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My Take: God not in whirlwinds of Sandy, presidential race
A NASA image of Hurricane Sandy.
October 29th, 2012
01:33 PM ET

My Take: God not in whirlwinds of Sandy, presidential race

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

I am riding out Sandy on Cape Cod and wondering whether this, too, is God’s will.

As this storm has carved its path through the Caribbean and up the Eastern Seaboard of the United States, it has taken 67 lives and (so far) spared the rest of us. Was it the will of the Almighty that so many should perish?

Is God angry with Cuba, where 11 died last week? More angry with Haiti, where 51 perished? Relatively unperturbed with Jamaica, where the death toll was only two? If a tree falls on my house today, will that be an Act of God, too?

There has been a lot of talk lately about what is and what isn’t willed by Providence, thanks to Richard Mourdock, the Indiana Republican and U.S. Senate candidate who said last week, “I think that even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something God intended to happen.”

Whether “it” in this sentence refers to rape or to conception, it assumes that God is both busy and capricious. Why does God offer the gift of life to some rape victims and not to others? Why does God allow some elections to be close and not others?

One answer, of course, is that God does nothing of the sort. Perhaps there is no God. Or perhaps God is more like the watchmaker divinity of Deism fame who winds up the universe, sets it in motion and then leaves it to its own devices.

In the thought worlds of Indian religions, things operate not by the will of God but in keeping with the laws of karma. So to put it in crudest terms, those who are injured in Sandy somehow have it coming to them, as do victims of rape who find themselves pregnant.

The western religions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam have argued that God has a hand not only in setting our story in motion but also in seeing it through to the end. So Jews, Christians, and Muslims have had to reckon with the classical problem of “theodicy”: In a world in which God is all powerful and all good, why do bad things happen to good people?

As I wrestle with these questions, I cannot help thinking about how differently my New England forebears interpreted these natural disasters. While we speak of the eye of the hurricane, New England's colonists were ever mindful of the eye of a God who was forever watching over them, and sending storms their way as punishment for their collective sins.

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

When the Great Colonial Hurricane raced up the east coast and lashed New England in August 1635, its 130 mph winds and 21-foot storm surge were almost universally viewed in supernatural rather than natural terms — as a judgment of God on the unfaithful.

We still have Puritans among us today, of course.

Televangelist Pat Robertson is notorious for turning natural disasters such as the Haiti earthquake and Hurricane Katrina into supernatural communications — God’s curse on Haiti or New Orleans for bad religion or widespread abortions. And with this “Stormpocalpyse” arriving on the eve of the election, I suspect some will suggest that the rain and the wind are God’s judgment on the leadership of President Obama.

Still, American society as a whole no longer interprets natural disasters as signs of a coming apocalypse or evidence of past misdeeds. When it comes to earthquakes and hurricanes, we tune in to the Weather Channel, not the Christian Broadcasting Network. And we interpret these events not through the rumblings of biblical prophets but through the scientific truths of air pressure and tectonic plates.

As a result of this sort of secular turn, we are much better at predicting the course of hurricanes. The Great Colonial Hurricane of 1635 arrived as a surprise and took many lives with it, including, according to the report of the Massachusetts governor, John Winthrop, those of eight Native Americans taken by the storm surge while “flying from their wigwams.” Sandy is a surprise to no one, thanks to science.

Still, we Americans cannot give up on talk of God’s will. At least according to Newt Gingrich, Mourdock’s foray into rape and theology reflects the position of “virtually every Catholic” in the United States. And if we are to believe the full-page ads taken out  by Billy Graham, God wills the victory of Mitt Romney over Barack Obama.

As for me, I am less sure about what God wills for our storms (political or otherwise). In my view, any God worth worshiping isn’t going to be so predictable, or so capricious.

I don’t think Graham, Mourdock, or Gingrich is speaking on behalf of God. They are speaking on behalf of themselves, on the basis of their own fears and experiences. And they are reading the Bible through their politics, not the other way around.

When it comes to storms like Sandy, I just don't believe in a God who drowns black babies in Haiti yet refuses to drown out the voices of cranky white men who claim so irreverently to speak in His name.

