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. Dawkins is my homeboy

    Its like Satan wants to jam an empty wine bottle in your turd cutter an kick your stomach till its a bag of glass and your leaking out your bung like you blew a gasket. Jesus knows what I'm saying.

    October 29, 2012 at 11:48 pm |
    • Poltergiest

      This screams enlightened. Everyone should think just like this guy.

      October 29, 2012 at 11:55 pm |
  2. Rufus T. Firefly

    Maybe the storm is the result of warm air currents rising and pulling in surrounding air until the cyclonic action formed an eye of low pressure that began spinning counterclockwise toward lower air pressure. Call me crazy.

    October 29, 2012 at 11:47 pm |
    • midwest rail

      Nah – couldn't possibly be that.

      October 29, 2012 at 11:49 pm |
    • tallulah13

      You're a wacky, wacky guy.

      October 30, 2012 at 12:19 am |
    • BLASPHEMER!!!!!!!!!!


      "It's just weather" . . . what a dingbat you are! It's obviously the work of my (and no other) invisibuddy!

      October 30, 2012 at 1:32 am |
  3. Anybody know how to read?

    '2Ti 3:13 But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.' .......Plenty of volunteers.

    October 29, 2012 at 11:43 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Sure I know how to read. I think the important question here is do you know how to think?

      October 30, 2012 at 12:20 am |
  4. Reality

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

    And to this we offer our favorite prayer:

    The Apostles' Creed 2012: (updated by yours truly and based on the studies of historians and theologians of the past 200 years)

    Should I believe in a god whose existence cannot be proven
    and said god if he/she/it exists resides in an unproven,
    human-created, spirit state of bliss called heaven??

    I believe there was a 1st century CE, Jewish, simple,
    preacher-man who was conceived by a Jewish carpenter
    named Joseph living in Nazareth and born of a young Jewish
    girl named Mary. (Some say he was a mamzer.)

    Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by
    the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under Pontius Pilate,

    He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies
    a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of

    Said Jesus' story was embellished and "mythicized" by
    many semi-fiction writers. A descent into Hell, a bodily resurrection
    and ascension stories were promulgated to compete with the
    Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
    grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
    and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
    called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.

    (references used are available upon request)

    October 29, 2012 at 11:29 pm |
  5. snowboarder

    this may be the only time i have ever agreed with steve.

    October 29, 2012 at 11:12 pm |
    • Athy

      Who's Steve?

      October 29, 2012 at 11:14 pm |
    • snowboarder

      athy – the writer.

      October 29, 2012 at 11:16 pm |
    • Athy

      The writer of what?

      October 29, 2012 at 11:19 pm |
    • Poltergiest

      See Athy, this is why you read beyond the first sentence and pay attention to content. 🙂

      October 29, 2012 at 11:21 pm |
    • Athy

      I still don't know who Steve is.

      October 29, 2012 at 11:28 pm |
    • Athy

      Got it. The writer of the article. Sometimes I'm a little slow.

      October 29, 2012 at 11:31 pm |
    • Poltergiest

      He's referring to the article's author, Stephen Prothero.

      October 29, 2012 at 11:33 pm |
    • tallulah13

      It's that Steve/Stephen thing. Confused me to, at first.

      October 30, 2012 at 12:21 am |
  6. Isaiah 45:7

    I form the light and create darkness, I bring prosperity and create disaster; I, the LORD, do all these things.

    October 29, 2012 at 11:10 pm |
    • Athy

      I'm impressed!

      October 29, 2012 at 11:16 pm |
    • A Frayed Knot

      Isaiah 45:7

      The high-blown fantasies of ancient Hebrew drama queens... quite stirring, but with NO basis in fact.

      October 29, 2012 at 11:27 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Meanwhile, in the real world, all it takes to understand most natural phenomena is a computer with internet access and the willingness to actually learn something.

