (something Semitic religions do believe in), everything makes sense. Read Bhagavad-Gita and everything would be as clear as daylight."

7. Who knows? It’s a mystery

Agnosticism is a rare virtue in the United States nowadays, but there were a few commenters who admitted to something less than the absolute certainty exhibited by atheists and evangelicals alike. "The answer," wrote Terry, "is we don't know where he was." Fluffy the Gerbil of Doom saw this "God works in mysterious ways" move as “ultimate cop-out/rationalization,” but I am not so sure.

In September 1862, in the midst of a much greater American tragedy, Abraham Lincoln wrote a private “Meditation on the Divine Will” in which he struggled to make sense of what God was doing in the Civil War. He later reworked those reflections into his second inaugural address, one of the greatest speeches in American history.

Surveying the corpse-ridden landscape of North and South, Lincoln observed, “Both read the same Bible, and pray to the same God; and each invokes His aid against the other.” Clearly there was little good in slavery, he reasoned, yet equally clearly God was not giving a swift and sure victory to the Union. So what was God up to? In the end, Lincoln had to admit he did not know. Or, as he put it, “The Almighty has His own purposes.”

I suppose this is in a sense a “cop-out,” but it is a humble one, uninfected by the absolute certainties (either pro- or anti-God) that have shed more blood on earth than agnosticism ever will. It is also a classic example of answering a question with a question: What is God doing with this war? Who knows?

“Josephpusateri” also answered our question with a question. His comment was in my view the best of the hundreds I read, so I will end with it here:

"Oh, the blindness of such a question... as if only theodicy was a relevant question in white, American suburbs. Where is God in Afghanistan? Where is God in Gaza? Where is God in Syria? . . . Where is God, indeed."

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Stephen Prothero.

- CNN Belief Blog contributor

Filed under: Atheism • Belief • Christianity • Culture wars • Devil • Ethics • God • Violence

soundoff (4,074 Responses)
  1. Ken Frasard

    *** bh chap. 11 p. 108 par. 7 Why Does God Allow Suffering? ***
    The Bible clearly states: “The whole world is lying in the power of the wicked one.” (1 John 5:19) When you think about it, does that not make sense? This world reflects the personality of the invisible spirit creature who is “misleading the entire inhabited earth.” (Revelation 12:9) Satan is hateful, deceptive, and cruel. So the world, under his influence, is full of hatred, deceit, and cruelty. That is one reason why there is so much suffering.

    July 27, 2012 at 11:33 am |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      "When you think about it, does that not make sense?"

      No Ken it doesn't. If there is a god he would be resonsible for everything including Satan.

      July 27, 2012 at 11:38 am |
    • Satan

      I can totally kick God's butt. He's so afraid of me, he hides and lets me do whatever I want. Next week, I'm going to eat at Chick-Fil-A every day. Bigotize me, baby!

      July 27, 2012 at 2:07 pm |
  2. Young Autistic Man

    Unfortunately, there is wickedness, such as the movie massacre, in the world. Where is God in Aurora? I believed God observed the massacre, but did not take part in the massacre. What good come from God, then? I seen the good of God, seeing woman, with lame legs, walk without machinery. I was, at first, skeptical, when I watched the video of her getting off of her wheelchair and then walk in the congregation. Then I heard from the woman's friend about before and afterward.

    July 27, 2012 at 11:18 am |
    • MarkinFL

      You sir are an easy mark.

      July 27, 2012 at 11:22 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      God doesn't think much of disabled people, though He creates them.

      "Then the Lord said to him, “Who has made man's mouth? Who makes him mute, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I, the Lord?" – Exodus 4:11
      “Whosoever he be of thy seed in their generations that hath any blemish, let him not approach to offer the bread of his God. For whatsoever man he be that hath a blemish, he shall not approach: a blind man, or a lame, or he that hath a flat nose, or any thing superfluous, or a man that is broken footed, or broken handed, or crookbackt, or a dwarf, or that hath a blemish in his eye, or be scurvy, or scabbed, or hath his stones broken; no man that hath a blemish of the seed of Aaron the priest shall come nigh to offer the offerings of the Lord made by fire: he hath a blemish; he shall not come nigh to offer the bread of his God. He shall eat the bread of his God, both of the most holy and of the holy, only he shall not go in unto the vail, nor come nigh unto the altar, because he hath a blemish, that he profane not my sanctuaries: for I the Lord do sanctify them.”
      – Leviticus 21: 17-23

      July 27, 2012 at 11:25 am |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      So god will heal woman with bad legs but won't stop children from being shot.