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

- CNN Belief Blog contributor

Filed under: 2012 Election • Belief • Billy Graham • Christianity • Church and state • Newt Gingrich • Politics • Science • United States

soundoff (2,188 Responses)
  1. Britney Jay

    I think there is something a lot of the U.S. is not understanding and that is yes God is a very loving
    God but he is quite angry with the abuse we are using. We take his grace and his mercy to our advantage. God is doing this because he is angry. You don't believe me well why is it that when God brings wrath upon nations some homes or villages still remain untouched? It is because of their repentance unto him. There are many prophets who have prophecy of the many events that are going to happen. WARNING BEFORE DESTRUCTION. We need to get it together or we may not make it out. There is a hell Jesus is real and HE IS COMING BACK REAL SOON. EVERYTHING IN THE BIBLE IS STARTING TO LINE UP. HE WILL COME LIKE A THEIF IN THE NIGHT. Wait until the earthquakes start hitting on the west of the U.S. because they are long over due. There is a reason why we should be fearing GOD!!!! -God fearing Christian Britney Jay

    October 29, 2012 at 8:57 pm |
    • Athy

      Man, what a load of crap. I don't even know where to start in responding to this BS. I'll leave it up to you guys that have manual keyboards.

      October 29, 2012 at 9:01 pm |
    • itsallaloadofbollocks

      It's a pity this board is anonymous. It will be fun to see you come back with your tail between your legs when your prediction is proven nonsense. No god. No heaven. No hell. No divine retribution. Just luck of the draw.

      October 29, 2012 at 9:05 pm |
    • anon

      What a crock of p00. I like how the only thing people that are uneducated can do is say "God works in mysterious ways" Lets just take away the scientific aspect of the storm and put it in simple terms. Hurricanes have been hitting the east coast longer than Man has been living there. Now lets look in historical terms of what we do know. Storms larger than this have happened in the far distant past. This isn't some wrath of god or some other boogeyman conspiracy its just the way weather works. As temperatures rise storms grow more violent there have been multiple periods of global warming in the past that have all shown signs of super storms in their wake. God had nothing to do with it.

      Have you ever stopped to question yourself and your reasoning? You claim "God is loving" yet was he loving when god fearing people starved to death or were slaughtered? No cause he doesn't exist. It isn't about applying logic its about applying morality. Morally god is immoral, jealous, vengeful, wrathful. These aren't ideas of mine they are taken from your very book. A book that justifies irrational and immoral behavior. As a human if you don't see something wrong with that when using morality as a compass then you truly are a lost cause and not worth being saved. I will concede there is a possibility of there being some higher power however your teachings and the way you worship are the misguided ideals transcribed by men with their own agendas. Why you are unable to see the very truth all around you is beyond me.

      October 29, 2012 at 9:18 pm |
  2. Adonai's follower

    Stephen Prothero wrote, "I just don't believe in a God who drowns black babies in Haiti yet refuses to drown out the voices of cranky white men who claim so irreverently to speak in His name."

    I think this comment is the most ignorant statements in his whole "article". Not stating that God is drowning anyone, I disagree with his whole racial statement that is clearly meant to strike a chord with the reader. What nonsense. When God destroyed Sodom and Gamorrah, precious babies died; when He had all the first born babies in Egypt put to death, they were innocent. God does not see things as we try to box His logic into. I am fine with people who don't know anything about Adonai, but when you are portraying yourself as someone in the know, and make ill-informed statements like that for people who are atheistic or secularistic in trained thought which doesn't really give you him a lot of legitimacy...

    October 29, 2012 at 8:56 pm |
    • rob

      Where is the proof? Think for yourself.

      October 29, 2012 at 9:05 pm |
    • Adonai's follower

      @rob: thank you for your in depth reply, I can see you learn a whole lot of nothing and contribute even less...

      October 29, 2012 at 9:15 pm |
    • itsallaloadofbollocks

      follower. There's nothing to learn from in your post. Forget the bible references. Why would god do that (the point you selected from the article)?

      October 29, 2012 at 9:31 pm |
  3. Krys

    Live by these rules, be happy & don't judge/hurt others. I think the world would be a better place!