      October 30, 2012 at 12:24 am |
    • Book of Armaments Chapter 4 Verses 16-20

      Then did he raise on high the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch, saying, "Bless this, O Lord, that with it thou mayst blow thine enemies to tiny bits, in thy mercy." And the people did rejoice and did feast upon the lambs and toads and tree-sloths and fruit-bats and orangutans and breakfast cereals ... Now did the Lord say, "First thou pullest the Holy Pin. Then thou must count to three. Three shall be the number of the counting and the number of the counting shall be three. Four shalt thou not count, neither shalt thou count two, excepting that thou then proceedeth to three. Five is right out. Once the number three, being the number of the counting, be reached, then lobbest thou the Holy Hand Grenade in the direction of thine foe, who, being naughty in my sight, shall snuff it."

      October 30, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
  7. Trixit

    bad weather. unfortunate people. hope for the best. life goes on after.


    October 29, 2012 at 11:03 pm |
  8. Amy

    Here are a couple of ideas: 1)Maybe God is angry at all the sin on the East Coast and decided to clean house. 2)Or maybe, he's trying to help the economy by having a disaster so bad that millions of jobs will be created in the cleanup and rebuilding effort!

    October 29, 2012 at 10:39 pm |
    • Athy

      Maybe he's trying to kill two birds with one storm.

      October 29, 2012 at 10:42 pm |
    • Answer

      So god is an economist.. nice.

      Do tell the world what else you actually know about god.

      October 29, 2012 at 10:42 pm |
    • snowboarder

      or its just a storm.

      October 29, 2012 at 11:11 pm |
    • tallulah13

      My money is on the storm thing. I suspect a lot of people would rather credit god than admit that global warming is real.

      October 30, 2012 at 12:25 am |
  9. Answer

    A better question is:

    Why aren't these evangelicals rushing out to the front of the path of 'Sandy' -to greet what their god has sent- down to them?

    October 29, 2012 at 10:28 pm |
    • ArthurP

      Because like all of the high and mighty their life creed is really 'do as I say not as I do'.

      October 29, 2012 at 10:30 pm |
  10. Clyde Farris

    Gods were created by men and only live in the minds of believers. If someone is wrestling about whether gods cause natural disasters, then the wrestling match is between reason and ignorance.

    October 29, 2012 at 10:26 pm |
    • Athy

      Accurate and to the point. Thank you.

      October 29, 2012 at 10:35 pm |
    • KMac

      I have always found peculiar the tendency of so-called atheists to be so fundamentally dogmatic, while preaching against the very practice. As they are busy complaining about the "closed-minded evangelicals," they fail to see through their own blatant hypocrisy. Hopefully someday you too can rise above your self-proclaimed “enlightenment.”

      October 29, 2012 at 11:02 pm |
    • Poltergiest

      Very true, how can someone proclaim themselves free and enlightened when they seem so obsessed with converting the rest of the world to their beliefs and so intolerant of those who don't agree? Athiest are capable of the same evils anyone else is, as Mao and Stalin have demonstrated. What makes them scary is their delusional belief that all the ills of the world will simply vanish if people stopped believing in religion as if all of the other geopolitical factors affecting the world would vanish as well. It's a very naive viewpoint.

      October 29, 2012 at 11:19 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Since there is not a single shred of evidence to support the existence of any god, but ample, factual evidence as to the cause of weather and other natural phenomena, it sort of makes me wonder why some christians persist in calling unbelievers "closed-minded" and others pointlessly bring up communist despots such as Stalin and Mao. I suspect it's nothing more than an effort to divert attention from the fact that their belief is little more than indoctrination, wishful thinking and cultural habit.

      October 30, 2012 at 12:34 am |
    • Poltergiest

      Those despots are pointed out to counter the very common arguement that wars are caused by religion. Remove religion and you still have violent bloody people that want power and control. So what big transformation is the lack of religion supposed to bring? Two revolutions have picked athiesm as an official stance, and they've shown that it takes more than getting rid of God to make a fair and rational society. What's more even with an official athiest stance, they've never actually been able to eliminate religion in the population without resorting to violent acts or repressing the population. The 800 lb talking gorilla says that removing God does nothing to change the nastiness of man towards mankind.

