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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. Mystic

    You have aborted millions of My children who would have altered the course of tragic events. Your free will interfered with My Providence. You have aborted the person who would have cured cancer. You have eliminated the person who took the car keys from a drunk driver. You have eliminated great men and women who would have stopped wars. You have eliminated the person who would have stopped 9/11

    October 30, 2012 at 7:39 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      The will of God, which presumably controls things like this hurricane, is so easily thwarted?

      October 30, 2012 at 7:44 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      We also 'eliminated' the person who caused a nuclear holocaust. We also 'eliminated' the next Justin Bieber.

      October 30, 2012 at 7:52 am |
    • mbiajc

      Good words for a country (America) in trouble ever since Obama announced that(and I quote) "America is No Longer A Christian Nation" as people have fallen away from, God (Who has given us many blessings) As long as we kept listening to him and following his teachings. Things are only going to get worse. Look at Damascus now then read this: http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Isaiah+17&version=KJV

      October 30, 2012 at 7:55 am |
    • Primewonk

      Except, of course, that it is YOUR god who (by virtue of his claimed omnipotence and omniscience) is personally responsible for 138,000,000 spontaneous abortions each and every year. Get him to knock the shit off, then we'll talk.

      October 30, 2012 at 8:19 am |
  2. No Pearls

    To my Christian brothers and sisters who respond to scoffers who mock God:

    It is time to wipe the dust off your feet and go to the poor- those who live near you, to the projects and crime ridden areas, where Godless "education" has not tainted the mind and ruined the heart. The rich (including middle class) believe they "have need of nothing". The lukewarm will be vomited out of God's mouth. Many have refused the invitation to His feast and are only concerned about their oxen, their land and their marriage.

    Go into the highways and byways and compel the poor and the lame (spiritually and physically) to come and sit where the rich have refused; invite them to the marriage supper of the lamb. If you offer them the real gospel (Christ and Him crucified) and not shiny trinkets that will fade and in the end will melt, they will not refuse, they will not mock as do the rich and educated. "Not may rich, not many noble are called" There is a reason why a camel can go through the eye of a needle easier than a rich man can enter heaven.

    Stop wasting your time casting pearls before swine, and go to those who are needy... offer them the Words of Life, and your hospitality as well. Take in those that respond and make disciples as you have been commanded.

    This is what you are called to do- Quit wasting your time arguing with fools.

    October 30, 2012 at 7:34 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      Target stupid and desperate people. So basically continue the same tactic Christians have employed for the past 2,000 years.

      October 30, 2012 at 7:38 am |
    • No Pearls

      To the "Rational Libertarian": You are the one who called the poor and uneducated "stupid", not I.

      Academia is filled with godless humanism that is the source of foolishness. "The fool has said in his heart, there is no God". "The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom."

      Intelligence and wisdom do not reside only in the classroom. And indeed today, many that lead the classroom are running from God, and thus true wisdom. I have nothing against true education, but irrational humanistic pseudo-science in origins and the arts are not true education, but indeed a false religion.

      Apparently money and education cannot solve our problems, no matter how much we spend on it, scores go down and immorality goes up. You cannot figure this out because you deny God, but there are many who see the correlation, and those that believe in God and trust in Christ know the answer.

      This response is not so much for you, but for those who can see the truth and love God, and yet might not see through your comment to see that you insult the poor. No matter the date within the last 2000 years, TRUE Christianity does not oppress the poor; but more importantly, faith is not about the filthy lucre of this earth. It is about our relationship with God. Many today and throughout the centuries have taught and lived wrong things and called it Christianity, but the clear teaching of the Bible is one that loves wisdom, true learning and most importantly teaches loving your fellow man.

      The fool's "irrationality" cannot understand this, but many people do, it was and is to those that have not rejected God that I made the first comments.

      Now I do speak to you and to all the mockers who slander the name above all names, Jesus Christ. You will one day stand before Jesus Christ and be judged according to His Words.

      You will be FORCED by the Holy presence of His glory to bow your knee to Him, and confess that He is Lord. But it will be too late for repentance on that day. There will only be a chance for all to see the list of lying, stealing, adultery and blasphemy that has inundated your life. There will be no mercy because you have trod underfoot the blood of the lamb that COULD have saved you.