    October 29, 2012 at 8:55 pm |
  4. Dr. Fliggleton Snerpwaffler, Head of Psychiatry, Bellevue Hospital for the Criminally Insane

    As head of Psychiatry at Bellvue, I would like to apologize to the Belief Blog. You see, we have been testing limited access to the internet for a few of our psychotics, and I am afraid the results have been a bit of a disaster. Patient "Eliminate hinduism" is what we Psychologists describe in technical terms as "a howling wingnut," and patient "christopher hitchens" regularly needs to be shot with the tranquilizer gun due to his delusional violence. He also appears to have been molesting sewer rats again, hence the infatuation.

    We will do our best to control this crisis, but the more insane patients may have stolen some of the computers, so further outbreaks may occur.

    October 29, 2012 at 8:54 pm |
    • Eliminate hinduism, religions corruption of truth absolute by hindu's lairs, for peace, Islam among humanity.

      thank you Doc, for your hinduism, absurdity and now go back to your ward for treatment.

      October 29, 2012 at 9:02 pm |
  5. kathleenrobinson425

    Please, God has nothing to do with it. It's the dynamics of the Earth and atmosphere. If a hurricane gets you, it's because you live on the coast in its path, just like if a tornado gets me, it's because I live in tornado alley.

    October 29, 2012 at 8:53 pm |
    • Athy

      The religious nitwits can't buy into this, Kathleen. They're simply biblewashed beyond recovery. Nice try, though. Just too sensible.

      October 29, 2012 at 9:04 pm |
  6. Suzanne

    One more thing. When you die you sleep until the Lord returns. You DO NOT go right up to heaven. Jesus also said that not all will sleep. Growing up I was told so many things that were wrong about God and Jesus. I listen to know one about the bilbe. I read it myself so I can understand and know what he is telling me. I was in awe as I read and took in all he had to say. Little helpful advice... Don't read the bible like a noval. try one verse at a time and think about what he is saying. He's really awesome. I know how you feel. I would like everything to be sparkles and butterflies too but remember we are the ones that sin and God is the one that loves anyway. His son Jesus is the Proof. God Bless.

    October 29, 2012 at 8:52 pm |
    • Larry

      Suzanne, the only reason you believe that is the Mommy and Daddy told it to you. If they hadn't fessed up about Santa Claus, you would fervently believe that too.

      There is no evidence. You are just conforming to the indoctrination of your childhood.

      October 29, 2012 at 8:56 pm |
    • Chad @ Cape Cod

      And you know all this how? Oh that's right, you 'believe'. My uncle believes Elvis is still alive and my best friend believes in Aliens. When I was a kid I believed in the tooth fairy. GROW UP.

      October 29, 2012 at 8:57 pm |
    • Athy

      Actually, Suzanne, when you die you never go up to heaven, ever. Doesn't matter what you believe.

      October 29, 2012 at 8:58 pm |
  7. Hassan

    Jhon31, Jesus is not son of GOD . he is a prophet and GOD has no sons. people whats wrong with you??? how many versions of the holly bible you have? is there any christian out there who is smart enough to ask this question and why there is only one Quran? someone answer me. the holly bible is manipulated with. each creature who open a church and come up with some followers create a new version of the bible. THERE IS NO GOD BUT GOD AND MOHAMED IS HIS PROPHET. Deal with this

    October 29, 2012 at 8:51 pm |
    • Athy

      What's a "holly" bible? A Christmas version?

      October 29, 2012 at 8:54 pm |
    • Hassan

      buhhhhhh, u think you are funny ATHY or pronounced ASSY. go play outside with the kids or wrap up Christmas gifts

      October 29, 2012 at 8:57 pm |
    • Chad @ Cape Cod

      Hey Hassan, you might want to loosen the straps on your vest full of dynamite- I think it's making you cranky. Besides Jesus was a weakling and Mohammad was a pedophile (does the Quran not tell us that his first wife was 12?) You people need to pick better imaginary friends.

      October 29, 2012 at 9:00 pm |
    • Athy

      Sorry Hassan. Didn't realize your first language isn't English. My apologies.

      October 29, 2012 at 9:08 pm |
  8. Eliminate hinduism, religions corruption of truth absolute by hindu's lairs, for peace, Islam among humanity.