      Close mindedness comes into play in how athiest deal with those who choose to believe. When you've decided to not consider a possibility and to disrespect those who think differently that is called being closed minded. We could engage in the usual, "well you can't prove god," "well you can't disprove god," circle argument but it comes down to a matter of whether you chose to believe or not. If you can't accept that a person can believe in God and still be a rational human being this is because you are being close minded. You choose to ignore the fact that rational and irrational people, great minds and idiots, have come from virtually every belief system in favor of a narrow view of the world in which only an athiest is capable of rational thought despite the numerous historical examples to the contrary.

      No ones arguing that storms aren't caused by natural phenomena.

      October 30, 2012 at 1:04 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      Well the Stalin and Mao was a response for the "Hitler was a Christian" battle cry from the Radical Atheist. Each side wants to hang the label or tag on the opposing side to try to say that all of that side are the mirror of these horrible guys.

      I look at History. A.Phillip Randolph and Martin Luther King ... an Atheist and a Minster, came together and help to advance civil rights. Now if the same Atheist compared all Christians to Martin Luther King and their counterparts compared all Atheist to A.Phillip Randolph... then it would promote tolerance and acceptance but would also take away the reason for some who live to fight the other side.

      October 30, 2012 at 1:12 am |
    • Dippy

      Mark. You need to work on the rules of capitalization.

      October 30, 2012 at 1:16 am |
    • Thomas Legrand

      The first lame attempt to link religion/irreligion to despots was, of course, the Christians, who have been doing it long before Hitler ever rose to power.

      However, if you are saying that none of their actions has anything to do with religion or irreligion, that their actions are those of totalitarian despots, who kill and oppress whatever their view on religion, then we agree. For that is the truth.

      October 30, 2012 at 1:18 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      SoRrY mY bAd, 🙂

      October 30, 2012 at 1:22 am |
    • Thomas Legrand

      Actually, Dippy, the correct punctuation for your post would be: "Mark: You need to work on the rules of capitalization."

      A period makes no sense there.

      You have repeatedly tried to correct other people's posts, but you usually make errors yourself. I would suggest abandoning your language-vigilante thing, for nothing looks more insipid than a fool who makes errors while condescendingly correcting other people's errors.

      You need to heed your own advice instead of giving it.

      October 30, 2012 at 1:22 am |
    • Dippy

      My punctuation was also correct. Live with it.

      October 30, 2012 at 1:27 am |
    • Thomas Legrand

      No, your punctuation is ridiculous. Do you really want to say that "Mark" is a complete sentence, worthy of a period? You are a verb short of the shortest possible sentence. The correct punctuation is a colon.

      October 30, 2012 at 1:36 am |
    • Dippy

      Thomas. The period delimits the addressee – see most of the other posts. A colon there makes even less sense. If you're trying to make it conversational then a comma would be correct.

      October 30, 2012 at 1:38 am |
    • Poltergiest

      Yes Thomas, we are in agreement. Vile people come from all belief systems and will find a way to abuse whatever system so they can to get what they want.

      October 30, 2012 at 1:42 am |
    • Thomas Legrand

      Oh Dippy, you are just playing the fool. You don't get to invent your own punctuation rules, and you are a thoroughly incompetent language vigilante. You must be a Christian.

      Enough of you, little one.

      October 30, 2012 at 1:50 am |
    • tallulah13

      Yet communist despots have no more to do with natural phenomena that does any god, and I saw no mention of Hitler in this article nor the responses to it. Again, I suspect the mention was intended to distract from the fact this very article is foolish because there is no proof that god even exists, much less that he is punishing anyone with weather.

      October 30, 2012 at 1:51 am |
    • Poltergiest

      This is a stupid article. Hardly anyone believes God is punishing people through weather. My OP didn't have anything to do with the weather really. What's being argued?

