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'Where was God in Aurora?' comments show Internet as church for atheists
Some atheists may ask questions on the Internet that they wouldn't have asked in church.
August 1st, 2012
12:03 PM ET

'Where was God in Aurora?' comments show Internet as church for atheists

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

(CNN) - The Internet has become the de facto global church for atheists, agnostics and other doubters of God, who of course don’t have bricks-and-mortar churches in which to congregate.

We see this phenomenon in motion every day on the CNN Belief Blog, where atheists/agnostics/humanists are among the most zealous commenters.

Recent string of posts around the question of “Where was God in Aurora?” (such as this and this) drew especially large waves of comments that show atheists are using the Internet to commune with one another and to confront religious believers in ways that they don’t usually do in church.

Atheists and other secularists have offline organizations that stage in-person meetings - the Secular Student Alliance has seen its number of campus chapters quadruple in the last five years, to 368 - but the Internet has probably played a bigger role in the rise of the so-called New Atheism. The movement’s adherents evangelize their godlessness, just as many religious folks evangelize their God, often taking to the Belief Blog to do so.

“A lot of millennials who are coming of age have found that the Internet is a fantastic place to talk about their doubt,” says Jesse Galef, communications director for the Secular Student Alliance. “Before the Internet, there was no place for young people to do that. The only place to go was really church, and that wasn’t always a welcoming place.

“But they can go online and discuss these ideas without being judged by friends and families,” Galef says.

For closeted atheists, the Internet’s anonymity is a big draw. A coalition of national atheist groups recently launched a program to transition doubting clergy to lives of open atheism by first having ministers come out anonymously in a closed online community.

Plenty of other atheists, though, are using the Internet to connect with real, named people through Facebook and other online social networks.

“It’s the ability to access a larger community, particularly for people growing up in religiously conservative areas,” Galef says. “There is nobody they can point to to discuss their atheism or their doubts about the Bible or their morality, and the Internet provides that.”

On Sunday, a guest piece from a Colorado pastor argued that it’s possible to reconcile the idea of a sovereign God with the existence of evil and tragedy. The post has drawn 4,239 comments as of Wednesday morning, largely from atheists.

One of those comments - a letter from God penned by an atheist commenter named Colin - caught fire online. Here’s how his letter opens:

"Dear Christians:

"God here. I thought I would take the time to personally explain my absence in the Aurora shootings. While I was at it, I thought I would also explain my absence during every murder, massacre and crime that has ever taken place in world history, and in every war, in every famine, drought and flood.

"You see, I do not exist. I never have. Did it really make sense to you that I would create an entire universe with billions of billions of planets and wait about 13,700,000,000 years just so I could focus on a few Jews from Palestine about 2,000 years ago while ignoring the rest of the 200,000,000 people on the planet at the time? Did I make those few Jews or did those few Jews make me?"

The letter has been posted on reddit, where it attracted another 1,000-plus comments. (Warning: The reddit comments includes foul language.)

The vast majority of comments come from sympathetic atheists and other secularists (the discussion is reddit's atheism thread), a striking example of such folks doing church without God online. Many of those comments are deeply personal, confessional and poignant.

Here are five of the best ones. Some respond to Colin’s letter from God, others to the Colorado pastor who wrote for the Belief Blog last weekend.

1. CarbonEmitter

"I grew up religious and decided to be agnostic (as an) undergraduate. Even though I am now in my late 20s, I still feel slightly guilty because my parents try to ram religion down my throat. My mom converted to my dad's religion (from Christianity to Islam) right before having a double lung transplant in 1995. They are now super-religious and attribute her miraculous recovery to her conversion.

"Reading posts like these remind me of how ridiculous religion is and help relieve my guilt. Thank you /r/athiesm."

2. tazadar

"I like what Carl Sagan said about reassuring fables.

" 'The significance of our lives and our fragile planet is then determined only by our own wisdom and courage. We are the custodians of life's meaning. We long for a parent to care for us, to forgive us our errors, to save us from our childish mistakes. But knowledge is preferable to ignorance. Better by far to embrace the hard truth than a reassuring fable.' "

3. RyGuy2012

"You know, it really irks me to no end to read the article from the pastor, as he claims to not have an answer for why God didn't prevent the Aurora shooting, but then claims to know for sure that God is there when people come to lend their support and sympathies for the shooting victims.