    Truth is way of human and hinduism, denial of truth absolute is of the animals.
    FROM ORIGINAL MOHAMMAD A DAR
    Expect nothing better but mayhem among humanity by following of hinduism, denial of truth absolute, Allah, and following of hindu pagan Mithra ism, savior ism, neither commanded, nor allowed in Islam as a religion, but Theen Allah, consti tution of truth absolute. Foundation of American consti tution.
    Shiaism
    hindu Mithra ism, savior ism invented little over 100 years after Sydana Mohammad pbh by tribes of Kujar of north Africa and imposition as Fatmid Khalaphit by force by denial of Hidth and Quran, justified by hindu Judaism, pagan secularism to impose hinduism, racism by hindu, fabricated relationship with Family of Syadana Mohammad pbh to justify existence of hindu criminal Kings, a violation of fundamental commandment, human equality under the LA. truth absolute Allah. Cause of conflict among Muslim's and cause of down fall of Muslim's and Islam in Spain.

    Sunisim, invented by Turk's by corruption of Quran and hidth to justify existence of hindu King's as Khalipha, after death of Ruler Mohammad, but later renamed, Mehmmat, wisdom of spirit of truth by siblings from his Armenian wife, follower of hindu pagan Mithra ism, savior ism in 13th century.

    Christianity, invented by hinduism,. corruption of truth absolute by hindu Pharisees, pagan self centered, follower of hindu filthy pig ism by corrupted Torah, known as Greek Torah, translated and commented by Ben Asheer in 250 AD in Yiddish, secularist, self centered language, also known as Old Testament, part of book of Mithra ism labeled as Bible. A way to justify hindu criminal Kings and self proclaimed Prophets, fortune tellers as god's to rule over humanity.

    JUDAISM, Self center ism, pig ism, or Atheism, invented by hindu's pagan's of Egypt by corruption of truth absolute in Torah to Justify hindu pagan Pharaoh's and their hindu pagan Santans, goons as god's to rule over humanity with impunity.

    HAVE hINDUISM, CORRUPTION OF TRUTH ABSOLUTE, RELIGIONS AND LIVE WITH MAYHEM, AS HAS BEEN THE CASE FROM hIND, DARK AGES TILL TODAY. FOLLOW THEEN ALLAH, CONSTI TUTION OF TRUTH ABSOLUTE, ALLAH , GOD AND THE LORD, FOUNDATION OF CONSTI TUTION OF AMERICA TO HAVE PEACE AMONG HUMANITY. To learn more please visit truthisthelimit.com

    October 29, 2012 at 8:46 pm |
    • Hassan

      IGNORANT

      October 29, 2012 at 8:52 pm |
  9. jesica

    to the racist HUMBLE MAN; please do something useful in your life other than talking bad about religions. CNN, if you respect yourself post this comment

    October 29, 2012 at 8:46 pm |
  10. Bman

    Pagans understood and respected the elements. Modern Theology does not.

    October 29, 2012 at 8:46 pm |
  11. John316

    The world is already condemned, but God sent his son Jesus the Christ to rescue anyone willing to to rescued by him.

    October 29, 2012 at 8:45 pm |
    • Chad @ Cape Cod

      Think about it: if we dont sin, Jesus died for nothing. Time to get out there and make it count.

      October 29, 2012 at 8:49 pm |
    • John316

      The bad news is that all have sin.

      October 29, 2012 at 8:53 pm |
    • Hassan

      Jhon31, Jesus is not son of GOD . he is a prophet and GOD has no sons. people whats wrong with you??? how many versions of the holly bible you have? is there any christian out there who is smart enough to ask this question and why there is only one Quran? someone answer me. the holly bible is manipulated with. each creature who open a church and come up with some followers create a new version of the bible. THERE IS NO GOD BUT GOD AND MOHAMED IS HIS PROPHET. Deal with this

      October 29, 2012 at 8:58 pm |
    • Larry

      If God made everybody have sin, through his intent or his own faulty design, then he is the guilty one, not humans.

      Jesus never died – he is theoretically immortal, and there is no shallower sacrifice than the non-sacrifice he chose. It was all a set up, a another guilt trip. He sacrificed nothing, and knew it.

      It's things like that which make religion preposterous.

      October 29, 2012 at 9:00 pm |
  12. David B

    I was wondering what Stephen would have said around 4,000 years ago when Noah was building his ark and warning the people to repent, would Stephen had said " As for me, I am not sure that God wills for our flood!" ....

