July 28th, 2012
10:00 PM ET
My Take: This is where God was in Aurora
Editor’s note: Rob Brendle is the founding pastor of Denver United Church, a former associate pastor at New Life Church in Colorado Springs, and the author of "In the Meantime: The Practice of Proactive Waiting."
By Rob Brendle, Special to CNN
I held her hand as she died.
Her family had come to a church where I was pastoring that morning, a routine Sunday. A thousand things would never have crossed their minds as they drove through Colorado Springs toward New Life Church’s enormous concrete worship center - including the prospect of being assaulted in their minivan by a young man with a high-powered rifle.
Later that day, we were all at a local hospital. The girl whose hand I held, Rachel, had already lost a sister at the scene. Her father was down the hall in critical condition and her mother was coming undone in the waiting room, but she didn’t know any of it. Rachel lay unconscious for a couple of hours more in the ICU.
And then she died. Her family had come to church together that morning, and by nightfall they were shattered.
That was almost five years ago.
The movie theater shooting in Aurora, Colorado shook me and the rest of the nation. Reading about the young and unsuspecting victims took me back to the dying girl in the ICU who had come to my church that day in 2007, in a an incident that left the two girls dead and injured several others. Back to the Columbine massacre a decade earlier that horrified the world and traumatized Colorado. And back to the aching questions that accompanied those previous incidents: Why did this happen? Where was God in all of it? How could a loving God allow this?
Where was God in Aurora? 7 responses
We pastors face the unenviable task of being asked to answer for God. Most people ask the big questions in times of irresolution, times when satisfying answers are scarce.
Let’s be clear: there are no easy answers to the deepest questions of suffering. Libraries overflow with the volumes that have been written to address these questions. Centuries of philosophers, pundits and preachers have reflected on the existence of evil, the meaning of pain and the role of God in suffering.
I won’t begin to recount all of their ruminations here. But here’s what I think.
God is the author of life and the originator of good. He distinguished humankind from among his creation with faculties like reason, emotion, dexterity and choice. Scripture teaches that God made people in his image. Set apart from all the rest of his creatures, we were endowed with the capacity to know our Creator and ennobled with the ability to choose him. So singularly did God love humans that he gave us this ultimate gift.
Aurora survivor to alleged shooter: ‘I forgive you’
The capacity to choose God and goodness came with the commensurate ability to choose evil. Is it loving to force his creation to follow his order, or to teach it and leave the creature to choose? It would seem that God came to the same conclusion that America’s founders did many millennia later: compulsory virtue is no virtue at all.
But Scripture also teaches that God is totally in control. He is all-powerful and all-knowing and he is willing and able to intervene in human events. So there is a gap between human choice and divine foreknowledge, a gap that transcends understanding and that helps define God in my mind.
The debate over this theological tension has persisted for centuries, and I don’t aim to settle it here. Let me suggest simply that God, in his sovereignty, has chosen to make our decisions meaningful. Consequently, much of what happens on earth neither conforms to nor results from his preference. There are at least four influences on human events: God’s will, to be sure; but also the will of Satan, our adversary; peoples’ choices, for better or for worse; and natural law (gravity, collision, combustion, and the like).
It is difficult to know which force causes the circumstances that devastate us. But it is enough to know that God need not be responsible for them.
The man who made the Aurora crosses
Much of the internal gridlock around tragedy is because suffering is foreign to us. This foreignness is peculiarly Western and modern. Most of the world, for most of the world’s history, has known tragedy and trauma in abundance.
You don’t get nearly the same consternation in Burundi or Burma, because suffering is normal to them. God and hard times coexist intuitively there. For us, though, God has become Anesthetist-in-Chief. To believe in him is to be excused from bad things. He is our panacea for the woes of life.
The God of the Bible promises no exemption from suffering. In fact, he all but promises suffering. He does not suggest that his followers won’t go through fire, but rather that we won’t burn up. Mostly he promises to be there with us, to comfort and encourage us and renew our strength. God grieves with us, and he grows us into good people in the process.