      Visit whywontgodhealamputees.com to understand why.

      July 27, 2012 at 11:30 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      I'm not saying that you're disabled, but the woman you described is (or was).
      On a bit of tangeant – have you heard the latest results of research into the causes of autism?
      There has been a 600% increase in the instsances of autism all through the spectrum, from high functioning individuals like you like those who are uncommunicative and totally withdrawn – especially amongst immigrant population.
      Current studies are pointing to an imbalance in gut bacteria, of all things.
      It seems that a disproportionate number of autism patients were administered large doses of anti-biotics in their early developmental years (often for stubborn ear infections) which hinders the development of a healthy balance of intestinal flora, which in turn has an effect on cognitive development.
      The research is far from conclusive at this point, but it is an interesting theory that is showing more promise than previous hypotheses.

      July 27, 2012 at 1:15 pm |
    • Hugh Jass

      You should see AVATAR! There are these actual huge blue people! I thought it was just makeup but then I saw it myself!

      July 27, 2012 at 2:04 pm |
    • Robert

      doc, you truly are ignorant. Those scriptures are speaking about atheists.

      July 28, 2012 at 1:52 pm |
  3. Rick

    I firmly believe in the doctrine of free will. In my mind there is no lie that the Bible verses every 4 or 5. If we do not own our decisions, then why should one day be judged?
    And if we will be judged, why save us from what Jesus had to come?

    Many people tend to blame God for natural disasters, famine, injustice, presumably because God is in control and / or responsible for everything that happens on earth. This is a mistaken belief. God grant that all happens, does not mean that it is He who causes everything that happens.

    Much of the pain and suffering on earth really I caused by us evil humans and are not even directly the fault of nature, far less from God. The iniquity of us is responsible for much of what we often attribute to God. Much of this pain and suffering could be reduced considerably if we decide to behave differently, using our free will.

    Jesus Saves

    July 27, 2012 at 11:11 am |
    • Moby Schtick

      From Romans 9

      For he says to Moses, x“I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” 16 So then it depends not on human will or exertion,2 but on God, who has mercy. 17 For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, y“For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” 18 So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills.

      19 You will say to me then, “Why does he still find fault? For zwho can resist his will?” 20 But who are you, O man, ato answer back to God? bWill what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?” 21 cHas the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump done vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use? 22 What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience evessels of wrath fprepared for destruction

      July 27, 2012 at 11:14 am |
  4. Betty Bubrig

    We seem to be taking God out of everything – no more prayer in schools, no more displays in government buildings or
    public buildings, etc. Yet when tragedy like this happens, everyone is quick to ask "Where was God?" Maybe the question
    should not be "Where was God with you .... but where are you with God?"

    July 27, 2012 at 11:09 am |
    • MarkinFL

      Or simply, it is the fact that people are getting smart enough to wonder why such a loving god allows some people to do so tragically. That the answers given by religions do not make much sense. This is not so much about the shooting as it is a question of ones faith.

      July 27, 2012 at 11:14 am |
    • MarkinFL

      umm, DIE so tragically.....

      July 27, 2012 at 11:15 am |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      umm, drive down the street, there are churches and church signs everywhere. You are allowed to teach your children any religion you choose. Why do you need religion in gov't, and public buildings? seperation of church and state protects the church AND the state as well as ALL citizens. I donate money to organizations that fight your stupidity.

      July 27, 2012 at 11:35 am |
    • sqeptiq

      The Bible tells the absolutely true story of God because the Bible was dictated by God and that's true because the Bible says so. Reasoning? Logic?