"I just can't wrap my mind around this logic. Like, the pastor must find some other explanation why people are good and do good things. It can't be that people can just be good on their own. Because, apparently (our) natural normal state is to be completely uncaring and disregarding? It's just such a very sad and low opinion to have of your fellow man.

4. funfetti_cookies

"Of course, he says that. You have to scare the people before giving them a reason to listen - "I held her hand as she died." What a great way to start your article. Also don't forget to mention Columbine so people remember that tragedy as well, but then go on to explain why God still exists and this is all part of his plan. Religion is nothing more but a scare tactic to control the masses.

5. ConstipatedNinja

"I don't share this much, but I was raped twice by my pastor when I was 6. And by I don't share this much, I mean that even my own parents don't know (as a side note, he's long since dead, so there's no sense in bringing it up). I had to sit in the same room (with) him for three hours every Sunday while he told everyone - including me - how a decent human being should act. I had to for four entire years before my family moved to a different state.

"When it first happened, I had no idea what was done. I was too young to understand. ... It's indescribable. You're told all this time about this ever-loving being that made you and has planned out your entire life. You're told that he'll protect you when you need it. You're told that if you're good, then he'll be good to you. So obviously, I wasn't good. I wasn't good enough. I was created and the creator of all things looked down upon me and decided that I was a bad egg. Do you know how rough that is for a 7-year-old? I still have problems with self-esteem. …"

That comment, which has been truncated above, provoked an outpouring of sympathy and support on reddit, including this comment:

rumpelstiltskin1

"This stuff is why I love Reddit. Yeah we are a room full of strangers but when it comes down to it we're a community. I love reading the stories of others and reading the heartfelt replies. I love that anyone can express themselves honestly and it will be well-received here (usually). And although this one is a little cheeky, I love that I can learn valuable life lessons of self-acceptance and being able to move on from a guy named ConstipatedNinja. Thank you for sharing your story, and I admire the willingness to share such a personal story; it's truly inspirational."

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Atheism • Colorado • Violence

soundoff (4,699 Responses)
  1. Luke Hopkins

    I write as someone who turned away from Christianity in favor of a quasi-Buddhist agnosticism for quite a few years, not unlike many of the folks quoted here, no doubt. But I also write as someone who hit a dead end in that state and discovered that what I had been looking for all along was, in fact, Jesus Christ. Before you atheists and agnostics roll your eyes at me (remember, I was one of you not so long ago), hear me out. Nobody questions that the world we live in is terribly screwed up, that we screw up personally, and that we are dominated by systems and forces that are screwed up. Increasingly I saw this and the fire of revolution was in my gut and that wrenched me away from Christianity. But revolution itself means violence, hatred, ends justifying means. Then later I realized that this man Jesus I had decided to forget about didn't blink at all this horror, but took on the worst of it, assumed the most frightful aspects of our humanity, trampling evil underfoot with gentleness, peace, and forgiveness, and in so doing revealed the character of God. This is the perfect revelation of God, not any speculation about the nuts and bolts of creation. God is love, and Jesus proved this in his life and death. The Resurrection, by the way, is God's resounding confirmation of this truth. I don't claim to understand scientifically how all this can be. No one does. But the point is that so much of this nuts-and-bolts thinking about God makes God a clockmaker in the sky, or a puppetmaster. Look to Jesus, though, and he will show you definitively who God is. You won't find a bargaining arrangement, or quid pro quo, special treatment for good behavior. The only way forward in our world is suffering love. The Christian claim, wild as it may sound, is that this is the truth that lies in the depths of the cosmos, and that it will one day overwhelm all the powers of violence, domination, and deceit. Best to all of you.

    August 1, 2012 at 10:53 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin™

      Born again Christians make me nauseous... Like bad oysters...

      August 1, 2012 at 11:07 pm |
    • Ticktockman0

      Sorry, Luke, but you are parroting nonsense. That one can attribute meaning to a story does not make it true. I see no objective proof of the existence of a deity, and if I have to believe in something before it is proven then I am simply deluding myself. And I find the logical problems associated with a supposedly all-good, all-knowing, all-powerful father figure allowing evil to flourish too egregious to ignore. Finally, you are presenting a feel-good version of god and Christianity that is not supported by much of the Bible, and ignores the ugly aspects of both.