      October 30, 2012 at 1:57 am |
    • Thomas Legrand

      @Poltergeist – the linkage I discussed was with totalitarians. That does not exclude the reality that religion has indeed caused many wars, such as the many religious wars in Europe following Martin Luther, or the Crusades, or the Catholic-driven invasion of Russia in the time of Alexandr Nevsky, or the English Civil War, where Puritans overthrew the monarchy and set up a nasty, oppressive little theocracy.

      And we should also mention the Inquisitions, and that sort of religious darkness.

      You see, the real point is that wars have been started in the name of religion, and societies have been heavily oppressed in the name of God, but there is no war I have ever heard of where atheism was even one of the reasons it was started, and I do not know of any oppressive society that said "we are cracking down on dissidence in the name of no-god!"

      That is the difference.

      October 30, 2012 at 1:58 am |
    • Mittology

      KMAC. While noone knows what was before the Big Bang, we do know that science provides the only explanation for what is known since. We know therefore that all creation myths are incorrect and we know that the majority of the bible is incorrect. So tragedies expose this nonsense about god and god's will and why this supposedly powerful being would allow the tragedies. Noone in their right can attribute this to god and certainly not as retribution for something that a particular religion deems offensive.

      October 30, 2012 at 2:04 am |
    • Poltergiest

      These wars have been called using religion as a rallying cry, but they've always been motivated by very practical reasons. The crusades for example were initially a response to Turkish encroachment on the Byzyntine Empire. The fact that the middle east was a center of trade and full of rich sackable cities was also a bonus. Was the Inquistion done to preserve Christianity from heretics or was it simply used to oppress dissidents that might challenge the authority of the major political force in Europe, the catholic church? Is it really that different from the purges seen in Soviet Russia after the revolution? Every conflict has a practical reason for occuring that is nonreligious and about control of resources, territory, or political power.

      I've yet to see a single war in history were the churches and temples are the things being fought over as opposed to target of strategic or economic value. Of course if your society is strongly religious, you will claim your diety is on your side.

      October 30, 2012 at 2:24 am |
    • Thomas Legrand

      I'm afraid I don't buy that, but I give you credit for saying it well. That politics was at work is not being debated. That religion was at the forefront of these disaters really cannot be challenged. To say that the wars that followed Luther or the Inquisitions were not religious is just indefensible. Religion clearly was at the forefront of the events. It was one of the major reasons for those events, and one would have to pervert the definitions of religion and religious to create what you suggest. But that is just revisionist history.

      With the Purges, religion was rarely a reason. Less than 1% of the victims were targetted for religious reasons, and that includes where religion was only one of many reasons. The largest percentage of Purge victims was, ironically, loyal communists. Very different scenario.

      You just aren't going to get any traction with your theory that the Crusades and the Inquisition were actually not religious.

      October 30, 2012 at 2:35 am |
    • Poltergiest

      There's nothing revionist about what I said, you can find any of those reasons and more in a history book. What I'm saying is those reasons carried far more weight than the actual faith itself. During the middle ages there was no strong political authority other than the remnant of the Roman Empire that was the Catholic Church. It was a politcal organization first, and religious one second. When the Pope was convinced to launch the crusades, they were for practical strategic reasons, to stop the Turks, once they reclaimed Jerusalem in the firs Crusade, most the military went home as opposed to defending the so called holy city. I doubt that anyone would have tolerated the Turks encroaching on their territory even if they weren't Muslims and Christians. Note that the second and third crusades didn't result in the capture of Jerusalem at all, but they did get significant strategic targets, like port cities along the medditeraian coast, which gave Europe access to trade they couldn't get otherwise. Even without God, there was every reason for these two people to go to war.