      This is not an argument awaiting response, but a warning of what is to come. There is One who will respond to you, and YES, HIS name IS to be feared.

      Hurricane Sandy may or may not have had anything to do with judgment, but there is coming a day that will have EVERYTHING to do with judgment, and it is the Christ that you mock that is your only hope and will be your judge!

      October 30, 2012 at 8:12 am |
  3. OpposingView

    I find it strange that people find it so easy to blame God for everything when bad things happen, yet they never stop to consider that maybe it's because of something man has done…

    For example, scientists will tell you that the worsening weather patterns you see around the world is all due to global warming, and that global warming is primarily caused by the release of certain chemicals into the air by industrialized nations which negatively impact the ozone layer. So man is the root cause of all the worsening weather patterns you see. Yet, when bad thunderstorms and tornados and hurricanes and tsunami's happen and kill a lot of people, the first person anyone wants to blame for it is God. But God didn't release those chemicals into the air – man did. So why blame God for it? And why should God now go out of his way to protect people from a problem which man created?…

    Here's another example. Imagine a mother who becomes pregnant and the baby is still-born or dies an early death. If you're not careful, that mother will then loose faith and blame God for it. She'll say, Why did God let my baby die? Yet, she never stop to consider all the years of cocaine use, the years of drug abuse, and the years of cigarette smoking she was involved in when back she was younger. She never thinks about that, and the things which has negatively impacted the health of her body. But now years later, she wants to have a baby, and the baby turns out still born. And she now wants to blame God for it. But God is not the blame for it. She is…

    My main point is, people so easily blame God for everything bad that happens, when God is not the blame, man is….

    October 30, 2012 at 7:31 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      If the Abrahamic god exists (which he doesn't), he is responsible for everything, good and bad.

      October 30, 2012 at 7:39 am |
    • Ting

      'Yet, she never stop to consider all the years of cocaine use, the years of drug abuse, and the years of cigarette smoking she was involved in when back she was younger. '

      That's rediculous. Women that have never done drugs or smoked have miscarriages. Are they allowed to blame God? It's a lot easier to accept that there is no god and that biology happens.

      October 30, 2012 at 7:43 am |
    • Jen

      Right. Just like you can't give god credit for any good things that happen either. It works both ways you know. He has nothing to do with good things.

      And lots of people give birth to stillborn children or their children die when they have done NOTHING wrong. It's gross to blame a parent for something bad happening to their child. Just like plenty of people get cancer that are healthy and who make good lifestyle choices. It's called bad luck.

      October 30, 2012 at 7:45 am |
    • OpposingView

      Rational Libertarian… If you're so sure God doesn't exist, prove it. We'd love to see your evidence. Otherwise, your opinion don't mean a thing….

      October 30, 2012 at 7:47 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      Anything proposed without evidence can be instantly dismissed without evidence.

      October 30, 2012 at 7:50 am |
    • OpposingView

      Ting... Don't be so simple-minded. If they haven't done that, then they've done something else – or else their parents did it and passed the defect on to them.. Sin is the cause of all evil in the world. Not God. You cannot escape truth. Maybe you should try not defending the devil for a change...

      October 30, 2012 at 7:53 am |
    • OpposingView

      Rational Libertarian... You stated..."Anything proposed without evidence can be instantly dismissed without evidence."...

      Then we can safely dismiss everything you say.

      October 30, 2012 at 7:55 am |
    • Jarsbait

      To OpposingView...if you want to prove that God exists, go ahead...if you propose the notion that there is something unseen that has unlimited power and controls the universe, I should think the burden is on you for the proof.

      October 30, 2012 at 7:58 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      What Jarsbait said.

      October 30, 2012 at 8:02 am |
    • nope

      @rat...
      nope

      October 30, 2012 at 8:02 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      Says nope to nope.

      October 30, 2012 at 8:05 am |
    • Jarsbait

      The tragedy is that so many waste time wondering and worrying about what might be in the mind of God during trying times. Why did he cause (or ironically, ALLOW) something bad to happen? If there is an omnipotent God controlling these things as as you suggest, the idea that you, or anyone, can know the MIND of that omnipotent being is beyond arrogant.

      October 30, 2012 at 8:09 am |
    • OpposingView

      Jen… There is no "good" without God. If you say otherwise, then you are a liar...

      Mark 10:18 – And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God.