      Peace.

      August 1, 2012 at 11:32 pm |
  2. † In God We Trust †

    Seriously..... Why do atheists complain about going to hell, yet they deny God and don't want to enter kingdom of heaven and paradise?

    August 1, 2012 at 10:53 pm |
    • Observer

      Seriously, why did you apparently MAKE UP that "quote" from Stalin?

      August 1, 2012 at 10:57 pm |
  3. frank

    We have a free will so God has nothing to do with man's stupidity and ignorance! Or his brilliance and wisdom for that matter.

    August 1, 2012 at 10:48 pm |
    • Major Tom

      Free will to kiss his a s s daily or burn in hell for all of eternity. Good deeds or bad deeds not relevant.

      August 1, 2012 at 10:52 pm |
    • Ticktockman0

      So god created humans with stupidity and ignorance. Doesn't sound so brilliant or wise to me.

      August 1, 2012 at 11:36 pm |
    • jim

      @Ticktockman0; If you've done some things that weren't brilliant and definitely unwise, by your own analogy, does that mean your parents were not brilliant and not wise because of your actions?

      August 2, 2012 at 10:13 pm |
    • silmaril

      Frank, do you have free will in heaven? If you think so, explain how heaven can be a place supposedly without sin.

      August 3, 2012 at 2:08 am |
  4. Mopery

    Where was Thor in Aurora?
    Why didn't Vishnu stop the killer?
    How about Isis, orAmaterasu, why didn't they stop him?

    The truth is that only the Flying Spaghetti Monster can really answer these questions, reach out your hand for his noodly appendage and taste the sauce of true knowledge.

    August 1, 2012 at 10:48 pm |
    • † In God We Trust †

      Those cults you mentioned above are fairy tales..... Hinduism is nothing but joke.

      Judeo-Christian faith is the truly one.

      August 1, 2012 at 10:55 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin™

      Haven't been on here in a couple of weeks... But I see HS has changed her name and is still bat-sh!t crazy...

      August 1, 2012 at 11:15 pm |
  5. magneticink

    "Fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom." Psalm 111:10

    August 1, 2012 at 10:46 pm |
    • Observer

      So much for God's "love".

      August 1, 2012 at 10:48 pm |
    • Timetraveler

      "Religion is excellent stuff for keeping common people quiet."

      - Napolean Bonaparte

      August 1, 2012 at 10:49 pm |
    • LOL@"WhereWasGod"

      Fear of the lord ....right up there with fear of fire breathing dragons...

      Top of the fiction shelf, where it belongs.

      August 1, 2012 at 10:49 pm |
  6. Timetraveler

    "Men never commit evil so fully and joyfully as when they do it for religious convictions."

    - Blaise Pascal

    August 1, 2012 at 10:44 pm |
    • † In God We Trust †

      "Imagine no religion" – Joseph Stalin

      August 1, 2012 at 10:46 pm |
    • Tonyn

      Have you taken Pascal's Wager? Do you know what it is?

      August 1, 2012 at 10:46 pm |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      Tonyn,

      It is an extremely poor religious philosophical question.

      August 1, 2012 at 10:49 pm |
    • Tonyn

      Agreed. But Pascal did not.

      August 1, 2012 at 10:51 pm |
    • Who me?

      @in god we..I do believe that was John Lennon..Imagine if you can..No hell below us..What would christians be without the threat of hell..

      August 1, 2012 at 10:56 pm |
    • Tonyn

      There are many Christians who do not believe in hell...Unitarian's and most Presbyterians, for instance...they seem to get along quite well...

      August 1, 2012 at 11:18 pm |
    • jim

      What about political and military convictions? For example, Viet Nam started as political; capitalism vs communism. You could be a total atheist but totally consumed with annihilating communists.

      August 2, 2012 at 9:39 am |
  7. † In God We Trust †

    Christianity is the world's largest religion, and the dominant religion of all western countries, and the only language spread in every continent 🙂

    August 1, 2012 at 10:44 pm |
    • † In God We Trust †

      religion*

      August 1, 2012 at 10:45 pm |
    • Major Tom

      Correction: Christianity is the world's largest cult.

      August 1, 2012 at 10:46 pm |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      And yet they don't on much...if anything.

