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Online conversations around Sandy feature God, prayer and atheism
A church sign from Sunday in a town on Long Island, New York.
October 30th, 2012
04:54 PM ET

Online conversations around Sandy feature God, prayer and atheism

By Conor Finnegan, CNN

(CNN) - As millions of Americans begin to clean up from Superstorm Sandy, many will  turn to insurance companies to cover damages caused by an “act of God.” It’s legalese for natural disasters.

Some of the online conversation around Sandy have treated it as such an act, with the term “prayer” trending on Facebook on Monday, as the nation awaited the storm’s landfall.

We noticed four themes emerging that touch on God and religion on Facebook, Twitter and in CNN.com’s comments sections:

1. God bless: It was a message expressed by well-wishers around the world. Those spared by Sandy took to social media to show their support and sympathy as the images proliferated of New York’s flooded streets and New Jersey’s eroded beaches. Despite different faiths and nationalities, the upshot was the same: Our prayers are with you.

From Facebook:

Waleed Obaid My Prayers to all family and friends in NY and the rest of East cost OH Allah please help People to stay safe and no harm...

Darlene Guillen Bohorquez if this storm knocks you to your knees, you're in the perfect position to pray, and I will be praying with you. Keep safe and remember to help those in need in the aftermath.

Andrea Holmes My prayers go out to all the people who are affected by this storm. And praying does help. God is in control of everything whether you like it or not.

From Twitter:

Bishop Hanson ‏@bishophanson
Merciful God, for the millions who this night are experiencing the fury of Hurricane Sandy we pray for safety and comfort. Amen.

2. Thank God: For those caught in Sandy’s path, the conversation was different. More than 7.5 million in the mid-Atlantic and Northeast were without power on Tuesday. Those who could post online expressed gratitude, with “thankful” the 8th most shared term on Facebook by Tuesday morning. And from Twitter:

Demetrius Minor ‏@dminor85
Thanks to everyone who prayed for us during Hurricane Sandy. We were not affected. I thank God for that. Please pray for those who were.

Sam Gentile ‏@SamGentile
Thank God we escaped unscathed from Sandy except for power last night. This is unlike a lot of South Jersey that had lot of damage

3. God’s wrath: A small minority saw Sandy as God’s judgment.

This Tweet is from a leader of Westboro Baptist Church, the Kansas congregation known for its anti-gay pickets at military funerals:

Shirley Phelps-Roper ‏@DearShirley
We bow in humble thanks 2 God 4 Sandy! Thank God for a plain message delivered to a puddle of states that proudly flip Him off! #FagMarriage

We found these on Facebook:

Nikola Ilievski 24.03.1999. – 10.06.1999. God remembers everything, your NATO bombed us, now enjoy. Greetings from SERBIA!

Hassan Chandio -Disrespecting others religion. and destroying others country killing thousand and millions of people in afghanistan, libya and syria . this is what you get

4. God does not exist: Some used Sandy to question religion or at least the idea of blaming the storm on God, employing science, humor and venom. A back and forth between believers and nonbelievers sparked a tense conversation in the comments section on CNN.com.

From Facebook:

Johnny Trujillo Praying won't do any good. Send some aid or go volunteer if you really want to help. Talking to your imaginary friend won't do anything.

From Twitter:

Anonymous ‏@YourAnonNews
No, #Sandy is not evidence of God's wrath. It's evidence of our refusal to even discuss climate change & global warning.

What do you think? What role should faith or God play in the conversation about Sandy? Post your thoughts in the comments section.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Comments • God

soundoff (2,260 Responses)
  1. Brian

    When people pray they are asking God to change his mind. Will God change his mind for one little American idiot?

    October 30, 2012 at 9:25 pm |
    • truth be told

      You should find out what prayer really is before commenting.

      October 30, 2012 at 9:29 pm |
    • MalcomR

      Then tell us.

      October 30, 2012 at 9:31 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      And you're going to fill us in, Turdy? How would you know? When do you ever have time to pray? You're always here.

      October 30, 2012 at 9:36 pm |
    • 0G-No gods, ghosts, goblins or ghouls

      And provide us with independent, factual, objective and verifiable evidence that any prayer was actually answered. And then proceed with reproducing the same result with the same prayer. Should be easy for a true believer. . .