CNN’s Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the biggest stories
Where was God in Aurora? He was on the lawn in front of the Civic Building as thousands gathered in solidarity, hope, and love at a packed prayer vigil last Sunday. He was in University Hospital as neurosurgeons groped for synonyms for miraculous.
He was in the outpouring of compassion at a victim’s funeral and in the passionate call for unity from a resolute councilwoman and at the bedside vigil of a wounded victim’s church community. Redemption has only begun in Aurora, and already God is everywhere. Their will be beauty once this story is written that overshadows and transcends the ashes.
Jesus started his ministry by declaring, “I am the light of the world,” and ended it with “you are the light of the world.”
What God our cities will see is what we show them. From the beginning, light has shone in the darkness - he ordered it that way. And the deeper the darkness, the brighter the light will appear. Where is God in Aurora? He is shining brightly from the hearts of his people.
The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Rob Brendle.
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.
If people are going to put religion out there as a basis for what is happening in the world, then ANY part of religion is up for criticism just like anything else. If you don't want your religion criticized KEEP IT TO YOURSELF!
sure.. even I know you do the same to bash others for they believe in God too.. what ya talking about!? I believe in God and if I witness you, and you CAN say no to me very simple, and we can walk away peaceful.. but nope.. most of atheist/agnostic keeps bashing Christians to make yourself feel good.. it is what calls them disrespect you can keep your mouth to yourself too.. what is the difference, eh?
"Let’s be clear: there are no easy answers to the deepest questions of suffering. "
Let's be clear. There is no evidence that God exist. Let's not waste resources on looking for divine interventions and explanations, and start thinking about gun control and understanding mental illnesses.
Why? It is so much more fun to pontificate on stone age bible stories that tell us why this and the other tragedies happen in this country.
Plus, we need the herd thinned.
Ah, yes. When confronted with the difficult dilemma of the existence of evil, the faithful always bring out their pet theory: Free Will. A pet theory that directly contradicts the core concept of God's supposed omniscience....
1) Either God IS omniscient (all-knowing) as the Bible suggests, meaning that free will cannot exist as all of our actions are predestined.
2) Even God is fallible and does not know how things will turn out, so we do have true free will and the freedom to determine our future.
Both are mutually exclusive conditions that cannot both be true at once, since the concept of free will directly contradicts the concept of God's omniscience.
Beautiful logic elegantly stated. Unfortunately, too many believers in god will not understand words like "fallacy" or "mutually exclusive". Their own ignorance of the words' meanings keeps them from further enlightenment. That's not to say we shouldn't keep trying, though.
kneon.. perhaps vice versa to you as ignorant as well.. what makes it difference by us?
There is no GOD. this is proof just like the starving in Africa.
Or it could prove that he is evil.
ever you know what a famine is? it is one of 4 horsemen.. also in Africa, most countries are out of control /corrupted/lack of responsibility is what they suffer
I find it funny how so many people in these forums talk about God with absolute certainty and at the same time, with a smug dismissal of the opposition's beliefs. Like they have all the answers and you're an idiot for not believing in what BS they're shoveling.
Get a grip guys, as a race, we don't fully understand gravity, what makes any of you think that you've truly got it all figured out?
There could be an infinite amount of orders of existence above ours and we would never know about them. If you were truly open minded, you wouldn't be trying to use science to disprove God OR you wouldn't be trying to use the Bible to prove God. You would accept that we will never truly understand ALL of the intricate workings of our existence and that we don't have any real control in this existence.
We are travelers hurtling through space on our way to wherever. Stop arguing and start loving each other.
Actually, as a race, we DO understand gravity fully.
Gravity is entropy
Gravity is well understood. The near certainty of the existence of other life forms is well understood. The universe isn't 5,000 years old can be proven with certainty, and women didn't grow out of a rib bone of a man.
Stop smoking weeds.