      August 1, 2012 at 10:47 pm |
    • LOL@"WhereWasGod"

      Islam has more followers.

      You better convert now, so you can feel like part of the "biggest" group.

      August 1, 2012 at 10:50 pm |
  8. thegh0st81

    If you truly believe you have a personal relationship with a 2000 year old dead Jew and that you can have a one on one conversation with him in your head telepathically, you're truly an idiot.

    August 1, 2012 at 10:43 pm |
    • thegh0st81

      idiot may not have been the proper word... mentally ill.

      August 1, 2012 at 10:45 pm |
    • Mike

      I say atheism is a religion
      1. They have their own worldview. Materialism (the view that the material world is all there is)
2They have their own orthodoxy. Orthodoxy is a set of beliefs acceptable to a faith community
3They have their own brand of apostasy. Apostasy is to abandon one’s former religious faith. Antony Flew was for many years one of the world’s most prominent atheists.
4.They have their own prophets: Nietzsche, Russell, Feuerbach, Lenin, Marx.
5.They have their own preachers and evangelists. And boy, are they “evangelistic.” Dawkins, Dennett, Harris, and Hitchens
6.They have faith. Evolution has no explanation for why our universe is orderly, predictable, measurable. In fact (atheistic) evolutionary theory has no rational explanation for why there is such a thing as rational explanation.

      August 1, 2012 at 10:45 pm |
    • † In God We Trust †

      Say that on your judgement day your idiot

      August 1, 2012 at 10:47 pm |
    • Tonyn

      Don't lump Bertrand Russell in as an athiest prophet. A quote from Lord Russell himself: ""I never know whether I should say "Agnostic" or whether I should say "Atheist". It is a very difficult question and I daresay that some of you have been troubled by it. As a philosopher, if I were speaking to a purely philosophic audience I should say that I ought to describe myself as an Agnostic, because I do not think that there is a conclusive argument by which one can prove that there is not a God."[i]

      August 1, 2012 at 10:50 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Mike

      You pretty obviously have absolutely no idea what the hell you're talking about.

      August 1, 2012 at 10:52 pm |
    • Tonyn

      Completely valid arguments...just wrong about Bertrand Russell...thanks for the post

      August 1, 2012 at 11:01 pm |
    • jim

      I'd say anyone who calls someone an idiot simply because they are religious has serious mental issues.

      August 2, 2012 at 9:59 pm |
  9. Aristocles

    Religion has also been used as a means to break free FROM control, rather than being used as a means of oppression. If people depended solely on religion for hope, than the religions that told people what they wanted to hear would be doing the best, but that is not the case. Religions that say that everyone is going to heaven no matter what they do are tiny compared to the ones which speak of hell and salvation from hell.

    While some very ancient religions were used to explain the then-unexplainable, that hasn't been an essential function of religion since at least the time of Christ; even St. Augustine knew that science contradicted the Bible, but he didn't let that get him down.

    And finally, "control." First, control isn't automatically a bad thing. People do need laws, ethics, and morals, and religion has often been a strong motivation for self-control; just look at Buddhism or Christian monasticism. Second, while religion has been used as a means of political control, this is much less prevalent than atheists claim; claims to a "mandate of heaven" or a "divine right of kings" were ideas mostly put forth by the monarchs themselves; for centuries, the church acted as a (not always successful) check on the power of kings and nobles, something that would have been appreciated by most people.

    August 1, 2012 at 10:42 pm |
  10. scientificpoetry

    Thank God for the internet... Just kidding... thank man and his ingenuity for the internet!

    August 1, 2012 at 10:33 pm |
    • † In God We Trust †

      Thank God for creating Earth at the beginning...

      August 1, 2012 at 10:36 pm |
    • Timetraveler

      Specifically, thank Vinton Cerf.

      August 1, 2012 at 10:38 pm |
  11. rabbitone

    atheists are powerlessly human – and false – because in reality none of us know whether or not there is anything beyond or inside of us – or something we cannot even think or experience yet – so to stagnantly position yourself as vocal atheist – is such a false do nothing limitation – it is beneath animal and human

    August 1, 2012 at 10:28 pm |
    • Alpa Chino

      Puff puff pass, man.

      August 1, 2012 at 10:35 pm |
    • sybaris

      By your logic if atheists are false then the opposite is true so the burden of proof is still on you.