      October 30, 2012 at 9:37 pm |
    • Gadflie

      Truth Be Told is right Brian. Prayer is very much like a letter to Santa. It's nothing but wishful thinking.

      October 30, 2012 at 9:47 pm |
    • Rufus T. Firefly

      I agree, Truth Be Told, tell us what prayer really is.

      October 30, 2012 at 9:57 pm |
  2. Dyslexic doG

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=88GTUXvp-50

    October 30, 2012 at 9:24 pm |
    • Rational

      Yeah, that proves a lot. Can I sell you some snake oil? I'd like to make a donation to the National Science Foundation.

      October 30, 2012 at 9:33 pm |
    • John P. Tarver

      Christ was born May 14, 6 BCE, coincident with the astrological event described in Luke.

      October 30, 2012 at 9:35 pm |
  3. gkerrister

    what is with the usa and all this religious nonsense. Be advised religion has no place in the lives of thinking people.

    Why not believe in the tooth fairy instead? Or maybe Father Christmas? Or maybe that tree in the back garden ?

    Come on – start thinking rationally.

    October 30, 2012 at 9:23 pm |
    • Susie

      I am a very rational person with a doctorate in psychology and God has proven to me that He exists. I know many people who have had the same experience. Perhaps one day you will have the same experience.

      October 30, 2012 at 9:25 pm |
    • Sly

      ...but what about the Dinosaur's? Hmmm ... no carbon dating huh? hmmmmm....

      October 30, 2012 at 9:30 pm |
    • MalcomR

      Susie, you are a liar and I feel bad for you.

      October 30, 2012 at 9:30 pm |
    • Gadflie

      Susie, proven to you how exactly? How was your experience different from those who claimed that a different "god" proved themselves to them?

      October 30, 2012 at 9:30 pm |
    • 0G-No gods, ghosts, goblins or ghouls

      If you are perfectly rational you should be able to clearly prove why you believe in supernatural beings. If you cannot, you are delusional, a liar or both. So, please, give us your novel proof for your god – don't be daunted by the fact that no one has yet proved the existence of any god.

      October 30, 2012 at 9:30 pm |
    • truth be told

      @susie
      God chooses those He predestines. We know, they can't, perhaps like Cain they are not acceptable.

      October 30, 2012 at 9:33 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      What a laugh. Turdy thinks she's among the chosen.

      October 30, 2012 at 9:35 pm |
    • Rational

      Oh come on. You're taking this far too seriously. All this religion stuff is like professional wrestling. Only the fools believe it's real.

      October 30, 2012 at 9:36 pm |
    • Rational

      Susie: wake up little Susie (apologies to the Everlys). You're not a real doctor. I am an astrophysicist with a PhD (also not a real doctor) and I keep my rationality hat on. It'd be nice if there were a deity that looked over ME ME ME but I gave up that need a long time ago, like when I was 6.|

      October 30, 2012 at 9:40 pm |
    • Susie

      Malcolm You, for no rational reason, assume I am lying. so who is the irrational one? Gadfly....Christianity is the one religion that touts a personal relationship with God. This is the God I was led to when I decided to seek God. My reality testing proof for the Christian God is that billions of people have a personal relationship with Him. If He wants to reveal Himself to you He will, will you be open to that or have you completely shut the door?

      October 30, 2012 at 9:42 pm |
    • Gadflie

      Susie, you believing that Christianity is the only religion that has claimed that is just a sign of your lack of understanding of other religions, not of reality.

      October 30, 2012 at 9:45 pm |
    • Rational

      Gkerrister: re USA people: as one of my Aussie friends said: Australia got convicts, but America got the religious nuts. Luck of the draw I guess. Or was it god's wrath!

      October 30, 2012 at 9:47 pm |
    • Susie

      Sorry to pop your bubble but I am a real doctor... with a real degree. You can believe what you want. I dont really care. Now go take your olanzapine.

      October 30, 2012 at 9:48 pm |
    • Rational

      Susie,it's a free country, you can believe what you want. Just don't mistake it for the real world and try to inflict it on others. And don't mistake knowing polysyllabic drug names for sophistication or professionalism.