    October 29, 2012 at 8:43 pm |
    • Chad @ Cape Cod

      Yeah, that wasnt very nice at all- killing nearly every living thing like that. God should be brought to justice for his crimes.

      October 29, 2012 at 8:48 pm |
    • sqeptiq

      II you can point out some evidence for Noah that wasn't cribbed from a heathen Babylonian story, more of us might believe in your magical sky fairy and his "autobiography."

      October 29, 2012 at 8:53 pm |
    • Yeah

      David, can you answer some questions for us about Noah's Ark?

      How did Noah round up two of each of the 3,000,000,000 land species from all around the world and bring them to the ark?

      How did Noah build a 440' ark out of wood when all attempts to make wooden ships over about 350' failed (wood is nowhere near strong enough, no matter how much you use).

      How did the get 6,000,000 animals and all their food on a 1,500,000 cubic foot boat? That's 1/4 cubic foot per animal and it's food and water.

      How did the 8 people on board feed the animals? Each of them would have to feed 5 species (10 animals) a second, nonstop, for the entire trip, just to feed them once a day (many animals require much more).

      How did the animals get back to all those different continents, and what did they eat? If there are two squirrels, then the coyotes eat them and then starve, ets, etc.

      How did all the human races come from Noah and his family, and how did they get to the other continents? How and when did they change color and attributes?

      October 29, 2012 at 9:38 pm |
  13. Chad @ Cape Cod

    I cant believe that in 2012 we are still talking about god. Its disturbing that we condone, as a country, adults bringing their imaginary friends into business, politics and journalism.

    October 29, 2012 at 8:43 pm |
    • fred

      Shucks every last one of our presidents stood tall on their belief in Christ. Seems if you're not a Christian you cannot be trusted with important matters that effect mankind. Go ahead mock all you want that is what they did in the days of Noah before the flood waters came. The next judgement will be just as sudden and unexpected.
      Interesting all your mocking was predicted by Jesus the most powerful figure in history and you still do not get it. The flood was a picture for you clear and simple of how wicked people become that do not know God.

      October 29, 2012 at 8:48 pm |
    • Chad @ Cape Cod

      @ Fred- that's a good one "Jesus was the most powerful figure in history". So powerful he couldnt stand up to a hand full of Roman Legionaries. Hell, by my age your meek carpenter was scourged, tortured and crucified. Whatever choices he made in life it would behoove all of us to do the exact opposite.

      October 29, 2012 at 8:52 pm |
    • sqeptiq

      Fred, you are deeply ignorant of our presidents and their religious beliefs. And deeply in thrall to ridiculous myths.

      October 29, 2012 at 8:56 pm |
    • fred

      Go back and read what happened to the army that came to arrest Jesus. They all fainted when he said I am the one your are looking for.
      You will also fall down when you see God. Take careful note in the day of Noah the were mocking Noah and his God during the 120 years Noah was building the Arc in the middle of a land that had not seen rain.

      October 29, 2012 at 8:59 pm |
    • Hassan

      listen you creature, don't talk about GOD if its like he is a friend of yours or a THING. HE IS GOG the creator of u, me and everything on this earth. So have respect for GOD.

      October 29, 2012 at 9:01 pm |
    • Chad @ Cape Cod

      @ Fred- So if the Roman Soldiers fainted when Jesus said "I'm the one your looking for" Why didnt Jesus walk away? Your savior doesnt sound very bright. I like how all of your arguments come from the bible, your ancient comic book written hundreds of years after the death of your fabled Jesus.

      October 29, 2012 at 9:05 pm |
    • fred

      sqeptiq
      Oh, let's see you are saying Obama is not a christian but a big liar, Bush not a christian but a liar, Clinton not a christian but a liar, Bush Sr. not a christian but a liar, Reagan not a christian but a liar, Ford not a Christian but a liar, Nixon not a Christian but a liar, Carter not a christian but a liar, Johnson, etc,etc, etc.
      Interesting that you cannot see how you have duped yourself.