      Secondly, you say a lot of people are born with stillborn children and they have done nothing wrong. And how do you know what they haven't done? Are you God? Do yo know the secrets of their heart? Have you seen them in the midnight hour, or when no one else was around or watching? God know the secrets of every person's heart. He knows even those things they've done in secret. Furthermore, a person can sin in their mind and in their thoughts without ever doing anything wrong physically. No person born upon this earth is blameless. Even a newborn baby is born into sin and is not sin-free. On Judgment Day, you're going to see a whole lot of people whom you had thought was so pure and so holy being cast into the lake for all the sins they've committed. And when God shows you their sins and their secrets, you're going to be surprised…

      So don't be so quick to defend the devil...

      October 30, 2012 at 8:18 am |
    • OpposingView

      Jarsbait... Show me your proof that God doesn't exist, and I'll show you proof he does. Put up or shut up. Otherwise, you have no argument...

      October 30, 2012 at 8:20 am |
    • Jen

      Right. God is only responsible for good. Uh huh. I am a good person and I do not believe in god (well definitely not your god). So I am definitely not lying. Strange that I don't believe in your god and yet nothing but good things have happened in my life. Three healthy children, loving husband, great friends, career, healthy. Too bad that bible thumper Michelle Duggar isn't as good of a person as me since she lost that baby. She must be a terrible person even though she has so much faith in god (I'm sure that late miscarriage had nothing to do with her being in her mid forties).

      I'm sure you think I will pay for my 'sins'. Um nope, I'll probably live a fantastic life with happy healthy kids and live until I am one hundred. Seems to have been the case for the rest of my family that doesn't believe in god. Oh.....but I'm sure I will pay for it when I die...ha ha...the bogeyman is going to come get me then I'm sure...... (if it makes you fell better my power did go out for 15 seconds last night – I'm sure god paying me back for my 'sins')

      October 30, 2012 at 8:30 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @Opposing View
      You say that there is no good without God.
      If that's the case, then you are effectively condemning all of Ja/panese culture and history.
      Can you honestly say that 99.5% of all the Ja/panese people who have ever lived have been bad?

      October 30, 2012 at 8:32 am |
    • Jen

      I'm sure he does think they are all going to h-ll Doc. Just like me. Probably the only thing that gets him through the day is fantasizing about people going to h-ll (but hey – that doesn't make him a bad person – after all, he believes in god!).

      Too bad god never taught him the difference between lose and loose.

      October 30, 2012 at 8:38 am |
    • OpposingView

      Jen… The bible clearly states there is none good but God. But despite that fact, you are intent on calling yourself good. Therefore, it means you are a "liar". And if you are a liar then how can you be good? Therefore, you are deceived…

      October 30, 2012 at 8:42 am |
    • Ann

      Wow, that is just one of the weirdest examples of twisted logic that I have ever heard.

      October 30, 2012 at 8:53 am |
    • OpposingView

      Jen… As for the rest of your statements, there are millions upon millions of fools who once thought the same way you do. And where they are now? Answer: They are all now in hell and awaiting on the Judgment. So what makes you think your fate will be any different?…

      Lastly, do you know why God doesn't worry about the prosperity of the wicket? It's because he knows that the wicked shall perish anyway and that in a very short time they'll be in hell. And after hell, they'll spend eternity in the lake burning. So run fast and enjoy life while you can….

      Psalms 37:1 – Fret not thyself because of evildoers… For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb.

      October 30, 2012 at 8:57 am |
    • OpposingView

      Ann… It's called "truth". Do you mean this is the first time you've ever heard truth?...

      October 30, 2012 at 8:59 am |
    • BU2B

      Opposing view – another sheep using quotes from the bible to justify his/her belief...in the bible. That is circular referencing. Can you prove the Flying Spaghetti Monster is not real? What about the Invisible Pink Unicorn?

      October 30, 2012 at 9:05 am |
    • Jen

      Let me get this straight....god punishes those who commits sins by killing their babies, etc, etc....oh wait...no he doesn't. He let's us go along and live happy lives because we will burn in h-ll for eternity. Love watching you contradict yourself. It's hilarious. My three year old is smarter than you.

      October 30, 2012 at 9:08 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Opp, why didn't god give you a brain?