      October 30, 2012 at 9:54 pm |
    • Susie

      Run along rational your attempt at sounding smart did not work.

      October 30, 2012 at 9:58 pm |
    • Rational

      Got you to respond, Susie. I guess it worked.

      October 30, 2012 at 10:02 pm |
    • 0G-No gods, ghosts, goblins or ghouls

      Susie, do you disclose to your patients that you believe in imaginary beings – that you are delusional? Or can you substantiate why you believe in what can only be classified as myths 'cause there is no proof for any god? And you are aware that the number of fools who believe something in no way gives the believe any credibility, aren't you?

      October 30, 2012 at 10:02 pm |
    • fintastic

      @susie "billions of people have a personal relationship with Him"

      Just because billions of people believe in something ridiculous, doesn't make it less ridiculous.

      October 31, 2012 at 3:08 pm |
  4. Sly

    Barry Bonds is God. He's good, but make a storm 900 miles across? Hmmmm ... we may need a Higher God than Barry for that kind of stuff!

    Joe!

    October 30, 2012 at 9:21 pm |
  5. Catch a clue

    It's only weather.

    October 30, 2012 at 9:18 pm |
  6. ryan

    The world is the way it it because it is just that, The World. If God were to intervene in every nasty situation, then this would be heaven, but its' not. Heaven is God promise after this world is through to those who believe in Him. Sounds silly doesnt?...it's really that simple. I love you Jesus!

    October 30, 2012 at 9:16 pm |
    • Fritz Hohenheim

      Jesus loves you. Everyine else thinks you're a moron

      October 30, 2012 at 9:21 pm |
    • corpsegrind3r

      So you know for a fact that god spends a lot of time intervening in "nasty" situations in heaven? Jeez, where does he have all the time for us sinners down here on earth?

      October 30, 2012 at 10:04 pm |
  7. MalcomR

    The world looks exactly as I'd expect if there were no god(s). Only semi-intelligent social primates who figured out fire. Yep, just what I'd expect.

    October 30, 2012 at 9:16 pm |
    • mlblogsyankeeblogspot

      This guy below here is printing Garbage

      October 30, 2012 at 9:23 pm |
    • Susie

      Since you are a semi-intelligent social primate, Im not going to bank on your assessment of the situation.

      October 30, 2012 at 9:27 pm |
    • mlblogsyankeeblogspot

      This Guy goes a long way to say Mormons arent Christians, but they believe in One God, the God of the old and new testiment, The same God in whome Jesus Christ said father forgive them for they know not what they do. Forgive this man for he is a wayward steward, and a shepard that leads people into diverse paths. Now Ask yourself if the DNC believes in God when they got boos when they put his name back in their platform. Ask yourself if God kills babies because they are unwanted. Ask yourself if God authorizes marriage between a man and a woman. Ask yourself what the bible says about it. This man says Jesus sacrifice on the cross is not enough to pay for sins, it was enough, but this man doesnt understand what the cross was, Jesus suffered in the garden of Gethsemene for our sins, and the cross was giving his life as the first to conquer death. He also doesnt understand that to come follow Jesus like he said was a physical action that all men must do if they wish to accept Christ in their life. This man talks about lawlesness and concedes that there is a law. God has laws and it is by faith and coming to Christ that you are saved, not just one. A man must be born of water and the spirit or he cannot enter the kingdom of heaven. What about people that died in foriegn lands never hearing about Christ, ask yourself this, does that man go to hell. According to this guy and many other religiions that person does. Why did God ask the rich man to go and sell all that he had and come follow him. He didnt say have faith in me and thats it, Jesus understood the mans heart was set upon wealth. Rich men can be rightous as was Abraham and many other prophets, but this man needed something more. Jesus told the virgins to have oil in their lamps, he didnt say just believe in me and your there, he said lay up in store oil for no man knows when the bridegroom comes. he also said pray our father in heaven hallowed be thy name thy kingdom come, thy WILL be done on earth as it is in heaven. When you do something by your faith in God you are performing works, and faith without works is dead as the bible says. Besides anyone else besides me think that the bible is a guidebook of choice and knowledge how to live better. Mormons believe that for all of us we have only one God, and that is Elohim. God of the jews, and God of the Hebrews, he is our God and when he returns every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is the Christ. Does a Mormon believe in the lord Absolutely he is the savior and redeemer of the world. God said unto the world as Jesus was babtised this is my beloved son in whom i am well pleased. This was God the father talking to his son Jesus Christ and the Holy spirit descended down upon Jesus Christ as a dove. Three distinct personages. Yes Joseph Smith said he seen Jesus Christ and God the father and that their brightness and Glory defy all description. We believe in Christ, we preach of Christ, we babtise in the name of Christ, we close prayers in the name of CHrist and when we go to heaven it is only through the cleansing blood of Christ to make us clean, unless this is done all men fall short. Praise be to God for his son Jesus Christ and hallowed be his name. AMEN