Ha, this make so much sense. You're here looking for semantic arguments. Ok, I'll bite. So you're telling me that there are no unknowns what-so-ever when it comes to gravity? Not one? That's how I take it when you say that we understand gravity FULLY. You're also saying that there aren't any properties of gravity that we aren't already aware of. That to me is a little arrogant.
There may be a god but yes, I am next to certian your god does not exist.
"Well understood" does not equal "no unknowns". He said the fact the earth is older that 5,000 years is "certain".
@No Truth, Just Claims
How do you know I believe in a God? I made no claims in either direction. I was simply stating that it's arrogant of us to act like authorities on the unknown when I'm almost positive that we have no idea what's really going on as a race. Take care!
Hey why are you dumping on Doug – take his meaning, and don't worry about the semantics of how well we understand gravity.
He's saying we as humans have no faculty for understanding if there is/is not a god. Its a bit like trying to teach calculus to an ant. I kinda agree – all those here who believe in a god are, by definition, making stuff up. There could be a god, who knows? What is certain is that if there is a god, it has no intention of stopping mad men conducting crimes such as happened at Aurora. It is also pretty certain that if there is a god, it does not listen to prayer, or intercede in human affairs.
Because Doug here is what you wrote back on page 51 that I responded to.
"Thanks for the thoughtful article. I have some differences with your conclusions at some points but concur for the most part. I would also add one more point: God was also in the back alley as the gunman opened the door and opened fire. He is sovereign. He is God and He owes us no explanations. Job got it right. he worshipped and acknowledged, 'blessed be the Name of the Lord.'"
So are you saying your belief is up to debate or just you honesty?
Different Doug, I understand the mix-up. My original post above was my first today. Have a good one 🙂
So it's your honesty then...
@No Truth, Just Claims
Listen man, I don't know what you want from me. I am named Doug but I'm not the same Doug that you have some quarrel with in some random post 50 pages ago. It is possible that more than one person could use 'Doug' as a handle. What I wrote above and within these replies are my only messages on this forum and I stand by them.
I won't be replying to any more of your messages because I'm beginning to feel like I'm arguing with an armchair intellect and that starts to look bad on me. You understand right?
When it comes out that Holmes suffers with schizophrenia what is the answer then? His "free will" is non-existant when dealing with a brain disorder that he had no control over. Where is God when a mentally ill person does the unthinkable? What does it say about us that we don't work harder to help those with brain anomolies that can cause great suffering to the patient as well as the general public. Holmes was being seen by a psychiatrist for an undisclosed reason. The psychiatrist is an expert in schizophrenia. Schizophrenia is something that just happens to you. Not a bad childhood, not doing drugs, not any of the easy answers why. Schizophrenia is a brain disorder and as such God made him that way. Holmes and all the rest of us could not prevent schizophrenia. I have no answers but the question posed here is the wrong question. Free will has nothing to do with mental disorders.
That was really nice. Thank you. Stalin used to say stuff like that on the radio every week – about how if every atom could be measured, every future action would be known and that people can't be held responsible for their actions (his was killing his own people). Needless to say, Stalin was known to be a mouth breather in comparison to his predecessor.
Now back to the real world where that crap doesn't matter.
A lot of philosophers think free will is an outdated concept anyway. That is not to say we are not responsible for our actions.
What I understand is that his only chance here is a plea of insanity although given the meticulous planning, that might not go over. They did announce today that he is facing 24 varying murder charges (2 different types), 1 of illegal possession of explosives (would have thought it to be more) and 116 of attempted murder...either way this goes the man will more than likely never walk free again.
At no time did I say Holmes is not responsible for his actions. He should be locked up for the rest of his life. My comment is in response to where was God in Aurora. My question is where is God when people are afflicted with a brain disorder and do the unthinkable. There is no free will in getting a mental disorder. No one choses it it is put upon them. What God does that to people?