      July 27, 2012 at 1:52 pm |
    • Hogan's Goat

      You know, if I was walking along and I saw someone trapped in a burning building, the very first thing I would do is say to myself "Does that person worship me? Have they given me money, or dedicated their lives to me, or named their firstborn son after me?" If they had done any of these things, I would rescue them, but if not, they would burn to death and I wouldn't care. God's just like me!
      Actually, if I'd been there, I'd be lying dead with six bullets in me, all in the front, and at least five more people would be alive. I have a responsibility to humanity to act, even if it's as a meat shield. I'd have gone for him.

      July 27, 2012 at 2:15 pm |
  5. Frank Castle

    It always AMAZES me when VIOLENT displays by individuals that cause DEATH, INJURY, PHYSICAL & MENTAL are ALWAYS questioned. The NEWS MEDIA wants to KNOW WHY, WE AS a SOCIETY WANT TO KNOW WHY. People start QUESTIONING THEIR FAITH OR WHY GOD would allow something like this to HAPPEN. It has NOTHING TO DO WITH a GOD or any other SUPERNATURAL BEING,DIETY,or the dead BUG on your windshield! The ANSWER is all around US. It is in the MIRROR'S we look into each day. The PLAIN MATTER OF FACT IS: SOCIETY(THE ONE WE ALL LIVE IN) IS TO BLAME FOR THE SOCIIOPATH'S IT CREATES ! This is really IT in a NUTSHELL ! You may CHOOSE to REFUTE this BUT, AFTER careful EXAMINATION, YOU will CONCLUDE that it is NOT a FLAWED CONCLUSION. Consider it....But, remember, the IMAGE looking back at you from the MIRROR doesn't take a holiday....IT is ALWAYS there as a reminder of WHO WE ARE !

    July 27, 2012 at 10:54 am |
  6. Markeeda

    I honestly believe God was trying to penetrate the heart of James Holmes. God loves him and each one of us. We are free moral agents and if we choose to obey the satanic voice of evil we can, unfortunately. I believe that God hurts when we die tragically and before our time.

    July 27, 2012 at 10:49 am |
    • MarkinFL

      God should have used a bullet. THAT would have been the most effective way to penetrate his heart. Apparently Holmes was smarter than god.

      July 27, 2012 at 11:21 am |
    • Hogan's Goat

      Are you saying Holmes was tougher than God? God's getting really old and weak these days.

      July 27, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
  7. Doc Vestibule

    The faithful choose to believe that God's grace is evidenced by the fact that not every bullet was a fatal one.
    The rest of us see nothing supernatural in either a madman's kiling spree or in the weapon's not uncommon mechanical failure.
    10,000 comments, going around in vitriolic circles becuase there can be no logical answer to an emotional argument – and there is no emotion more powerful or stubborn than religious faith.

    July 27, 2012 at 10:46 am |
    • myweightinwords

      Not to mention the emotional response when that faith is questioned, when the hard questions have no reasonable answers and that which they turn to for comfort is no longer comfortable.

      July 27, 2012 at 10:50 am |
    • Young Autistic Man

      Are you say that I am disabled? Autism is not a disablity at all. There are areas of weaknesses, but areas of stengths superior to most men. If point out lame women. Yes she is disable. Look up on Galatians 3, not the Old Testament. All men are inequal under the Law of Moses, but no longer the case under the New Covenant for there is neither woman nor man, neither bond nor free, etc. for all are one in Jesus Christ.

      July 27, 2012 at 12:29 pm |
    • sqeptiq

      What are those "areas of stengths superior to most men"?

      July 27, 2012 at 1:55 pm |
    • Hogan's Goat

      Youngun, I'm an old Aspie myself, and having superior memory and concentration doesn't make up for being bad at social interactions. I see connections no one else can see, and it's a good thing, but it tends to isolate us. I wouldn't change and be a dull normal or 'neurotypical,' but don't kid yourself. We're missing a part somewhere and we compensate the way a blind man gains hearing.