      October 30, 2012 at 9:45 pm |
  8. Dyslexic doG

    Is Mormonism Christian?" is a very important question. The answer is equally important and simple. No. Mormonism is not Christian.

    The reason Mormonism is not Christian is because it denies one or more of the essential doctrines of Christianity. Of the essential doctrines (that there is only one God in all existence, Jesus is divine, God in flesh, forgiveness of sins is by grace alone (Eph. 2:8-9; Rom. 4:1-5), and Jesus rose from the dead physically (1 John 2:19; Luke 24:39), the gospel being the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus, 1 Cor. 15:1-4), Mormonism denies three of them: how many gods there are, the God of Christianity, and His work of salvation.

    Mormonism teaches

    Mormonism teaches that God the Father has a body of flesh and bones (D. & C. 130:22) and that Jesus is a creation. It teaches that he was begotten in heaven as one of God’s spirit children (See the Book, Jesus the Christ, by James Talmage, p. 8). This is in strict contrast to the biblical teaching that he is God in flesh (John 1:1, 14), eternal (John 1:1, 2, 15), uncreated, yet born on earth (Col. 1:15), and the creator all (John 1:3; Col. 1:16-17). Jesus cannot be both created and not created at the same time. Though Mormonism teaches that Jesus is God in flesh, it teaches that he is "a" god in flesh, one of three gods that comprise the office of the Trinity (Articles of Faith, by Talmage, pp. 35-40). These three gods are the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. This is in direct contradiction of the biblical doctrine that there is only one God (Isaiah 44:6,8; 45:5). See Trinity for a correct discussion of what the Trinity is (see also, false trinity)

    Because Mormonism denies the biblical truth of who God is, who Jesus is, how forgiveness of sins is attained, and what the gospel is, the Mormon is not Christian – in spite of all his claims that he is Christian. Quite simply, the Mormon god doesn't exist.

    Mormonism teaches

    Mormon theology teaches that God is only one of countless gods, that he used to be a man on another planet, that he became a god by following the laws and ordinances of that god on that world, and that he brought one of his wives to this world with whom he produces spirit children who then inhabit human bodies at birth. The first spirit child to be born was Jesus. Second was Satan, and then we all followed. But, the Bible says that there is only one God (Isaiah 43:10; 44:6,8; 45:5), that God has been God eternally (Psalm 90:2) – which means he was never a man on another planet. Since the Bible denies the existence of other gods (and goddesses), the idea that Jesus is the product of a god and goddess couple is rejected. The Bible tells us that Jesus – The Jesus of Mormonism – is definitely not the same Jesus of the Bible. Therefore, faith in the Mormon Jesus is faith misplaced because the Mormon Jesus doesn't exist.

    Mormonism teaches that the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross itself (and receiving it by faith) is not sufficient to bring forgiveness of sins. It teaches that the forgiveness of sins is obtained though a cooperative effort with God; that is, we must be good and follow the laws and ordinances of the Mormon church in order to obtain forgiveness. Consider James Talmage, a very important Mormon figure who said, "The sectarian dogma of justification by faith alone has exercised an influence for evil," (Articles, p. 432), and "Hence the justice of the scriptural doctrine that salvation comes to the individual only through obedience," (Articles, p. 81). This clearly contradicts the biblical doctrine of the forgiveness of sins by grace through faith (Rom. 5:1; 6:23; Eph. 2:8-9) and the doctrine that works are not part of our salvation but a result of them (Rom. 4:5, James 2:14-18).