      August 1, 2012 at 10:35 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin™

      A humorous good attempt to demean atheists and confirm your righteousness... But ineffectual...

      August 1, 2012 at 10:37 pm |
  12. 1word

    God is AMAZING!

    August 1, 2012 at 10:26 pm |
    • Timetraveler

      Yes, amazingly non-existent.

      August 1, 2012 at 10:40 pm |
  13. † In God We Trust †

    Atheism is the biggest cult ever in history

    August 1, 2012 at 10:24 pm |
    • LOL@"WhereWasGod"

      Cults actually believe in something....

      not believing in anything doesn't fit the definition.

      Christianity, however...does.

      August 1, 2012 at 10:27 pm |
    • Maya

      Says a person who worships a dead Jewish carpenter.

      August 1, 2012 at 10:30 pm |
    • † In God We Trust †

      Believe in what? So you're saying that atheists don't believe in anything?
      So you don't believe Earth is round and not flat?

      August 1, 2012 at 10:31 pm |
    • † In God We Trust †

      Maya...

      Jesus is our Lord and Saviour, and died for your sins. Unfortunately you cannot see that, which I think is sad for you.
      "Blessed are those who have not yet seen me" – Jesus Christ.

      August 1, 2012 at 10:32 pm |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      '"Blessed are those who have not yet seen me" – Jesus Christ."

      And blessed are those who never will...

      August 1, 2012 at 10:38 pm |
    • sybaris

      Your jesus person died for nothing. It was allegedly a god in flesh. It just returned to it's natural form. Only man places such value on flesh and blood.

      August 1, 2012 at 10:38 pm |
    • Timetraveler

      Going by the numbers, that would be Christianity.

      August 1, 2012 at 10:41 pm |
    • DJL

      "So you don't believe Earth is round and not flat?"

      No, we don't believe it. We KNOW it, as it is a FACT, because it has been PROVEN.

      August 1, 2012 at 10:47 pm |
  14. Joan Englander

    The question is not "where was God in Aurora". The more precise question is "where was God in Holmes' life from the moment he was born? in the family he was raised in? in the schools he attended?" God's first gift to us is free will. If we choose to reject Him, there is little more that He can do. So it's our general disbelief in God that has caused this, and many more problems, and will continue to do so.

    August 1, 2012 at 10:21 pm |
    • Maya

      That has to be the dumbest thing I've read all week. You present no proof for anything that you say, so why should any rational person take you seriously? You might as well say that crimes are committed because we don't all believe in unicorns.

      August 1, 2012 at 10:31 pm |
    • Alpa Chino

      Dude raised in a churchgoing family, dude was active in the church...no point saying which, since next thing you say is 'wrong church' or 'not really christian' or 'turned away from god'.

      August 1, 2012 at 10:36 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Joan,

      You said: The more precise question is "where was God in Holmes' life from the moment he was born? in the family he was raised in?

      Perhaps you will be interested in this report by the Christian Science Monitor online:

      "He attended church with his family in their quiet, upper-middle-class San Diego neighborhood, listening to his sister play bass in the worship band. ...

      "It's absurd. It's so out of character for this young man," said Jerry Borgie, senior pastor at Penasquitos Lutheran Church in San Diego, where the Holmes family worshipped. "James had goals. He was going to succeed.""

      August 1, 2012 at 10:38 pm |
    • sybaris

      Joan Englander, you really need to get a copy of DSM-IV.

      If what you say is true then psychiatry is a sham.

      However my money is you making an unqualified claim.

      August 1, 2012 at 10:42 pm |
  15. samstubbs

    So... why is believing in Intelligent Design illogical? I'm sorry, but I find atheistic logic equally as skewed as theist logic. Pretty much if you assume anything about the Universe's origin based on man's discovery alone, you're making a rather large assumption...

    August 1, 2012 at 10:20 pm |
    • Observer

      Even if it turns out that intelligent design is correct, that does not in any way prove that God exists. The universe could have been created by a committee of zombies for all we know or could disprove.

      August 1, 2012 at 10:24 pm |
    • justageek

      Most atheists I know are not as radical in their belief as to belittle people of faith so take what these so called atheists on this site who belittle others with a grain of salt. My atheist friends are content enough to say "I don't believe and whatever you believe is cool with me".