      July 27, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
  8. The Asian Atheist

    A priest approaches a man and asks, "Do you know about the glory and majesty of our lord god?"
    The man responds, "Never heard of him."
    The priest follows up with, "Well belief in him will guarantee eternal bliss, while not believing will ensure eternal torture in hellfire."
    The man then asks, "Well let's say I did not know about god, would I still be tortured forever?"
    The priest thinks a moment and replies, "No, god does not punish those that do not know of him."
    The man then asks, "Well then why did you tell me?"

    July 27, 2012 at 10:43 am |
    • Unknown

      Everyone will hear about Jesus before he returns. God doesn't just send people to hell. Everyone has a choice to make. They can choose to believe or not. It may seem so stupid to you, but if you allowed God to work on your heart and just be open to believing, you would see him work too.

      July 27, 2012 at 10:58 am |
    • The Asian Atheist

      Yes because my life will be meaningless unless I get on my knees and agree that my life is not my own, and that I am not responsible for anything in my life, and great things accomplished in my life are without depth or meaning, because they are all the work of god, and all a part of his plan. Yeah that sounds just peachy.

      July 27, 2012 at 11:01 am |
    • just sayin

      Unknown, yawn.....people like you have been saying the same trash for 2000 years. Party was over a long time ago. Your delusional gay christ is nothing but dust.

      July 27, 2012 at 11:01 am |
    • LinCA


      You said, "Everyone will hear about Jesus before he returns. God doesn't just send people to hell. Everyone has a choice to make. They can choose to believe or not."
      If your god is all-knowing and the creator of everything, he creates billions of people that he knows will go to hell for the "infraction" of not knowing about him, or for using their brain and simply rejecting the nonsense about him. Your god tortures people for an eternity for simply not believing in fairy tales.

      Your god isn't good by any stretch of the imagination. He is a monster, far worse than any mortal could ever be. He makes mass murderers like Stalin, Hitler and the likes look like sissies.

      Worshiping that god of yours is far worse than goose-stepping for Hitler. Even if that monster of a god of yours existed, I would get caught dead worshiping him.

      You said, "It may seem so stupid to you, but if you allowed God to work on your heart and just be open to believing, you would see him work too."
      Yes, it seems completely ridiculous to me. It's the exact same thing as an adult believing in the Tooth Fairy.

      July 27, 2012 at 11:06 am |
    • The Asian Atheist

      Yeah this eternal torture thing is a bit harsh. I don't even think Hitler deserves to be tortured for an eternity. Maybe 500 years or so. Pretty sure he will have learned his lesson by then. That would actually make god the worst kind of genocidal and cruel maniac of them all.

      July 27, 2012 at 11:10 am |
    • MarkinFL

      Ummm, millions of people have died without ever hearing about the JC dude.

      July 27, 2012 at 11:11 am |
    • Dubhly

      actually all the christians i know say you will go to hell even if you havent heard of him. Pretty much either worship me or your screwed kinda thing. All about control anyway, not about being good.
      When i was younger i asked our minister (PHD in theology, and a very good man who did not hold grudges, act bigoted, get angry easily.) if someone who did not accept christ, but was good in every other way would go to hell. the answer was yes they would go to hell. I have since that time asked others and about 95% have agreed with that statement. There are a few who dally about the answer and a couple who said they will go to purgatory and after so long being punished in there will get to go to heaven. Reality of the situation....god does not care if you are good, you can ask for forgiveness on your death bed. The Christian god only wants followers, sheep who obey, ie...power.
      Me, Im good, i even have a problem being bad in video games, but i never bend a knee to the christian god anymore. I refuse to give my life to someone that doesnt care about people, only control.

      July 27, 2012 at 11:18 am |
  9. JC

    For sure not watching a Badman movie! So rephrase the question to as where was satan during the movie?

    July 27, 2012 at 10:42 am |
    • MarkinFL

      Playing pinochle with god and the Easter bunny?

      July 27, 2012 at 10:43 am |
    • sqeptiq

      The secret to salvation is to never go to Batman movies.