      I don't see why you don't make the link between an inquisition and a purge. Inquisitions picked targets for political reasons, the charge of heresy was commonly used against people who simply challenged church authority, like Luther, or Galileo. Likewise, Russian purges targeted anyone who Stalin felt might challenge his authority. Note that the Catholic Church was fine absorbing a large ammount of pagan beliefs or it would have had to declare most Europeans heretics. They would allow ideas that didn't challenege their authority, but those that did were silenced. Again the motivations were largely politcal.

      There nothing revisionist about this, most history professors would mark you down if you cited religion as the major reason for these events because their were many factors for them.

      October 30, 2012 at 8:53 am |
  11. Question

    Why are evangelicals so judgmental?

    October 29, 2012 at 10:22 pm |
    • ArthurP

      and angry..

      October 29, 2012 at 10:24 pm |
    • Harvey Rabbit

      Why do most second graders have better writing skills?

      October 29, 2012 at 10:33 pm |
    • Athy

      It's painfully obvious on these blogs that the atheists have much superior writing skills than the bible babblers. I can almost always tell which is which after reading the first sentence without even paying attention to the content.

      October 29, 2012 at 10:40 pm |
  12. ArthurP

    Christian Fundamentalist: Life only exists on Earth. God made it so.

    Scientist find life on another Planet.

    Christian Fundamentalist: Intelligent life only exists on Earth. God made it so.

    Scientist find intelligent life on another Planet.

    Christian Fundamentalist: Intelligent life with a soul only exists on Earth. God made it so.

    Alien missionaries arrive to save the souls of the people of Earth by spreading the word of the True God who's only daughter was born, preached, and died on their planet.

    October 29, 2012 at 10:22 pm |
    • Dippy

      It's "whose", not "who's".

      October 30, 2012 at 12:05 am |
    • Thomas Legrand

      The comma and period go inside exclamation marks, not outside of them.

      You are a very incompetent language vigilante, Dippy!

      October 30, 2012 at 1:26 am |
    • Dippy

      There were no exclamation points in my post.

      October 30, 2012 at 1:34 am |
    • Dippy

      No they don't.

      October 30, 2012 at 1:35 am |
    • Thomas Legrand

      From grammar dot com:

      "Quotation Marks

      Rule 1

      Periods and commas always go inside quotation marks, even inside single quotes.

      The sign changed from "Walk," to "Don't Walk," to "Walk" again within 30 seconds.

      She said, "Hurry up."

      She said, "He said, 'Hurry up.'"

      October 30, 2012 at 2:00 am |
    • Mittology

      Thomas, that would depend upon which country you learned English in.

      October 30, 2012 at 2:11 am |
    • Dippy

      Check the British rules for quotation marks (and they are not "exclamation" marks).

      October 30, 2012 at 2:12 am |
    • Dippy

      So, Tommy Legrand, do you now know the difference between American and British rules for quotation marks? And do you know the difference between quotation marks and exclamation points?

      October 30, 2012 at 2:30 am |
    • Dippy

      I'll give you a hint. One is ! and the other is ". Got it?

      October 30, 2012 at 2:33 am |
    • Thomas Legrand

      Ah, little one, you are so bitter for having been busted repeatedly on your errors! Stew in your bitter juices, my phony Brit!

      October 30, 2012 at 2:39 am |
    • Dippy

      But you never busted me! It's the other way around. Sorry, amigo.

      October 30, 2012 at 2:43 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Dippy is correct. And Dippy rocks grammar.

      October 30, 2012 at 12:26 pm |
  13. Blane

    I weep for those dying tonight who will never know God.

    October 29, 2012 at 10:15 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      What a useless self-serving double edged comment you have.

      October 29, 2012 at 10:16 pm |
    • Harvey Rabbit

      Hawaii is right – the is incredibly condescending, arrogant and self-important of you, Blane.

      October 29, 2012 at 10:26 pm |
    • ArthurP

      And I weep for those dying tonight who wasted every Sunday in church instead of enjoying it. do fun, creative and exciting stuff.