JESSUP, you shouldn't have posted anything instead of just barfing up whatever you were thinking of when you read the OP. What does Stalin have to do with the fact that free will is not a consideration when it comes to a diagnosable condition?
You are all very hurtful. I don't think any of you will enter the kingdom of heaven based on how you treat one of the people that will definitely do so. Also, it isn't probable that you will enter due to the fact that only 143,999 other people will join me. That means that only about 1.44 * 10^-4 of the people that have ever lived will go to heaven.
Jessup: You spew hate filled words and then cry foul when you are called on it. As I stated below you might want to check yourself because your own words wil damn you in the eyes of your savior. I don't usually bother myself with people's proclomation of getting into heaven even when they are speaking evil to others, judging where they are not allowed to do so, and willfully refusing to follow Jesus' two commandments to love God and love each other as that contains the whole of the law, BUT I will make an exception here. You are going to be woefully disappointed when you get to the pearly gates and are denied entry based wholy upon your self-rightous and hate filled words against your neighbors. Yo are deluded if you believe you could even be considered as one of the elect.
Your comment is based on the notion that God caused the illness.
He did not.
He gave mankind a perfect world and they chose to rebel rather live in the safety of that world.
Sin brought disease and the use of chemicals. One or both of those cause the illnesses humans endure. I personally suspect mental illnesses are cause by chemical imbalances in the brain brought on by all the crappy chemicals that "make our lives better".
I don't agree with people who suggest God controls every little event. That would interfere with free will.
In the story of Job, there is a good example of the conflict between God and satan. That clearly explains that illness, afflictions, natural disaster, etc., do come NOT from God.
And my bible does NOT contradict itself. Many times I have been shown that the problem is simply the imperfect understanding of the bible by imperfect people.
Jessup: Honestly, none of us would want to be where you're going....oh wait, you're going no further than any of us...the ground is it and you're a gullible fool if you think otherwise. You're not one of those 144, 000...cause even if you could prove your imaginary friend god exists you are a hateful person who your imaginary friend god dislikes and sends to his imaginary arch enemy satan...try using some morals when speaking to others little boy!
Where was God? He wasn't with all those atheists watching a pagan film. That's for sure. They all got a first class ticket to hell as far as I'm concerned.
Good thing your hateful opinion doesn't matter.
Wow, way to be a true Christian. If you are going to be in heaven then I am pretty sure I don't want to be there. Hopefully you are just a troll and not a representative of Christianity, because you are a cold hearted ass.
Atheists don't believe in hell freaktard, so no they went to the exact place you'll go...the earth, no further. You must be so proud of yourself...judging others when your imaginary friend god specifically tells you not to...now since it is your imaginary friend and you believe so heavily in the imaginary place called hell, you can enjoy it. The rest of us will live wonderful lives in accordance with the only life we are ever guaranteed of.
you are a dick!
Notice how some 'christians' absolutely gush over the idea of other people suffering in hell for eternity, when I know the idea of eternal punishment is such a brutal concept that I could not enjoy heaven knowing other people are suffering for the sin of "unbelief" or some other nonsense. I would not want my worst enemy treated that way and some christians relish the idea.
Pretty sure batman is a science fiction character and hardly a pagan film. Sounds like you are a religious nutball giving us Christians a bad name.
Oh so now movies are the problem! There are plenty of individuals shot NOT watching a movie. Until THE PEOPLE get serious about gun control, IT WILL HAPPEN AGAIN.
There are no gods or goddesses, demons or devils, ghosts or goblins. Religion was invented by man to control the masses.
Let's see if you keep saying that as you are burning in the fires of hades.
@Jessup Hades is from Greek mythology. I think that makes you a heathen.
You are a sadist.
Wow Jessup, you really are a moron.
And I don't use that term lightly.