      July 27, 2012 at 1:58 pm |
  10. Sydney

    God was there. He has given us free will, and it's what we choose to do with that free will. The shooter has a conscience just like everyone else. That night he chose to go into that theater and end twelve innocent lives, and wound many more. It is not right to blame God for this tragedy.

    July 27, 2012 at 10:41 am |
    • Laudia


      July 27, 2012 at 1:50 pm |
    • sqeptiq

      Do you even begin to comprehend the manifold complexities of mental disease? Or do you believe that is just something evil people use to escape punishment?

      July 27, 2012 at 2:01 pm |
    • Hugh Jass

      "That night he chose to go into that theater and end twelve innocent lives"
      Chose? Dude. he probably thought they were brainsucking aliens from the planet Zabnogg, or teddy bears with knives. You don't really get what "crazy" means, do you?

      July 27, 2012 at 3:27 pm |
  11. Unknown

    We look at people dying as the most horrible thing in the world. God doesn't see it that way. I'm sure heaven is absolutely amazing. Yes we are sad when our loved ones die, but we can know that they are in a better place and we will see them again one day. I feel sorry for people that don't believe that God is real. God is so intimate and loving. He hates seeing our hearts break, but he loves bringing so much good out of it to where He is glorified. It's never about "us". It's always about Him. The shooter chose to shoot people. I pray for him that hopefully one day he will realize that he is forgiven. Sin is sin. We have a loving God that is ready to forgive. I hope and pray that all of the people that don't believe would somehow reach a point in their lives where they will believe. God gives us a peace that passes all understanding, even in the midst of pain.

    July 27, 2012 at 10:40 am |
    • MarkinFL

      Sounds like Opium

      July 27, 2012 at 10:42 am |
    • The Asian Atheist

      Have fun with that. I'll stick to living life and bettering the lives of those I care about. Also, if heaven is so great and you all know that you are going there, why not just off yourselves? Why put off eternal bliss? Oh wait because to prevent mass suicide, the men who wrote the bible had the foresight to realize that damn, some people may just start offing themselves so that they may enter the fairy tale that we have been selling. So they said suicide is a sin. How convenient.

      July 27, 2012 at 11:05 am |
    • Hugh Jass

      Religion is the opium of the masses, but on some people it acts more like PCP.

      July 27, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
  12. Celia Velez

    Where was God in Aurora? He was and is watching MAN destroy the beautiful and wonderful world HE so lovingly gave us. MAN is responsible, NOT GOD. Non-christians blame God for everything bad that happens in this world.

    July 27, 2012 at 10:39 am |
    • Drinky Crow

      Let me guess, you failed logic class? The non believer does not blame god for the bad things in the world because we don't believe in god.

      July 27, 2012 at 10:41 am |
    • MarkinFL

      And Christians give him credit for all the good that man does.

      July 27, 2012 at 10:41 am |
    • MarkinFL

      Drinky, I figured the logical response was WAY beyond the OP.

      July 27, 2012 at 10:45 am |
    • Bible Clown©

      What? You mean He was having a Holy Temper Tantrum? Get Him the Holy Pacifier and the sacred Rusk of Ages.

      July 27, 2012 at 3:30 pm |
  13. Donna

    Some guy told me to grow up and open my heart and eyes to the possiblity and believe. I explained my eyes and heart are open and just because I don't believe in god, doesn't make me a bad person. I did grow up, that's why I don't believe in imaginary friends anymore either. He insulted me by saying I am not intelligent because there was no such thing as the big bang theory and thats when he told me to grow up, etc. I thought his attack on me was very unchristianlike. But then again, I see too many people using the bible as a weapon, people killing in the name of the bible. People hating in the name of god and using the bible as the law when it is just a book of fiction. I have never seen more hatred, bigotry and hypocracy than in the name of god. People try to use their christianity as proof they are good people. Well, I don't believe in god or the bible but I dont' have to in order to be a decent person.

    July 27, 2012 at 10:37 am |
    • The Asian Atheist

      Good stuff Donna

      July 27, 2012 at 10:39 am |
    • Drinky Crow

      Yeah but, according to the christians, you are still going to burn in a lake of fire for all of eternity because you don't believe in their god. Good post though.