      October 29, 2012 at 10:34 pm |
    • Athy

      Like throwing out that fucing bible and reading something useful.

      October 29, 2012 at 10:44 pm |
    • Athy

      Sorry, meant to say "fucking".

      October 29, 2012 at 10:46 pm |
    • tallulah13

      I weep for the people who have the misfortune of having to deal with such a selfish individual as Blane.

      But I do hope for the best for all those people who are affected by this storm, no matter what their belief.

      October 30, 2012 at 12:36 am |
  14. tony

    And by doing something unexpected, completely overthrow god's supposed purpose for others.

    October 29, 2012 at 9:58 pm |
  15. There is no logic in religion

    If God already knows what will happen, can you imagine how boring it would be to be god? It would be like spending billions of years watching an I Love Lucy rerun.

    And if he know what will happen, then he can't change anything. So he too must act according to the plan, and spends billions of years doing what he preordained, no changes, no surprises, nothing but boredom.

    Never mind the fact that everything about you is necessarily predetermined, and thus individuals cannot be responsible for the plan that God imposed on them. There cannot be free will, and thus there cannot be guilt or judgement. If he sends you to hell for what he planned, then God is intensely cruel and unjust.

    Religion: the less you think about it, the more sense it makes.

    October 29, 2012 at 9:57 pm |
    • Eliminate hinduism, religions corruption of truth absolute by hindu's lairs, for peace, Islam among humanity.

      word hindu is based on Latin word hindered, negative, Hun, great, Han, to be in greatness, hin, to be negative to both of them, hindu, a noun in negativity, hinduism, way of negativity.
      Visit limitisthetruth.com to learn about hinduism, criminality of hindu's, criminals to impose hinduism, racism on humanity by hinduism, corruption of truth absolute by force. Be a human, not a hindu, ignorant like a hindu, out law.

      October 29, 2012 at 10:08 pm |


      October 30, 2012 at 2:20 am |
    • Athy

      James, turn off your fucking caps lock. It just makes your meaningless post look even more childish.

      October 30, 2012 at 2:36 am |
  16. tony

    The pro-religious posters on the blog, with their incredibly ridiculous justification postings are creating far more atheists than we could ever have hoped for by normal communication methods.

    October 29, 2012 at 9:57 pm |
    • Johnny Blammo

      Absolutely true. Religious people are far better recruiters to secularism than atheists ever could be.

      I see my role here as a catalyst, to get them talking and let their weird beliefs come out on their own.

      October 29, 2012 at 9:59 pm |
    • Eliminate hinduism, religions corruption of truth absolute by hindu's lairs, for peace, Islam among humanity.

      They speak of their hindu atheism, filthy self center ism, and lay it on GOD to please their hindu soul, filthy desire,

      October 29, 2012 at 10:07 pm |
    • Answer

      Confronting a religious zealot on "why they believe their bs" is the surefire way to educate everyone else about their wacky religion.

      October 29, 2012 at 10:07 pm |
    • Poltergiest

      It gets balanced out by overly angry sounding post from the more juvenile athiest.

      October 29, 2012 at 10:41 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      Its just funny that people really believe there are any "on the fence" or undecided who would really come to a Religious Blog like this. Mostly its just radical Atheist and Faithful preaching to their own choirs.

      October 30, 2012 at 1:02 am |
    • Zingo

      Actually, for us atheists, it's the intellectual version of midget-tossing. Just a nice laugh at the truly insane beliefs of all too many people.

      FLING! There goes Muddle Mark now!

      October 30, 2012 at 1:13 am |
    • Dippy

      Mark. You still need help with capitalization. You should have learned this in fifth grade.

      October 30, 2012 at 1:20 am |
    • Poltergiest

      Another analogy might be a circle jerk.

      October 30, 2012 at 1:20 am |
    • Thomas Legrand

      Again you punctuate incorrectly, Dippy. Use a colon instead.

      October 30, 2012 at 1:25 am |
    • Dippy

      A period, colon, or comma are all acceptable. Keep trying.