    To further confuse the matter, Mormonism further states that salvation is twofold. It maintains that salvation is both forgiveness of sins and universal resurrection. So when a Mormon speaks of salvation by grace, he is usually referring to universal resurrection. But the Bible speaks of salvation as the forgiveness of sins, not simple universal resurrection. Where Mormonism states that forgiveness of sins is not by faith alone, the Bible does teache it is by faith alone. Which is correct? Obviously, it is the Bible.

    Mormonism and the Bible

    In order to justify its aberrant theology, Mormonism has undermined the authority and trustworthiness of the Bible. The 8th article of faith from the Mormon Church states, "We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly." This means that when the Bible contradicts Mormonism, the Bible isn't trustworthy.

    The interesting thing is that Joseph Smith allegedly corrected the Bible in what is called The Inspired Version, though it is not used by the LDS church. Though they claim they trust the Bible, in reality they do not. They use Mormon presuppositions to interpret it instead of letting it speak for itself. For example, where the Bible says there are no other gods in the universe (Isaiah 43:10; 44:6,8), they interpret it to mean "no other gods of this world" – which is not what those verses say. They do not trust the Bible and they often state that the Bible is not translated correctly.

    Conclusion

    Why is Mormonism a non-Christian religion? It is not Christian because it denies that there is only one God, denies the true Gospel, adds works to salvation, denies that Jesus is the uncreated creator, distorts the biblical teaching of the atonement, and undermines the authority and reliability of the Bible.

    No-one denies that Mormons are good people, that they worship "a" god, that they share common words with Christians, that they help their people, and that they do many good things. But that isn't what makes someone Christian. Jesus said in Matthew 7:21-23, " Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name? And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!" (NKJV). Becoming a Christian does not mean belonging to a church, doing good things, or simply believing in God. Being a Christian means that you have trusted in the true God for salvation, in the True Jesus – not the brother of the devil, not the god of Mormonism, not the gospel of Mormonism. Mormonism is false and cannot save anyone.

    October 30, 2012 at 9:14 pm |
    • William

      you really have way too much free time.

      October 30, 2012 at 9:24 pm |
    • Crash

      Anything with doctrines looks to me like communism.

      October 30, 2012 at 9:29 pm |
    • 0G-No gods, ghosts, goblins or ghouls

      Mormonism is merely a latter day variation of the world's oldest and silliest fantasy role playing game. It has no more credibility than Harry Potter. In fact, Harry Potter is more credible 'cause we know who the author is.

      October 30, 2012 at 9:34 pm |
  9. Rational

    Give me a break. People are animals subject to the same phenomena as dogs, snakes, bacteria, and palm trees. Only if we use our intelligence, honed from thousands of years of raw survival, will we continue to survive. You can waste your time praying or wailing about a fantasy god but if you want to effect destiny, get to work.

    October 30, 2012 at 9:14 pm |
    • Susie

      You have as much chance as the dinosaurs did.

      October 30, 2012 at 9:29 pm |
    • Gadflie

      Susie, if we humans last anywhere near as long as they did, we will have done pretty good.

      October 30, 2012 at 9:35 pm |
  10. Gadflie

    It's too bad none of those who died prayed ahead of time. If they had, they would obviously be just fine.

    October 30, 2012 at 9:14 pm |
    • 0G-No gods, ghosts, goblins or ghouls

      Perhaps all those who died were members of the christian death cult and they got what they wanted?

      October 30, 2012 at 9:19 pm |
  11. Dyslexic doG

    Any Christain that votes for a cultist Mormon will face God's wrath! Any Christain that votes for a cultist Mormon is a traitor to Christianity!

    October 30, 2012 at 9:13 pm |
    • Rational

      Boo to you too. Halloween nonsense.

      October 30, 2012 at 9:23 pm |
    • corpsegrind3r

      Haha, I like that, that's a good one. It's a great thing for true patriots like you that respect what our founding fathers intended – the separation of church and state. And a christian threatening fellow christians about "god's wrath" haha – thank you for that entertainment.