      July 27, 2012 at 10:42 am |
    • Bible Clown©

      When van Leeuwenhoek invented the microscope, he was amazed by the revelation of what seemed to be infinite and recursive complication in God's world, and he was blessed for showing Man what we had never known was there before. Modern Christians would just say "It's a hoax" and "ain't no micro-scopic critters in MY God's world" and "let's kill him." What happened to you guys? You used to be great.

      July 27, 2012 at 3:33 pm |
  14. marco

    George Zimmerman said "It was gods plan" that Travon Martin died that night. He was ridiculed by Travon's family and others. Now its gods plan that people die in a movie theater?...please.... Be consistent Christians. You cant have it both ways.

    July 27, 2012 at 10:37 am |
  15. mslisac363

    another waste of time. this is so stupid... God is not someone who walks around and prevent people from doing things like this... If you read the bible it tell us how we should live. God's son "Jesus" was killed. If we could live according to the bible this world would be so much better. Doesn't matter if you think God is real, or have no type of faith, but you don't have to live like your're crazy, killing others, and no respect for anyone not to exclude yourself. So many people live as if they think the world is all about themselves. If you read the bible you will see that we are in times very bad things are going to happen and the lord will cleanse the earth once again. Think the way you wish, but do remember the world to day as we see it is in the bible.

    July 27, 2012 at 10:36 am |
    • MarkinFL

      You mean much better than any time in the past? We live longer, healthier lives than in any time in human history. We face far fewer daily dangers and get to enjoy the modern miracles of science. I guess Armageddon will have to wait.

      July 27, 2012 at 10:40 am |
  16. Terry

    Before you are born God knows when you are going die and how you are going to die. God knows how many people are on this
    planet and how many people will be annionted to his kingdom and how many will join satan. JESUS CHRIST OUR LORD AND
    SAVIOR will give you the power to endure all the bad things that happens in your life. If you obey Gods laws through JESUS
    CHRIST. If you accept JESUS CHRIST as your lord and savior and repent then you can have forgiveness in your heart for those
    who have tresspassed against you and nobody can hurt you mentally or spiritally. We are living in the times of revealations. If you
    are a believer read your bible. You need to obey Gods laws not man made laws.

    July 27, 2012 at 10:34 am |
    • LinCA


      You said, "You need to obey Gods laws not man made laws"
      You have been reported to the proper authorities (no, your god isn't) for instigating anarchy. Your IP address traces back to your physical location. You should expect a knock on your door soon.

      July 27, 2012 at 10:40 am |
    • Madtown

      You sure about all that?

      July 27, 2012 at 10:44 am |
    • JWT

      Overall I would rather be a moral person and obey man's laws.

      July 27, 2012 at 10:48 am |
    • MarkinFL

      If God already knows what I am going to do, I clearly do not have any say in the matter. My choices were made before I or my ancestors were born.
      Pre-knowledge requires pre-determination which precludes free-will. Those are mutually exclusive scenarios.

      July 27, 2012 at 11:09 am |
    • Hugh Jass

      " You need to obey Gods laws not man made laws." Cool, I'm going to slay my neighbor and take his wife as mine. Then I'll sacrifice a bulldog to Jehovah. Gimme that old time religion, it's good enough for me.

      July 27, 2012 at 4:02 pm |
  17. sqeptiq

    Did anyone notice that answer number 6 appears to be straight from Star Wars. There was a disturbance of the Force on Friday. Northstar56 is Obi-wan Kenobi.

    July 27, 2012 at 10:33 am |
  18. Dorothy

    We live in a fallen world. If God were in complete control, our life here on Earth would be Heaven. People choose (free will) to do evil things, sometimes those things are thwarted, but irregardless, God intervenes in situations in miraculous ways in the midst of it all.

    July 27, 2012 at 10:33 am |
    • sqeptiq

      "Irregardless" is not a word; it's a redundancy.