      August 1, 2012 at 10:33 pm |
    • Maya

      Intelligent design is illogical in that it doesn't even manage to flow from premise to conclusion. It has no premises, only conclusions. Therefore, it can't even be considered in argument. On the other hand, the arguments for evolution use premises based on objective observations of phenomena and ends in conclusions which properly flow from them.

      August 1, 2012 at 10:40 pm |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      But if we assume "god did it" it is not a large assumption?

      August 1, 2012 at 10:42 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @justageek,

      indeed so. "Whatever you believe really is cool with me."

      Just don't subst.tute science class with religion class.

      Intelligent design is thinly veiled creationism. I am perfectly happy if you believe God created the world ... and used evolution as his mechanism to implement creation. Lots of people are happy with this approach – except the fundamentalist evangelicals. Intelligent design does not espouse evolution as God's mechanism.

      August 1, 2012 at 10:43 pm |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      "So... why is believing in Intelligent Design illogical?"

      Because the argument goes like this,

      "No one can explain how the universe works.....therefore god did it".

      How is that logical?

      August 1, 2012 at 10:45 pm |
    • justageek

      @Maya – you make sense as long as you can agree that evolution can only exist if you believe in the most commonly accepted scientific theory that everything we know came from an infinity small singularity which is as hard to believe in as anything. Yet we are here no matter what anyone believes which I think is absolutely amazing no matter who is right.

      August 1, 2012 at 10:48 pm |
    • justageek

      @I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV – "Just don't subst.tute science class with religion class."...agreed 🙂

      August 1, 2012 at 10:52 pm |
    • DJL

      Intelligent design, which states that the universe must have been created because it is complex, fails for multiple reasons:

      1. Things that are "intelligently designed" are simple, not complex. The word complex means difficult. Therefore, if it's complex, it was either poorly designed or, as with most things in nature, not designed at all.

      2. By it's own posit, something else must have created god (if not, then the universe did not require a "creator"). And something must have created the thing that created god. Etc., etc., etc. It's an infinite regression, which is completely invalid.

      3. Ultimately, because it fails to actually explain the process of the creation ('god did it'), it does not even qualify as a theory.

      August 1, 2012 at 10:56 pm |
    • samstubbs

      Well perhaps my reasoning is different then. Because I don't simply say: "It's inexplainable, therefore God did it." In fact, my argument is quite the opposite. I believe that BECAUSE the universe is explainable, BECAUSE it is logical, it would lead me to believe that is significant evidence for logical design.

      I mean most scientists believe that true randomness is an illusion. And the reason is because if true randomness exists, then science is ultimately useless, because "random" by its very definition cannot be explained logically. So the fact that the universe falls into succinct order seems a little too convenient to have "just happened."

      August 2, 2012 at 9:19 am |
    • samstubbs

      @DJL

      Your reasons are actually logically invalid.

      1. Intelligent design is not complex? Seriously? Look at a computer, look at cars (especially modern ones), jets, a liquid crystal display screen. These technologies are incredibly complex relative to what has gone before? So much so, that they require highly specialized experts to fix them in most cases. Furthermore, you're looking at it from a strictly technical side.

      As for 2. You assume that if God is created by other Gods, that it invalidates the argument. I don't see how that is.

      and 3. No it doesn't, which is my point. I never said that science was an invalid approach to understand how things work. But just because you study how a computer works, doesn't mean it wasn't made.

      August 2, 2012 at 9:37 am |
  16. David Donovan

    "Just wanted to drop a note to everyone who's been coming to my house and leaving me lots of cash every week ... thank you, thank you, thanks soo much!

    Yours in Me,
    Jaysus"

    August 1, 2012 at 10:19 pm |
  17. jim

    Why is the question asked; Where was God in Aurora? Why not ask; Where was God when his only begotten son was crucified on the cross? Just as goodness does not advance the case for God for an atheist, evil thus does not qualify for evidence to prove the non-existence of God, so why keep trying to prove based on that evidence? If a person wants to be persuaded there is no God, why waste your breath trying to convince them otherwise? On the other hand, if someone wants to find God and needs help doing so...

    August 1, 2012 at 10:18 pm |
  18. Numquam Cede

    As a former Christian, I stumbled on this article, because it reminded me of the questions I used to ask.
    In light of the recent tragedy, I didn't ask "where's God?", I asked "what is in the water in Colorado?"