      October 30, 2012 at 1:46 am |
    • Poltergiest

      The period isn't, but whatever.

      October 30, 2012 at 1:50 am |
  17. ArthurP

    If only God can create life then I have dominion over God because he has to wait for me, you know the chap with free will, to have se.x before he can create life. I in effect tell him when he can create life.

    October 29, 2012 at 9:51 pm |
    • Athy

      Hey, that means we have sex over god! Ain't that great?

      October 29, 2012 at 10:49 pm |
    • Poltergiest

      I'm guessing this free will involves chloroform if it's just you.

      October 29, 2012 at 10:51 pm |
  18. Evangelical

    Vote Romney/Ryan 2012! They are the team most likely to advance the Christian agenda. They are pro-life and anti-ho.mos.exual rights. They are exactly who we need at this point in history to stem the tide of secularism.

    October 29, 2012 at 9:50 pm |
    • Chad @ Cape Cod

      Please leave the republican party. It's idiots like you who drag us down. Vote Romney-Ryan because they can fix the financial mess and cease spending taxpayer money like a teenage with a credit card.

      October 29, 2012 at 9:53 pm |
    • Answer

      I am glad that you evangelical freaks are threatened. It makes me happy to hear; as well as see your raving lunatic words against secularism.

      October 29, 2012 at 9:54 pm |
    • Theodore

      If Romney and the Republicans are the most godly, and Christians are praying for them to win in huge numbers, then what happens when they lose the presidency and the Senate on election night?

      October 29, 2012 at 10:01 pm |
    • Evangelical

      They won't lose. I've been saying it since last winter, conservative Republicans will win the presidency and will be swept into Congress. It's going to be a day of jubilation.

      October 29, 2012 at 10:06 pm |
    • Answer

      The sweet delusions of the evangelicals.. it's so hilarious to watch the spittle frothing out of their mouths. XD

      October 29, 2012 at 10:09 pm |
    • John G.

      If they do lose, then your God failed you, and he did not answer your prayers as Jesus said surely would be answered.

      How are you going to lie to yourself and say it was God's will then?

      October 29, 2012 at 10:11 pm |
    • Poltergiest

      For them as they deregulate and give eachother cut backs while sucking more wealth out the nation while telling you to lift yourself up by bootstraps.

      October 29, 2012 at 10:13 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      Well according to Evangelical, his god's will is that the rich get richer, and the middle class becomes the lower, and the lower class dies off.

      October 29, 2012 at 10:15 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      It's a good thing Evangelicals god doesn't exist.

      October 29, 2012 at 10:15 pm |
    • TrollAlert

      "Ronald Regonzo" who degenerates to:
      "Salvatore" degenerates to:
      "Douglas" degenerates to:
      "Evangelical" degenerates to:
      "truth be told" degenerates to:
      "Thinker23" degenerates to:
      "Atheism is not healthy ..." degenerates to:
      "another repentant sinner" degenerates to:
      "Dodney Rangerfield" degenerates to:
      "tina" degenerates to:
      "captain america" degenerates to:
      "Atheist Hunter" degenerates to:
      "Anybody know how to read? " degenerates to:
      "just sayin" degenerates to:
      "ImLook'nUp" degenerates to:
      "Kindness" degenerates to:
      "Chad" degenerates to
      "Bob" degenerates to
      "nope" degenerates to:
      "2357" degenerates to:
      "WOW" degenerates to:
      "fred" degenerates to:
      "!" degenerates to:
      "pervert alert"

      This troll is not a christian.

      October 30, 2012 at 7:17 am |
  19. John G.

    Allow me to summarize:

    Natural disaster brings up the "Problem of Evil." Religions fail miserably at the Problem of Evil. All attempts to defend a deity in the face of evil will lead to ridiculous positions.

    The Problem of Evil is a real acid bath for the validity of a religion, and none have passed the test.