I don't know if this broken species and world will destroy itself, but I know that Jesus, my redeemer lives and will stand for me in my day of trouble. i think it's funny that Galileo and Copernicus were threatened by the church and now, scientists who report that we are at our limits in comprehending the universe and every sign of intelligent design are ostracized by University presidents and other school authorities. Evolution is a great idea, but not a theory yet. still, I understand when trying to talk to human beings...you must speak to their level. as for mockers and scoffers....you'll be surprised. lol
The most upsetting/frustrating/saddening thing about this article is that the pastor (who admittedly seems not have bad intentions) is claiming that God was present only during the good things that happened. God provided the "solidarity, hope, and love" after the shooting. The pastor also believes that He supervised miraculous medical procedures. Well, where was He during the shooting? Is the solidarity, hope, and love experienced after the shooting worth 12 dead and 58 injured?
Another mind-boggling comment made by the pastor was that Satan's will influences human events. Religious people sometimes argue that bad things happen because God is giving humans free will- that God is omnipotent, but does not use His power to control human actions out of kindness for humanity. Does He also extend this kindness to the devil? Why would God not use His omnipotence to get rid of Satan and his will? I think that everyone who believes in Satan agrees that he is not a human and is not well-intentioned. Why does he have to influence human lives if God has the ability to destroy him? Does He NOT have the ability to destroy him? Do they have equal power or something? This is something I truly do not understand.
Christians, I hope you can see that I'm trying to be respectful. I would just like to ask you to analyze your position as thoroughly as you can.
It seems according to this brilliant theologian, God was to be found everywhere in this tragedy, except, of course, between the killer and his victims. Some people said they saw a miracle in the killer's rifle jamming after thirty rounds. Would it still have been a miracle if it jammed after forty? How about twenty? I know, I know, mysterious ways...don't mock God or you'll suffer even more...
How am I going to suffer even more? I'm only going to die once. So I really can't suffer even more.
.... and for that matter, where was Santa Claus in Aurora?
He and god went to the Easter bunny's house for a birthday party for the Loch Ness monster.
And they rode their fluffy pink unicorns and met up with Cinderella and Harry Potter and the Wicked Witch and the Tin Man were also there....oh yeah and Puss In Boots came along to chase the evasive red light and do a jig. They rocked on to Cyndi Lauper and ate from the chocolate marshmallow fountain.
This shouldn't be a time where the country fights over whose right; and where was God, this is a time we should all be coming together to provided love and support for the victims and their families! The Lord promises that bad things will happen to believers and non believers .. But get off your high horse, and stop fighting and assuming (your way is the right way) and offer support, offer love, a kind word!! It isn't hard! By all means its what we all could use, ESP after a tragedy has came banging on our back door!
It was more like a side door it came thru.
And don't worry, the religious amoung us are comming together, in the gun shop to buy even more guns to prove how much the love god.
We all could use ESP, winning lottery numbers, new car etc.. etc.. Not much thought there!
From the Atheist point of view Augustine pretty much sums it up:
“Either God is not able to abolish evil or not willing; if he is not able then he is not all-powerful; if he is not willing then he is not all-good.
To take it further
God is not omnipotent; or
God is not omnibenevolent; or
Evil does not exist.
Each of these possibilities solves the problem of evil, but none are orthodox. Since we have sufficient direct experience to support the existence of evil, if God exists he is either an impotent God or a malicious God — not the God of classical theism. Or God does not exist.
Or does not care.
But don't try using logic or reason with a fundie. Even though science has improved their lives one hundred fold more then religion has, they will blindly keep believing in their magic man in the sky, regardless of how many "evil" things happen in their lives.
Few 100% true Reasons why Atheism is TERRIBLE and unhealthy for our children and living things:
† Atheism is a religion that makes you angry, stupid, brainwashed, ignorant & blind.
† Atheism is a disease that needs to be treated.
† Atheism makes you post stupid things (90% of silly comments here on CNN blogs are posted by closet atheists)
† Atheist are satanic and have gothic lifestyle.
† Atheists are misguided and causes problem in our religious & public society.
† Atheists are mentally ill, that's why they have no faith.