      You really have me fooled though. I don't know if you're trolling, or if you're actually that irrational – because there are so many that are.

      October 30, 2012 at 9:35 pm |
  12. Art Hines

    Sandy cannot be the result of Gods' wrath. It severally impacted, perhaps killed, Christians. God does NOT vent His wrath against believers.

    October 30, 2012 at 9:13 pm |
    • Gozar

      Oh, I'm not so sure. Zeus can be pretty undiscriminating and inaccurate with his lightning bolts.

      October 30, 2012 at 9:15 pm |
    • 0G-No gods, ghosts, goblins or ghouls

      Where's Phallic Spotter when he's needed – something about no true christian. . .

      October 30, 2012 at 9:17 pm |
    • John P. Tarver

      With only 30 dead among millions I think it is a blessing from God.

      October 30, 2012 at 9:18 pm |
    • Robert Hall

      This is where you are wrong. Ignorant Christians He does. If they don't listen to Him, they are just as punished as the unbeliever.

      God Hates paganism and anyone found involved in it in the last days is in the path of His wrath.

      October 30, 2012 at 9:19 pm |
    • End Religion

      Christians... *sigh*
      Why did we ever stop feeding them to the lions?

      October 30, 2012 at 9:26 pm |
  13. 0G-No gods, ghosts, goblins or ghouls

    Some god was obviously upset 'cause the polls showed many believers might vote for the more delusional cult member for president. Looks like "his" message was heard and Mitt "The Twit" Romney's momentum is stalling.

    October 30, 2012 at 9:12 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      AMEN!!!

      October 30, 2012 at 9:13 pm |
    • laodegan

      Interesting theory. The problem is that the hurricane hit exactly where the largest concentration of Obama supporters live on the East coast. Using that logic, the manipulative deity wants to prevent Obama from winning re-election.

      Oh, and let's not forget. Atheists are nothing but d*cks.

      October 30, 2012 at 9:19 pm |
    • 0G-No gods, ghosts, goblins or ghouls

      Who said any god was perfect enough to hit the right target?

      October 30, 2012 at 9:25 pm |
    • dissatisfied

      Better to vote for the delusional messiah who proclaimed '“This was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal.”

      October 30, 2012 at 9:37 pm |
    • Thepacific

      C'mon, it's all nature. We are not the only living creatures which have to face with natural disaster. I m sure there are mililion of living things suffering with Sandy, stop praying, it does not mean a thing to nature. One day our sun die as we all will disappear. Your imaginary friend is made on earth, by earth, and with earth it will be gone too. Take care and help out one another is more realistic and sincere.

      October 30, 2012 at 9:45 pm |
  14. Innerspace is God's place while outerspace is for the human race.

    Atheists are really biggoted ignoramuses! So are beer by the case hardened religious folks.

    October 30, 2012 at 9:11 pm |
    • John P. Tarver

      How about those evil wine bibers? 🙂

      October 30, 2012 at 9:13 pm |
    • laodegan

      So are beer?

      I resent your assertion about beer. Beer is actually proof of a benevolent deity of some sort. Well, it should be anyway.

      And by the way, atheists are d*cks.

      October 30, 2012 at 9:14 pm |
    • Innerspace is God's place while outerspace is for the human race.

      Liquor! What is it good for? A drunk? A hangover? Drink and repeat,,, 🙁

      October 30, 2012 at 9:20 pm |
    • fintastic

      @laodegan What are you like 9 years old?