      You are beyond stupid. Babies are stillborn and fetuses are miscarried even when the mother has done every single thing right, you ignorant twit. Trisomy disorders, spina bifida, and a host of other life-threatening or life-ending defects occur no matter what the mother has done. And you have the gall to blame the mother? And then turn around and thank your god when things go well for you?

      Do you not grasp the hypocrisy of your post?

      October 30, 2012 at 9:15 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      "Or their parents passed on a defect"?

      Yours certainly passed one on to you, you brainless moron. They must have been crazy, stupid, or both. And you got it bad.

      October 30, 2012 at 9:18 am |
    • OpposingView

      BU2B… That's no surprise. People like you always call the truth they cannot defeat "circular logic"….

      Jen… First, what is your problem with writing the word "hell"? It's spelled h-e-l-l, not h-l-l. And I thought you were intelligent. Imagine that...

      Secondly, when did I say God punishes those who commit sins by killing their babies? I never said that. You're putting words in my mouth to defend your own twisted logic. Which once again only proves you're a liar. And that's the problem with atheists, they never can tell the truth…

      October 30, 2012 at 9:23 am |
    • OpposingView

      Tom, Tom… I don't have time for your nonsense. When you grow some intelligence, get back to me…

      October 30, 2012 at 9:25 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @OpposingView
      I reiterate my question:
      Is it your assertion that virtually every Ja/panese person throughout all of history has been bad and are therefore burning in Hell?

      October 30, 2012 at 9:28 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Translation of Opp the Dope's post: Opp the Dope has no argument.

      Hey, Heaven Sent, why can't you ever learn to spell "lose" and figure out how it's different from "loose"? Here, I'll help you: Opposing View is losing her sh!t because she has loose bowels and can't control her sphincter.

      October 30, 2012 at 9:29 am |
    • OpposingView

      To Doc… Jesus said the following:

      Mark 10:18 – And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God.

      I agree with Jesus. What about you? If you disagree with Jesus then you're bound for the lake…

      October 30, 2012 at 9:35 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @OpposingView
      You're dodging the question.

      October 30, 2012 at 9:38 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Opp, how about the Jewish chaplains who died in WWII? Did they go to hell, too?

      How about Samuel Barber, Opp the dope? Your sock puppet PRISSY was all hot to trot for him and his "Agnus Dei" until she found out he was gay. Did he go to hell, too?

      October 30, 2012 at 9:42 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      http://www.trisomy18.org/site/PageServer?pagename=whatisT18_whatis

      Here, you ignorant wackaloon of a yahoo. Learn something. Read carefully. This article states in no uncertain terms that trisomy disorders are not caused by ANYTHING THE PARENTS DID OR DIDN'T DO.

      October 30, 2012 at 9:46 am |
    • Jen

      Well you say that Michell Duggar lost her baby because she sinned. Surely my sin of not believing in god would be worse? I'm not twisting your words. You say that people are being punished for their own sins. Well someone has to be doing the punishing. Who is it?

      Strange that it is so random how bad things will happen to 'good Christians' at the same frequency that they occur to people of other religions/agnostics/atheists. It's almost like what you believe in has no bearing on what good or bad events will occur in your life....weird. Well I guess that's why people like you pull out the h-ll card (and because I put a hyphen in it I can't spell it???? Ha ha. It's you that can't spell). That must be why my life is better than yours. Because I'm going into the lake!

      Hopefully this isn't HS Tom Tom. I promised myself I would never again converse with that paranoid schizo (though the similarities between the two are astounding).

      October 30, 2012 at 10:17 am |
    • Jen

      'michelle'. And I know that wicked is not spelled wicket. Strange that god made all of us evil ones more intelligent than people like you.

      October 30, 2012 at 10:20 am |
    • Ann

      Opp, you can call it "truth" if you want, I guess. Heck, for all I care, you can call it "spongecake." It still doesn't make any sense.

      October 30, 2012 at 3:48 pm |
  4. Maria

    God gave man wisdon ,now if humans destroy the enviroment ....build were it is not safe ....and only care how to make millions ....i am sorry but it's our fault not Gods!!

    October 30, 2012 at 6:43 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      If you believe in the Abrahamic god, everything is his fault.

      October 30, 2012 at 6:46 am |
    • Ren

      This is called KARMA..