† Atheism won't take you to kingdom of heaven and paradise.
† Atheism making you agree with Mussolini, Stalin, Hitler (denied his faith later), Mao, Pol Pot & other terrible mass murder leaders who killed religious people because of their religious cult!
† No traditional family lifestyle, no holidays, no culture, boring and feeling 'outsider'
† Atheists are angry, drug additcted and committ the most crime.
† Atheist try to convert people over internet because they feel "safer" behind closet.
† Atheists do not really exist, they just pretend that they don't believe in God and argue with religious people.
† Atheists have had terrible life experience, bad childhood and not being loved.
† Most atheists are uneducated... No atheists could run for presidency.
† Atheism brought upon the French Revolution, one of the most evil events of all of history.
† Atheism cannot explain the origins of the universe, therefore God exists.
† All atheists believe in evolution, which means they don't believe in morality and think we should all act like animals.
† The Bible says atheism is wrong, and the Bible is always right (see: Genesis 1:1, Psalms 14:1, Psalms 19:1, Romans 1:19-20)
† Countries where Atheism is prevalent has the highest Suicide rate & Communist countries = Atheism!
**Only 2-3% of the U.S. are atheists/agnostics VS. over 90% who believe in God (80% Christians) in the U.S.**
† † Our Prayers goes to atheists to be mentally healthy and seek their creator † †
PS! the USA is a † nation and will always be. You know it's true and stop being ignorant and arrogant!
(Take a look at our federal/state holidays, 99% of our presidents, blue laws in parts of the nation, the majority of people, some laws, calendar, culture, etc.)..
This may be about the stupidest thing I have read all day. Kudos!
Ouch, reading such drivel makes my brain hurt.
You and the other fools who believe in a fairy tale are the angry ones.
And you don't even understand the word atheism.
It means devoid of religion.
We believe in what is provable by concrete facts, not stone age dogma from a magic book of spells.
The rest of what you posted is drivel.
Wow TX...all of that applies to Theism, none to Atheism... you need mental health help quickly!! When you can back what you are saying with one shred of evidence based on the scientific method, you may be considered normal but until then you're a mentally challenged person in need of good psychiatric care. You're potentially as dangerous as the Aurora Monster!
Btw: The USA is a secular nation, not a christard nation...you need to locate a dictionary (a big book with the meanings of various words in it) and look up the definition of theocracy to understand that. In God We Trust was not put on you money until 1954...almost 200 years after the constitution was signed...that included freedom of and from religion and separation of church and state....thus making the USA a secular nation.
Hey TX, how 'bout you google "10 reasons beer is better than Christ" might make ya see the light...
The reality is that no god interfered in this mad, horrific, incident, because there is no god – at least no god in the christian sense.
Thats another thing dude, where did you learn your logic skill from?
Just because we don't yet have the evidence of how the universe was created, does not mean god exists.
Thoughout history religion has been drawing lines in the sand that science has just obliterated. You and your ilk are being pushed further and further into a corner.
Which scares me even more, because you religious types have guns and will kill to show us how much you follow jesus.
and apparently being a Christian makes you a hate filled jerk who willfully refuses to follow the lead of your own Messiah. Jesus would be ashamed of you. Remember, he will know you by your works and many will come to the door believing they will be let in and be denied entry based on how they behaved. You don't get to say I believe in Jesus and then act like a hater. Jesus is all about love. Loving God and each other as he loved you. Worry about your own soul and leave the athiest alone. They are not hurting you and your words show your true heart.
The saddest part? Somebody actually took the time to write this pile of rubbish into written form. And this rubbish amounts to little more than "I am right and you are wrong".
Yo TX, Why do religious people get upset about Atheism? Just make sure YOU believe what you believe. If religious individuals stopped worrying about what everyone else was saying or thinking about religion, maybe more would follow it. Bottom line. G-od has to use common sense or he/she is just like the rest of us.