      October 31, 2012 at 3:35 pm |
  15. Michael E. Brooks

    Regarding the popular religious notion that natural disasters (such as Hurricane Sandy striking the eastern United States) are "messages from God":

    What it comes to is this: Where do we draw the line? Which natural disasters (the key word here being *natural*) are defined as supernatural "messages from God" and which ones are just plain old natural disasters? Is it defined by the human toll? Is a 6.4-magnitude earthquake in Iran this past August that kills 300 and injures 5,000 a "message from God," while the 4.5 quake in Mineral, Va., last year that caused no deaths and only minor injuries just a natural geologic event? Or is it the other way around? Or are only disasters that strike the mainland United States "messages from God"? Were the 7-to-8-magnitude New Madrid quakes of 1811-1812 a "message from God" while the Tunguska event over Siberia in 1908 was just a remarkable yet natural astronomical occurrence? What about the 1859 Carrington Event, a massive solar storm that disrupted telegraph service the world over? Was that a "message from God" against the human presumption to have a "common language," or was it just a remarkable yet natural solar event? Or what about the devastating Christmas earthquake and tsunami in 2004 that killed a quarter-million people in sourtheast Asia? Was it a "message from God" or just a natural geologic event? Which events are "messages"? And just who determines that they are "messages"? And just what is the "message"? If we decide that all such major events are "messages," what about the ones that don't impact any populated areas? If God sends a "message" and nobody hears (i.e., an earthquake occurs in a desert region and affects no one), was there a "message" in the first place? On the other hand, if we say that anything and everything that happens is a "message from God," then we also have to include warm summer afternoons, beautiful days at the beach, and an awesome display of fall foliage in the mountains as "messages from God." But then we're dealing with completely contradictory "messages." It has been suggested that Hurricane Sandy's making landfall "just north of Washington DC" was a message from God. Actually, it hit just south of Atlantic City, N.J. Was it therefore as "message from God" against all the casinos there? And if so, what was it? And who has the right to proclaim such an event a "message"? How receptive would the Iranian people be if we or anyone presumed to proclaim the destructive August earthquake in Iran a "message from God" against them? The reality is that we live on a geologically, meteorologically active planet (which activity is necessary for all earthly life in the first place) on which, given the size and distribution of the human population worldwide, natural events happen from time to time that can affect anyone. In other words, given enough time, enough landmasses and enough people, disasters are going to happen that kill and injure large numbers of people from time to time. They are not "messages from God." They are natural events that are a function of the earth's overall geological, meteorological and astronomical environment. They are not proof of anyone's political or religious ideology.

    October 30, 2012 at 9:11 pm |
    • Robert Hall

      When a Storm Occurs, If it s a named storm, you can use a baby names website to find out if there is a message in the storm. This is how I have determined certain earthquakes on Earth are warnings from God.

      You are right when you say that not ALL storms are warnings from God.

      Job 38 says the Weather elements are RESERVED for times of War. this means God is not going to use these elements lightly.

      Most Majorly unusual disasters are the Right hand of God in action in the last days.

      The Attacks are not meant for the lost. Their punishment is yet to come. The Attacks are for the 144,000. God is looking for His sheep and he uses these disasters to find them and call them Home to Him.

      I am one of them and am among you tonight not to message everyone. My messages are for a select few. If they post here, they will find them.

      October 30, 2012 at 9:18 pm |
  16. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    October 30, 2012 at 9:10 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      Know that a vote for the cultist Romney makes you worse than an Atheist!

      October 30, 2012 at 9:19 pm |
    • fintastic

      Vote for laodegan............... he really likes D*cks

      October 31, 2012 at 3:37 pm |
  17. David A. Smith

    Sandy, the horrible storm, is a act of a weather condition of this planet. Whether or not Sandy was a work of just natural forces or of a creator, we just don't know. And that is the facts. Best we can do is to help those in need of our assistance, either by financial means or our physical presence.

    October 30, 2012 at 9:08 pm |
    • Gozar

      Right on, David.

      October 30, 2012 at 9:13 pm |
    • 0G-No gods, ghosts, goblins or ghouls

      I blame Romney and the republicans – if they would quit denying climate change they could have done something to prevent this storm. That might be easier than reducing the USA's deficit an debt! And we shouldn't forget that Romney would dismantle FEMA. . .

      October 30, 2012 at 9:23 pm |
  18. Robert Hall

    The World is teaching a false God. God hates the world by the way and that's not a claim. I can direct you straight to a verse where it is written in black & white.