      October 29, 2012 at 9:06 pm |
    • fred

      Chad
      You know the story. Jesus came to give his life for us. The life of Jesus is a contrast of good and evil. Look at what mankind did to Jesus yet Jesus said "Father forgive them for they know not what they do"
      This is the person you mock? Even if you do not believe he was Christ look at the evil behavior of the religious priests of that day then contrast that with Jesus the innocent lamb of God. If you want to keep mocking at least read Luke 23 at the two types of people in this world represented by the two criminals with Christ. Note how simple to tell who goes with Jesus and who does not.:
      35 The people stood watching, and the rulers even sneered at him. They said, “He saved others; let him save himself if he is God’s Messiah, the Chosen One.”

      36 The soldiers also came up and mocked him. They offered him wine vinegar 37 and said, “If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself.”

      38 There was a written notice above him, which read: this is the king of the jews.

      39 One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!”

      40 But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? 41 We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.”

      42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.[d]”

      43 Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

      October 29, 2012 at 9:14 pm |
  14. Kyle

    You are asking the wrong thing when you say, If God is all powerful and good, why do bad things happen to good people? The bible is very clear in in Romans 3: 9-12 What then? Are we better than they? ("we" referring to belivers and "they" referring to non-belivers) Not at all; for we have already charged that both Jews and Greeks (all people) are all under sin 10 as it is written, "There is NONE righteous, not even one; 11 there is NONE who understands, there is NONE who seeks for God; 12 all of turned aside, togethey they have become useless. There is NONE who does good, there is NOT even ONE.

    None seek after God, until he grants that precious gift of grace and God does the pursing and initiating and grants the gift of faith to those who realize that HE is the only way to everlasting life. This is the gift that allows the beliver to submit themselves to a God that loves them. And just because we follow God and give our lives to Christ does not mean we will walk this live a road filled with great things and no problems, on the contrary, we may experience much difficulty. The question you should be asking is, Why do good things happen to bad people?

    October 29, 2012 at 8:35 pm |
    • cleareye1

      First, if you are unable to defend the existence of your 'god' without referring to some old, human written text, repeatedly translated from one language to another, and another, your position is hopeless.

      October 29, 2012 at 8:38 pm |
    • truth be told

      In these last days God has revealed Himself to us in the person of His Son Jesus Christ.

      October 29, 2012 at 8:42 pm |
    • TruthSeeker

      Ok, maybe the bible is clear. But why believe what it says? Being clear about a position and being right about it are two separate things. Thats why, as the poster above says, you need to refer outside of your text to prove it. The bible cannot prove itself, nothing can.

      October 29, 2012 at 8:44 pm |
    • truth be told

      The Old Testament, confirmed for accuracy with the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls contains passages authored direct by God Himself. All scripture is God breathed, some is God written.

      October 29, 2012 at 8:44 pm |
    • Chad @ Cape Cod

      If god reveals himself, he needs a one way ticket to Gitmo. That SOB has a lot to answer for: cancer, the holocaust, country music... he may just be the worst villain ever known.

      October 29, 2012 at 8:46 pm |
    • Athy

      Oh, get lost, truth. You sound like an idiot with that "end days" bullshit. Ain't gonna happen.

      October 29, 2012 at 8:47 pm |
    • Hassan

      Truth if bold, Jesus is NOT son of GOD. deal with this fact

      October 29, 2012 at 8:53 pm |
    • sqeptiq

      Some call it grace; more intelligent people refer to it as insanity.

      October 29, 2012 at 8:58 pm |
    • aubs

      A lot of people don't belive in God because they thought that they are "The god."

      October 29, 2012 at 9:04 pm |
  15. Humble Man

    Why does it take so many Religious people to screw in a lightbulb

    October 29, 2012 at 8:27 pm |
    • Humble Man

      Because their so darn stupid!

      October 29, 2012 at 8:28 pm |
    • You Burn-In Hell Atheist Loser!

      That's a lie, you filthy atheist pig! It takes so long because we pray it in, and dang if the first one still isn't in yet!

      October 29, 2012 at 8:30 pm |
    • cleareye1

      When you pose a question and then answer it yourself with a clever comment about ignorance it would be best if you learned how to spell. Look up 'pitiful' while you're at it!

      October 29, 2012 at 8:41 pm |
    • Athy

      And use "they're" instead of "their".

      October 29, 2012 at 8:43 pm |
    • Mirror Mirror

      You need a comma after "ignorance," cleareye.

      October 29, 2012 at 8:46 pm |
    • truth be told

      Without prayer there would not be a light bulb to put in.