      October 30, 2012 at 6:48 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      Maybe if you worship Johnny Six Arms and Papa Smurf.

      October 30, 2012 at 6:49 am |
    • blah blah blah

      Name a place that will always be safe from future disasters and I won't simply believe what you wrote... I will worship you. C'mon... you can't actually believe what you're saying...

      October 30, 2012 at 7:02 am |
    • nope

      @rat ...
      nope

      October 30, 2012 at 8:04 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      Says nope to nope.

      October 30, 2012 at 8:10 am |
  5. Earl

    To CNN

    In these times of great disasters and conflicts happening around the world, our religious pastors and priests advise us to call on the name of Jesus for protection and salvation. But as we call on Jesus’ name the more the calamities and conflicts are getting worse and more people are dying and suffering.
    Why does this happen?
    In the Bible we can read that before Jesus died, he cried out :
    … “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” Matt.27:46 NKJV
    Why did Jesus cry out he was forsaken by God? If God forsook Jesus, how much more us who only call on Jesus?
    It’s time we discover who Jesus in the Bible really is and learn God's true decree about Jesus, if he was to be punished by the rod of men for our sins OR for his OWN iniquity thru the following link:

    http://www.thename.ph/thename/revelations/greatestdeception-en.htm

    Thank you

    October 30, 2012 at 6:41 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      Jesus was a d.ouche, got it.

      October 30, 2012 at 6:47 am |
    • nope

      @rat ....
      nope

      October 30, 2012 at 8:05 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      Says nope to nope.

      October 30, 2012 at 8:10 am |
  6. paulbip

    This guy is going to burn in hell. I, on the other hand, will sit at the right hand side of God.

    October 30, 2012 at 5:49 am |
    • Jerry

      Deluded chimp. Only suckers and cowards believe all the fairy tales they were taught as a child. Do you still suck your thumb and sleep with your teddy bear too? Belief is irrelevant. You are no different than a non-believer, except that you're brainwashed and deluded by stories made up by drunken old men 2,000 years ago.

      October 30, 2012 at 5:57 am |
  7. smilingjack

    ah christians deluded to the end. when their god does something good its because of it. when it does something bad it isnt related. poor poor deuded fools. get thee to a pscychiatrist and get your head looked at. all I can say is sucked in america and I hope you get many many more NATURAL disasters caused primarily by you. And you will as climate change hits home.

    October 30, 2012 at 4:43 am |
    • Jerry

      I was going to reply similarly. I love this comment. How can any person with any intelligence NOT see that HUMAN-CAUSED global warming is accelerating every day. You idiots waste time talking about your fantasy childhood imaginary friends. I suggest you get a clue and stop driving around in gigantic Chevy Suburbans, destroying the planet and breeding like rabbits.

      October 30, 2012 at 5:52 am |
  8. Lola

    WHat God doesnt do in HIS power , HE allows in HIS wisdom.

    October 30, 2012 at 4:35 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      What poop doesn't do in his pants, he allows on my chest.

      October 30, 2012 at 6:48 am |
    • Jarsbait

      So does God CAUSE, or ALLOW? Which is it? A nice construction, but quite meaningless, and points out that God is just the place you put things you can't understand. There is a mystery all right, but God isn't the answer to that mystery.

      October 30, 2012 at 8:10 am |
  9. Pam Hamilton

    I like AJ Knauss's take on God in ROOM FOUR. The WWII vet character Jerry says something to the effect, "if God cared where every jack@$$ dropped a bomb, he would have a lot of collateral damage to explain."

    October 30, 2012 at 4:31 am |
  10. Anne

    Does the existence of suffering and wickedness prove that there is no God, or that God is punishing people?Consider examples: Does the fact that knives have been used to murder prove that no one designed them? Is the use of jet aircraft to drop bombs in time of war evidence that they had no designer? Or is it rather that the use to which these are being put that is causing grief to mankind? Is it not true that much disease is a result of man's own poor living habits and his spoiling of the environment for himself and others? Are not the wars fought by humans a major cause of human suffering? Is it not also true that while millions suffer from lack of food, there is more than enough in other lands, so that one of the underlying problems is human greed? The Bible tells us in (Ecclesiastes 9:11) that times and unforeseen occurrences befall all of us here on earth. Also, in the book of James, (James 1:13) it also tells us that with evil God cannot be tried. God is not wicked and he is not the cause of human suffering and neither is he punishing planet earth.