Maybe God was too busy answering Tim Tebow's prayers for a good game.
Maybe god should give Tebow a better arm as he is about to be cut from the Jets.
Jets aren't cutting him. They'll look like fools for trading for him.
This has nothing to do with god, whatsoever. This was just another bad MAN doing bad things to good people. They guy should have been shot on the spot. Why waste all of this money to imprison this loser.
Because we live in a civilizied society that believes in due process and a fair trial.
At least for the time being anyway. Not sure we will have this once the fundies get complete control.
1."God is, or He is not"
2.A Game is being played... where heads or tails will turn up.
3.According to reason, you can defend either of the propositions.
4.You must wager. (It's not optional.)
5.Let us weigh the gain and the loss in wagering that God is. Let us estimate these two chances. If you gain, you gain all; if you lose, you lose nothing.
6.Wager, then, without hesitation that He is. (...) There is here an infinity of an infinitely happy life to gain, a chance of gain against a finite number of chances of loss, and what you stake is finite. And so our proposition is of infinite force, when there is the finite to stake in a game where there are equal risks of gain and of loss, and the infinite to gain."
I chose to bet on reason and not waste my time believing in fairy tales.
Jon, M is simply pointing out that many believers will use the argument that it's wiser to believe and be wrong than to not believe and be wrong. This is a logical fallacy because the outcomes are predicated on a outcome that is not really certain.
Pascals Wager is deeply flawed.
It is not either A or B. There are thousands of different variation of christianity alone, not to mention th oher religions. And if you are believing just on the chance that it might be true, don't you think god will see through your ploy?
M, I encourage you to go one step further and ask yourself: "What kind of being would set up a system like the one Christianity espouses?" Aren't you appalled or horrified that the god you worship lacks the simple compassion to prevent the eternal torture and pain of 'his children' for nothing more than being unable to believe he could raise someone from the dead? Think about it. Would you do that to one of your family members? Would you do that to a complete stranger? How will you be able to endure eternity knowing that many of your family and friends are experiencing agonizing pain in hell for nothing more than having the wrong belief? Think, M. Think.
From Marcus Aurelius' Meditations:
"The Universe must be governed either by a foreordained destiny, – an order that none may overstep, – by a merciful Providence, or by a chaos of chance devoid of a ruler. If the theory of an insuperable fate be true, why struggle against it? If Providence watches over all and may be inclined to mercy, render thyself worthy of celestial aid. But if leaderless chaos be all, rest content that in the midst of this storm-swept sea, Reason still dwells and rules within thee."
M, I would suggest that you use your own words, because I am interested in know your thoughts on the matter. Please explain to me how you will be able to experience eternal paradise while knowing that some of the people you love and care about are experiencing unbearable pain in hell?
Paul, I think M is actually making the same point...believers arguments are flawed. He points to the flawed logic behind Pascal's Wager. You point to the flawed logic behind Christianity. But you're both saying religion is garbage.
Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life.
in lke one hundred years , new generations will say: can you believe that 100 years ago people believed in god? LOL
Why do you think that's funny? People say it now and they said it a hundred years ago. They said it a thousand years ago and they'll say it a thousand years from now.
It funny because we know how flawed religious thinking was and is currently.
Maybe they did say it centuries ago, but then the loving churchgoers burned them at the stake. And you wonder why we keep pressing for people to be reasonable and accept that there is no evidence for any deities?
Bill, you're COMPLETELY wrong and missing the point.
We no longer believe the Earth is flat.
We no longer believe the Sun Revolves around the Earth.
We no longer believe demons cause disease.
We no longer believe the earth is 6000 years old.
We no longer believe weather is supernatural
We no longer believe flying and space travel are impossible.
We now understand the physics behind rainbows, gravity, lightning, thunder, and fire.
I am reminded that, when in school, I was taught that the need to exercise willingfull suspension of disbelief was one of the hallmarks of fiction.
The funny thing is that it was a catholic school! lol