      October 29, 2012 at 8:48 pm |
    • Athy

      So god made light bulbs, too?

      October 29, 2012 at 8:50 pm |
    • Hassan

      because of the existence of such ignorant people like you who hates all religions

      October 29, 2012 at 8:54 pm |
    • truth be told

      God inspires man to achievements because someone asked God for it in prayer.

      October 29, 2012 at 8:55 pm |
    • Larry

      @hitchy – "God inspires man to achievements because someone asked God for it in prayer."

      So THAT's how they came up with the jackrabbit vibrator!

      October 29, 2012 at 9:03 pm |
  16. Intelligence lowers as faith in a deity/god increases.

    Proven fact – google it

    October 29, 2012 at 8:26 pm |
    • Athy

      Don't even need google, just read these comments.

      October 29, 2012 at 8:51 pm |
    • cristopher hitchens

      From the comments I would conclude the opposite.

      October 29, 2012 at 8:56 pm |
    • sqeptiq

      Sorry Christopher, but you missed out on the critical thinking aspect of your namesake.

      October 29, 2012 at 9:00 pm |
  17. ArthurP

    @cristopher hitchens:

    Well for starters an atheist would not ask the question:

    What is the difference between a New York sewer rat and an Christian ?

    October 29, 2012 at 8:24 pm |
    • Eliminate hinduism, religions corruption of truth absolute by hindu's lairs, for peace, Islam among humanity.

      first one is a hindu filthy atheist, self centered and second is a human.

      October 29, 2012 at 8:41 pm |
    • cristopher hitchens

      The Christian is in the image of God and the rat is in the image of an atheist. Word is science is using atheists in some experiments, turns out there are some things rats won't do.

      October 29, 2012 at 8:50 pm |
    • Athy

      Hey, Christopher. That comment, at least for you, was pretty profound. Congratulations, you're improving.

      October 29, 2012 at 10:32 pm |
  18. themam

    leave God out of this, the guy Stephen Prothero has a death wise and way just well get it as Gov. christi said; you stayed, you on your own.

    October 29, 2012 at 8:23 pm |
    • Ted

      Illiteracy can be cured.

      October 29, 2012 at 8:34 pm |
    • francisthehorse

      These words do not make sense in the order in which you put them...seriously folks, look at what you write before you click send!

      October 29, 2012 at 8:35 pm |
    • themam

      that was da editttted varzion.

      October 29, 2012 at 8:36 pm |
    • sqeptiq

      Could you translate that comment into english, themam?

      October 29, 2012 at 9:03 pm |
  19. cristopher hitchens

    What is the difference between a New York City sewer rat and an atheist?

    October 29, 2012 at 8:22 pm |
    • Larry

      The rat believes in God.

      October 29, 2012 at 8:23 pm |
    • Jon

      The difference is the rat don't know how dumb religious people are

      October 29, 2012 at 8:24 pm |
    • Derke

      Only the atheist is enlightened?

      October 29, 2012 at 8:24 pm |
    • cristopher hitchens

      As a created creature the rat would indeed believe in God. The rat also would have way more class. Word is they are using atheists in certain scientific experiments. Apparently there are some things rats won't do.

      October 29, 2012 at 8:31 pm |
    • Zachary Smith

      You actually think that rats believe in the Christian god?

      There is no bottom to the pit of religious ignorance!

      October 29, 2012 at 8:36 pm |
    • cristopher hitchens

      The only part of creation that has the choice to accept or deny God is mankind and only the very foolish do so.

      October 29, 2012 at 8:38 pm |
    • cristopher hitchens

      Only the extremely foolish deny God. Sewer rats are way more intelligent than atheists in that respect.

      October 29, 2012 at 8:39 pm |
    • He finally gets one right!

      @ Hitchy "The only part of creation that has the choice to accept or deny God is mankind and only the very foolish do so.

      You said it!

      October 29, 2012 at 8:43 pm |
    • sqeptiq

      Christopher, you equate rats and christians as believers and atheists as the opposite. I'll go with the atheists on that one.

      October 29, 2012 at 9:07 pm |
  20. Not Buying It

    Religion is purely a human mechanism designed to keep the poor from murdering the rich. Nothing more. Wake up, people.

    October 29, 2012 at 8:21 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.