    October 30, 2012 at 4:27 am |
  11. gila8

    The ways of the Creator of the immense universe are not our ways, as the prophet Isaiah tells us, and He is the Creator of evil as well as of good (Isaiah 45 v7). In allowing free will, He can also allow nature to take its course. If we KNEW for sure there is a Creator then it would take away our free will not to believe in Him and to live our lives without recognising there can be consequences for our choices and actions, whether good or evil. There are many imponderables, and many many uncountable effects on different people, some good as well as some evil. While not wishing to appear insensitive to great suffering and loss, far from it, I would nevertheless venture that maybe a part, however small, of the imponderable equation could be that G-d is protecting Israel, His people and His land; after all Obama has not been a good friend of Israel....

    October 30, 2012 at 3:12 am |
    • Athy

      What a pile of bullshit. No sane,, logical person could possibly believe this nonsense.

      October 30, 2012 at 3:16 am |
  12. Nido

    Yes, it's just a highlight and reaction of Almighty Allah.... how a stupid, ugly and pathetic movie was made against our beloved Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and US government said its a freedom of expression and they even used it as playing game.....i don't wana write in details just watch and analyze yourself what's happening and why ........but still we have all sympathies to the innocent people of USA...

    October 30, 2012 at 2:59 am |
    • Friend

      Do you mean that no natural calamities ever happen in countries ruled by Islam? Can Islam guarantee that? Get Real and stop deriving political mileage out of natural calamities.
      At this point our prayers should be with those affected.

      October 30, 2012 at 7:00 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      I guess Allah was tired when 250,000 Muslims were killed in that Indonesian tsunami.

      October 30, 2012 at 7:22 am |
    • Jarsbait

      Poor deluded putz.

      October 30, 2012 at 8:12 am |
  13. Jon

    I suspect God simply doesn't care. Maybe He just gave up on the human race when we killed his son (or His penultimate prophet if you believe Islam). And when we then made yet more pugilistic religions trying to kill each other off. He clearly hasn't cared for at least 1400 years. If you believe all the mumbo-jumbo, and if He ever cared, and if He even existed in the first place that is. Maybe He just went off to try again on a different planet since this one was so obviously doomed.

    October 30, 2012 at 2:55 am |
    • Athy

      I suspect god just isn't, period. Simple as that.

      October 30, 2012 at 3:20 am |
    • Happiness

      God cares. Things happening are all signs of the last days. Please read @ Timothy 3:1-5, Matthew chapters 23 and 24, 1 Peter 5:7. He really does care about you as a person. Jehovah Witnesses in your area will be able to help you more. Or visit their website http://www.jw.org. Take care.

      October 30, 2012 at 3:20 am |
    • Jerry

      Yes, the Mormons will be happy to take 10% of your paycheck and promise you a seat at the happy table in fake lying non-existent happy land. Wake up you sleepy lazy believing idiots.

      October 30, 2012 at 6:03 am |
    • Jon

      So, Happiness. Is that is why my son's best friend, at the age of 10, had to lose his thumb? Which could have been surgically re-attached. But his parents were Jehovah's Witnesses and they wouldn't allow even him a blood transfusion. He lived thank something or other. And he turned out to be a damn nice kid. I think you just made my case. God doesn't care!

      November 1, 2012 at 1:55 am |
  14. almighty karma

    *Televangelist Pat Robertson is notorious for turning natural disasters such as the Haiti earthquake and Hurricane Katrina into supernatural communications *

    that they surely are not. but if pat robertson was hit by lightning, it would be 8D

    October 30, 2012 at 2:45 am |
  15. almighty karma

    another thing. god isn't allowed to break his own laws of nature, that would be dumb. so at best he can send you a hint something is coming and help you avoid the bad area. that's how karma and providence work.

    if you still decide to go or stay in the danger zone, at that point he can still help you be aware of what spot the lightning will strike, and help you stay clear beyond what your 5 sense can do

    but if you stand in a puddle of water and hold an electric wire for fun, there is little he can do for you

    October 30, 2012 at 2:41 am |
    • really now

      RE: "if you stand in a puddle of water and hold an electric wire for fun, there is little he can do for you"
      Really? If it was your child... wouldn't you do something? All gawwwwwwwwwwwwwwwd has to do, if we believe in fairy tales, is lift his little finger and he can accomplish anything. Since he supposedly sees all and knows all and is all powerful, the fact that he DOESN'T prevent misery makes 'Him' a sociopath.