    October 29, 2012 at 9:49 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      I've always had a problem with the label of "Problem of Evil". It's probably better described (though not as catchy), as the problem of unnecessary suffering.

      October 29, 2012 at 9:51 pm |
    • Evangelical

      It is free will. Free will brings down God's wrath.

      October 29, 2012 at 9:52 pm |
    • Poltergiest

      You know what sounds pretty evil? The richest nation on the planet, sitting next to an island so poor they can't even build the structures required to protect themselves from a cat 1 hurricane. That's pretty dang manevolent.

      October 29, 2012 at 9:56 pm |
    • hawaiiguest


      Which god? What evidence is there that that god exists?

      October 29, 2012 at 9:58 pm |
    • Evangelical

      I need to explain my comment better. When people exercise there free will and choose evil, God's wrath is brought down upon them. No doubt New York/New Jersey is a nest of sinners. Somebody has to say it ... they are under God's judgement tonight.

      October 29, 2012 at 9:58 pm |
    • Answer

      Ya it's Zeus' wrath.. that is for sure!

      October 29, 2012 at 9:58 pm |
    • Poltergiest

      Evangelical, have you never read the book of Job?

      October 29, 2012 at 10:01 pm |
    • Evangelical


      Yes, I have. But this is not a test of the faithful. Everybody knows the decadence of that area. Just as Katrina was sent to put right New Orleans, so Sandy is sent to New York/New Jersey.

      October 29, 2012 at 10:10 pm |
    • hawaiiguest


      Still didn't answer my question.

      October 29, 2012 at 10:11 pm |
    • Answer

      "sent" <<- LOL

      October 29, 2012 at 10:12 pm |
    • Poltergiest

      Evangelical, just because you see some shows on TV doesn't mean you know anything about an area or the people in it.

      October 29, 2012 at 10:27 pm |
    • Romnesia

      Evangelical. You really are judgemental scum.

      October 29, 2012 at 10:29 pm |
    • Anybody know how to read?


      October 29, 2012 at 11:15 pm |
    • Branka

      The book of Job is instructive regarding the existence of evil in this world. There is apparently a controversy raging between God and Satan that events in this world will help settle. God allows Satan to have sway so that Satan can demonstrate his principles. Look also at the book of Revelation for information about this very real spiritual battle. Jesus exemplifies God's wonderful character and His principles. In this controversy we all take sides, like it or not; we get to choose whose principles we like best. God's principle of self-sacrificing love and submission to His unchangeable divine law or Satan's principle of "Me-first" selfishness. We are not always rewarded or punished based on the side we are on or on our good or evil works. Our part is to be faithful to God, help the wounded, be faithful witnesses to His goodness and leave the macro-management of this world safely in God's hands. I believe we are on the verge of momentous times. God has given a finite amount of time for evil to reign on this earth. Thank God there will be an end to suffering and evil in this world and in the universe.

      October 30, 2012 at 8:07 am |
  20. Eliminate hinduism, religions corruption of truth absolute by hindu's lairs, for peace, Islam among humanity.

    word hindu is based on Latin word hindered, negative, Hun, great, Han, to be in greatness, hin, to be negative to both of them, hindu, a noun in negativity, hinduism, way of negativity.
    Visit limitisthetruth.com to learn about hinduism, criminality of hindu's, criminals to impose hinduism, racism on humanity by hinduism, corruption of truth absolute by force. If it was not hinduism, illegality of hindu, denires of truth absolute, humanity would not have any conflict.

    October 29, 2012 at 9:47 pm |
    • Yadda Yadda

      The word "hindu" predates Latin by centuries.

      October 29, 2012 at 9:50 pm |
    • Eliminate hinduism, religions corruption of truth absolute by hindu's lairs, for peace, Islam among humanity.

      Only hy hinduism, absurdity of a hindu, lair, word hindu, ignorant does not appear in hindu scripture before arrival of Muslim's in subcontinent.

      October 29, 2012 at 9:56 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.