      July 27, 2012 at 10:34 am |
    • Dorothy

      Haha, so it is. Thank you.

      July 27, 2012 at 10:44 am |
    • MarkinFL

      Why would he intervene? Can we really call something evil if it furthers god's will?

      July 27, 2012 at 10:46 am |
    • Dorothy

      I think we can safely call the massacre of many to be considered "evil".

      July 27, 2012 at 10:49 am |
    • MarkinFL

      Then why did god not intervene? Was there a purpose in allowing it to happen or does he just like to watch? If there was a godly purpose to letting it happen then it is not really evil is it? Or is god evil?

      July 27, 2012 at 11:18 am |
  19. Dubbs

    To me it's evidently clear. Why is it that when something like this tragedy happens that we push God into the forefront and ask the question of where He is. He hasn't left His position or location as always. He's right there next to us calling us to Him. As a country, we are so ready to talk about the freedoms we should have from God, the ability to NOT have God in our schools to teach our children, or in our jobs, homes, or on our national monuments, or just for the most part in our lives. We as a country don't believe the Ten Commandments should even be considered any longer and believe that they shouldn't be taught to children or anyone and that people should follow some moral universalistic sense of good when it isn't in people to be good or better yet, morally right in the first place. Has anyone ever considered where the foundations of morals come from? This Aurora tragedy is so unfortunate because these people just didn't need to die in going out to watch a movie. Just some guy who decided to plan out an attack for whatever reason and to inflict pain on a community by murdering people, for no reason. And if you look around in the news, this is happening in many places. Kids, adults, men, women, it doesn't matter. We have no right to question where God is when He is sitting right there calling out to us to follow Him and look to Him for guidance. We just push Him away from every part of our lives and social strata and then make our decision to not listen. So to question where God is pretty simple; He's right there waiting for us to turn to Him.

    July 27, 2012 at 10:33 am |
    • sqeptiq

      So, your belief is that God punishes the righteous believers along with those who have turned away from him, just because they happen to be near each other? God is either an aggressive tantrum-throwing three year old or has terrible aim.

      July 27, 2012 at 10:41 am |
    • Rick

      Amen Brother!

      July 27, 2012 at 11:13 am |
  20. Maya

    "Free will" is the MOST bogus argument to explain the existence of evil that ever existed. It does absolutely nothing to refute the assertions of those who ask why God allows evil. It is simply a non-answer parroted by those religious people who have the critical thinking skills of the common house fly. Seriously, if someone killed your spouse or child and you asked them why they did it, and they said to you "because I could," would you accept that as a rational answer?

    Okay, let's assume that evil exists as a result of free will. In the Judeo-Christian worldview, who created free will? God created free will. Did God know of the evil humans would choose to perpetrate if given free will. Well, if he was omniscient, he would have to. Therefore, the only logical conclusion is that he knew his creation of free will would cause evil, yet he did it anyway. In criminal law, there is something called "mens rea" ("guilty mind" in Latin). Basically, it refers to the knowledge and intent of the perpetrator of a given act. Every crime requires a certain mens rea because we have decided as a society that only individuals who are morally culpable for their actions should be punished. The Model Penal Code has set out rather nicely "levels"of mens rea. The "highest" level of mens rea is "purposely" (in adverb form because adverbs are normally used in this manner in statutory law). It means, in a nutshell, that the actor committed the act with the "conscious object" to commit the crime of which he is accused. The second highest level of mens rea is "knowingly." Now this is where, for our purposes, things get interesting. To commit a crime "knowingly" means that the actor engages in conduct with the practically certain knowledge that said conduct will lead to a particular (criminal) result. If we accept the premises that free will causes evil and God created free will with certain knowledge, it necessarily follows that he acted "knowingly." According to the Model Penal Code (and in one way or another, the criminal codes of many states) causing the death of another human being either purposely or knowingly. The very mens rea which is required to convict a person of murder is the same mens rea God possessed when he created free will. With all this in mind, the ONLY logical conclusion is that we should consider God culpable for the existence of evil.

    July 27, 2012 at 10:32 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.