    1 John 2:15 DO NOT LOVE THE WORLD!

    The World is aligned with Paganism

    Come out of Confusion my Father says in Revelation 18.
    He warned about a Sin the World is IGNORANT of in Isaiah 58

    Cry Aloud and Spare not,

    Lift up your voice like a trumpet and tell the house of Israel and the House of Jacob their Sins

    Yet they seek me daily
    Delighting to know my ways
    though they were a nation that knew me

    If you are among these Commenters Israel. God is calling you. You know who you are, because His sheep recognize His voice.

    October 30, 2012 at 9:06 pm |
    • Seydou

      The only thing I will like to add is the fact that if it was not of science and researches done by human to try to understand the "natural" phenomenon that surrender us everyday, the number of death would have been much much greater.

      Now, maybe God alerted some faithful ones other ways but you have to admit, why allow such destruction upon the people you dear love? because they won't listen to you or your messengers? Now let see, how does committing a mass murder change anything to the equation? he is God, is he should know better of the creation he said had created?
      What is the point after all?
      Eternal life after physical and emotional suffering? To accomplish what exactly? what is the purpose of an eternal life (either of joy or suffering)? Specially for the all mighty GOD who does not need anything from us.

      October 30, 2012 at 9:19 pm |
    • Seydou

      Simple Note: We have never decided to be here.
      We have never agreed to that contract he signed with Adam and the Devil(even Eve has nothing to do with it).

      If the perfect beings can not hold true, it will surely not be the ones he himself GOD had cursed.
      The existence of God and the Devil is like the day and the night. They are part of the the same system, where you need one to justify the other. We need "night" to justify the "day" and the "day" to justify the "night".
      WHAT DO HUMAN HAVE TO DO WITH THIS PHENOMENON? We are simply a commodity for that exchange.
      That is you believe in GOD. GOD basically NEEDS the devil to see who will go where. Really???
      Think again, but it is the only reason God allow the Devil to exist until now.
      It is like a bet that he GOD has already lost.

      Th only reason that the universe and the planet earth will continue to exist without human is a simple but clear answer that those are not here for us. We are not required for they continuation and existence. So, why do we thing we are so important to have the Creator care for us sooooo much he is willing to allow the "sacrifice of his only son"? which still end up being a failure since the majority of human will perish in hell.
      Interventions after interventions ending up with failures after failures

      October 30, 2012 at 9:43 pm |
  19. The Dude

    How many of the 30 who died were Religious and how many were Atheist? Who ever died the most will lose the argument.

    October 30, 2012 at 9:01 pm |
    • juny1958

      the question you ask is silly. it does not matter at all. Time and chance to all people. the saying that only death and taxes is certain is very true. Each of us has a date with the final date of our earthly existence. What happens the instant after death is what truly matters....are you ready? It is gonna happen to you as well as me......are you ready?

      October 30, 2012 at 9:06 pm |
    • The Dude

      Why is it silly? To some Christian mouth breather an all knowing all powerful God would decide who lives and who dies. Why would he kill Christians when their are loads of sodomites and planned parenthood people to kill?

      October 30, 2012 at 9:19 pm |
    • Susie

      Actually the believers will go to live with Jesus (win) and the others...well, who knows.

      October 30, 2012 at 9:23 pm |
    • The Dude

      The bible does not say suicide is bad. If they want to see jesus so bad nothing is stopping them other than their lack of faith.

      October 30, 2012 at 9:53 pm |
  20. Michael

    Only idiots on the Christian Right would believe this. Ahh, here's a hint for you folks: The earth is round and therefore has no "ends" The planet is millions and millions and millions of years old and yes, it is round, not flat.

    October 30, 2012 at 9:00 pm |
    • John P. Tarver

      The earth is an oblate spereoid similar to the WGS-84 model GPS uses; egg shaped.

      October 30, 2012 at 9:05 pm |
    • Brian

      Yes, Isaiha 31 says the world is flat. A Lutheran minister pointed this out to me.

      October 30, 2012 at 9:08 pm |
    • Gozar

      Uhh, John, that's "round" too. Stop trying to show off your "vast" knowledge, dipwad.

      October 30, 2012 at 9:11 pm |
    • uno

      Is an egg not a semi-prolate ovoid?

      December 1, 2012 at 12:08 pm |
    • uno

      Brian,
      Do Lutherans use a normal Bible?

      December 1, 2012 at 12:19 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.