      October 30, 2012 at 7:19 am |
    • James

      Wait...now you know what God is and isnt allowed to do?

      October 30, 2012 at 7:54 am |
  16. almighty karma

    *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*

    wrong. karma impact the balance ON TOP of natural events. dying from a volcano eruption doesn't mean everyone in that city were evil. That's dumb.

    What it means is someone with an extrememely high karma (a saint level kind-hearth type of person) ***might*** be saved by karma. and yes it does happen.

    as for bad karma it may just increse bad luck for the bad guys so they'll slip and fal on their faces.

    but even karma doesn't control all that is luck

    October 30, 2012 at 2:36 am |
    • The Bottom Line

      Religion is like a Baskin Robbins that sells manure instead of ice cream: there may be 31 different kinds of manure, but it's all manure.

      October 30, 2012 at 2:47 am |
    • Athy

      That's a shitty thought.

      October 30, 2012 at 2:51 am |
  17. GOD!!!

    HERE THERE! IT'S ME, GOD! YES, THAT GOD! AND YES, I DO USE ALL-CAPS, BECAUSE I AM VENGEFUL AND ANGRY AND ALL THAT OTHER FEAR-INDUCING STUFF! AND GOD DAMNIT, uh, ME DAMNIT, I YELL!

    I USE STORMS AND EARTHQUAKES TO TAKE MY VENGEANCE. THEY AIN'T SMART WEAPONS, BECAUSE I DON'T CARE IF I TAKE OUT INNOCENTS! I HAD TO HAVE THE JEWS MARK THEIR DOORS WITH BLOOD SO I WOULDN'T ACCIDENTALLY KILL THE WRONG PEOPLE, AND THE FLOOD AND GOMORRAH DID HAVE A LOT OF BABIES WHO DID NOT HAVE TIME TO SIN!

    Let's face it: I'm not a precision guy. I have never been accused of being detail-oriented. I have a few billion inhabited planets with billions of inhabitants, so I just can't get bogged down in minutia. Yeah, a lot of the wrong people get killed, but I am going to kill them anyway, so who cares? And a lot of people accidentally get sent to hell, but you try to judge a few billion newly-dead beings everyday, and run the rest of the universe at the same time!

    That's why I don't send clear indications of what it is I am mad about either. I've been doing this a long time, I am sick of it, and to hell with you all. Literally.

    October 30, 2012 at 2:13 am |
    • Nii

      DO YOU HAVE EVIDENCE OF BABIES IN SODOM AND GOMORRAH? L-I-A-R

      October 30, 2012 at 3:49 am |
  18. nurcamii

    I believe in a God who creates the heavens and the earth and therein.
    I believe in a God who revolves the sun, the moon and the earth.
    I believe in a God who puts the earth in a perfect position, distance from sun with a perfect angle so on.
    I believe in God who creates the plants, the animals and humans.
    I believe in God who makes me breath who manages everything for my breathing; for oxygen to get into my blood and co2 to go out.
    I believe in a God who transfers the signals through my nervous system and who makes my brain and fingers functioning to write these words.
    How come such an Almighty and All knowing God doesn't care about this hurricane?
    Yes indeed the Cause of the Causes has reasons for this hurricane to happen.
    Explaining these things will start from explaining the existence of God and hereafter.

    October 30, 2012 at 2:02 am |
    • Mittology

      So explain the existence of god. Who created god? If you feel that a creator can just exist, then why do think a universe cannot?

      October 30, 2012 at 2:07 am |
    • nurcamii

      If there is an art, then there is an artist. If there is an art which constantly changes in an ordered manner then there is somebody
      who paints and paints and paints with a perfect order.
      If a stone at the end of a rope revolves around a certain central point then there is a central point that stays steady.
      Decisive witnesses to this truth are the transience and ephemerality of the universe. That is, through their existence and lives, beings bear witness to and point to the life of the Undying Ever-Living One and to the necessary existence of His life, and through their deaths and their ephemerality they bear witness to and point to the perpetuity of His life and its eternity. For the fact that on the demise of beings others follow on after them, manifesting life like them and taking their places, demonstrates that there is an unceasingly living being who continuously renews life’s manifestation.
      Bubbles on the surface of a flowing river sparkle in the sun and disappear. Troop after troop of bubbles appear, following on one after another. They display the same sparkle, are extinguished and vanish. Sparkling and being extinguished in this way, they point to the continuance of an elevated, enduring sun. Similarly, the alternation of life and death in these constantly moving beings testifies to the continuance and perpetualness of an Ever-Living Ever-Enduring One.