    Whether you believe in God or not, reality still has its laws.

    We have freedom to do the right thing, and we have the freedom to fail. It is immoral to take away freedom from all, to atone for one person's failure.

    Which is why I do not believe in supernatural deities anymore. I couldn't find justice in reality through that lens. Eg) original sin

    But between my atheist self and my Christian family, we have come to mutually agree that:
    we all deserve our personal journey of choosing a moral philosophy, for better or worse.

    And we can talk about our differences and actually become closer, because we do it respectfully and l.i.s.t.e.n.

    August 1, 2012 at 10:12 pm |
  19. Sanitation

    Asking where God was in Aurora is sort of like asking the guy who is holding an axe to your neck where God is with him/her. Sort of like the waiters out there who, on the customers learning that they are atheists, leave a small tract "Repent now sinners or be lost forever!" as a tip for services rendered. If Christians believe there is a place for God in incidents like Aurora, perhaps a new definition of God is required.

    August 1, 2012 at 10:11 pm |
    • Sean

      God has given us free will to accept or reject him. Unfortunately, we have chosen the latter and attempted to put ourselves in his place. When you scream from the rooftops daily to get God out of our lives, don't be surprised when the resulting moral decay results in events like this.

      August 1, 2012 at 10:28 pm |
    • Maya

      If God exists, prove it. If you can't, stop talking.

      August 1, 2012 at 10:41 pm |
    • Observer

      Sean,

      Moral decay? World coming to an end?

      Welcome to 2,000 BC.

      August 1, 2012 at 10:44 pm |
  20. E. Cherrie

    Religion is the biggest hoax ever perpetrated on the human race!

    August 1, 2012 at 10:06 pm |
    • Tonyn

      How is it that belief in some sort of god exists in every society through every period in human history? Is it a secret cabal like the illuminati that fosters this hoax on the human race?

      August 1, 2012 at 10:15 pm |
    • LOL@"WhereWasGod"

      No. Religion has always provided 3 things:

      Hope
      Explanation of the unexplained
      Control

      Control is still somewhat prevalent, but not like it was, say, 1000 years ago
      .
      Explanation of the unexplained...Read about Galileo if you want an example of how ignorant the church can be with this. What religion called "plagues" we now know were caused by very wordy things, namely bacterium and virii...(just an example)

      Hope: the biggest lure of them all. Yes you are poor and miserable, but keep serving the church and you will have "paradise" WHEN YOU DIE (see"control")

      Any other questions?

      August 1, 2012 at 10:24 pm |
    • Tonyn

      You did not answer the question...but it is obvious that human beings have a fundamental, universal need or desire to "believe" in something, for something to give meaning to their lives...by the way, belief in an afterlife did not become prevalent in the Judeo-Christian world until very late...as a matter of fact, the Biblical Saducees rejected the idea of an afterlife...many primitive religions also do not posit an eternal life, nor does Thervada Buddhism...kind of puts a damper on the "hope" aspect of your argument. I do not believe that human beings have a innate desire to be controlled...

      August 1, 2012 at 10:39 pm |
    • jim

      Tonyn: "..by the way, belief in an afterlife did not become prevalent in the Judeo-Christian world until very late...as a matter of fact, the Biblical Saducees rejected the idea of an afterlife."
      The Saducees rejected an afterlife concept, however, contemporary with them, the Pharisees of the Judeo-Christian era did believe in an afterlife. The concept of an afterlife was well entrenched at the time of Christ. In the book of Acts, Paul uses the difference in their beliefs to defuse a hostile crowd composed of Pharisees and Saducees who all wanted to kill him, but the two groups get mired in their own conflict when he tells the whole crowd he believes in life after death and he slips out the side door.

      August 2, 2012 at 10:25 pm |
    • jim

      Tonyn, the answer is no. Not a secret cabal. You're placing way too much faith in man to have carried out such a daunting task, and to have kept it secret for so long, and for what motive? To play with the mind of an atheist and ultimately get them to post their angry rhetoric on CNN blogs? I know why man through the ages has looked for a divine creator, but you know what I would say is the reason because you've heard of it before, so I won't post it.

      August 2, 2012 at 10:36 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.