      October 30, 2012 at 4:07 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      What lovely bullish!t.

      October 30, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
    • Reality

      As noted previously:

      "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
      Jerusalem.

      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.

      Amen
      (references used are available upon request

      October 31, 2012 at 12:22 am |
  19. Edgar Rdz.

    Its simple, If God Created all things (Which he did) and has the Control of all things (Which he has) then he created this storm too, Dont know why he would allow this, but we can be sure, He has his reasons (Which I dont know)
    God Bless

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

      Religious = illiterate

      October 30, 2012 at 1:29 am |
    • Rufus T. Firefly

      Why bother phrasing things as "ifs" ("If God created all things...") when you insist you know the answer?

      Just say what you mean: "God created all things, cause I say so, and he has control of this storm, cause I say so...."

      October 30, 2012 at 1:32 am |
    • Edgar Rdz.

      Oh the Bible says it, not me; thats why the 'Ifs'.

      October 30, 2012 at 1:45 am |
    • JIM MATTHEWS

      BOTH EAST AND WEST CONCEPTIONS AS QUOTED ARE CORRECT. "KARMA" MEANS SINFUL REACTIONS. "MAN (OR WOMAN) IS THE ARCHITECT OF HIS/HER OWN MISFORTUNE". IT CANNOT BE BLAMED ON GOD. GOD MERELY SUPERVISES THE DISPENSING OF SINFUL REACTIONS WHICH ARE EARNED BY THE DEVIATING PEOPLE IN A VERY BIBLICAL WAY. SINFUL ACTIVITY MUST CERTAINLY BE GIVEN UP IF HUMAN SOCIETY WANTS TO SEE AN AND OR EVEN A REDUCTION OF DISASTERS, WHETHER NATURAL OR OTHERWISE. JESUS ADVISED, "GO THOU AND SIN NO MORE". DID THE PEOPLE DO IT? NOT REALLY. THEREFORE, THERE ARE DISASTERS, INDEED BY THE WILL OF GOD, BUT NOT GENERATED BY HIM–GENERATED BY THE SINFUL REACTIONS. LET'S NOT BLAME IT ON GOD, BUT AT THE SAME TIME, WE MUST ACKNOWLEDGE "THY WILL BE DONE". THAT INCLUDES REACTIONS TO THE MASS OF PEOPLE.

      October 30, 2012 at 2:08 am |
    • Lovely

      Get back on your meds, Jim.

      October 30, 2012 at 2:16 am |
    • Athy

      And turn off your damn caps lock!

      October 30, 2012 at 2:47 am |
    • Jarsbait

      It's simple...God's will is the last refuge of the ignorant and incurious.

      October 30, 2012 at 8:01 am |
  20. talha

    these trials are warning shots for a bigger day where The court of the c reator will be setup. Take heed of these warnings of the creator before it is too late. I am a muslim.

    October 30, 2012 at 12:15 am |
    • midwest rail

      Or it's just a storm.

      October 30, 2012 at 12:17 am |
    • tallulah13

      Weather happens. And this sort of violent weather will increase as global warming takes it's toll on our environment. God has nothing to do with it.

      I am a realist.

      October 30, 2012 at 12:18 am |
    • Rufus T. Firefly

      Sadly, it reminds me of the people here in my drought-stricken part of the west. They scoff at climate change, they absolutely throw fits about any legislation designed to address water issues, and then drive around with bumper stickers that say "Pray For Rain." I'm just like, "wow, you REALLY don't get it, do you?"

      October 30, 2012 at 12:53 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      So Talha, are you ready to run to the nearest Catholic Church or Jewish Synagouge or even Hindu temple?

      ... and I ask you this as a Christian.

      October 30, 2012 at 1:19 am |
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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.