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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. Humanist11

    ""Shake off all the fears of servile prejudices, under which weak minds are servilely crouched. Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call on her tribunal for every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason than that of blindfolded fear. " Thomas Jefferson

    November 1, 2012 at 4:55 am |
    • nope

      @hum ...
      nope

      November 1, 2012 at 7:47 am |
    • ...

      nope the dope...not capable of using its one celled brain

      November 1, 2012 at 9:10 am |
    • nope

      @. ...
      nope

      November 1, 2012 at 9:13 am |
  2. GO_GOP

    I firmly believe the storm was brought to us by our Lord to show us how wrong we are by taking HIM off schools, courthouses and government. My belief is even strengthened by the fact that this came barely a week before our elections – an election where we have a clear choice between a highly religious party and it's nominee and an utterly Godless person in office presently. Our LORD has spoken. Come on Christians heed His words and vote GOP to take back our Christian country.

    November 1, 2012 at 3:51 am |
    • sam stone

      Good for you. Your god is a petty, vindictive pr!ck. Get back on your knees, b!tch

      November 1, 2012 at 3:57 am |
    • GO_GOP

      Sam: If you are a Christian, you are my brother. If not, I invite you to join us Christians and thus be assured of a place in Heaven with our Lord.

      November 1, 2012 at 4:03 am |
    • sam stone

      No thanks, GO_GOP.

      I have do desire to be around beings from whom I have to be "saved"

      November 1, 2012 at 4:15 am |
    • GO_GOP

      Sam: Ok. enjoy your time in hell. Am sure it will be fun watching you there. Seek Jesus before it's too late.

      November 1, 2012 at 4:17 am |
    • Humanist11

      GOP Dude. I'm sorry that your parents brainwashed you as a child. I'm not kidding. Millions of children have their lives stolen from them by good intentioned parents. Your parents stole yours. It is child abuse actually.

      November 1, 2012 at 4:30 am |
    • GO_GOP

      Humanist: Are you kidding me? My parents were devout Christians and I am glad they passed it on to me. I will live my life dedicated to our Lord and then be in heaven. Please seek Christ. As a beginning, vote GOP, the only party that cares for our Father in Heaven.

      November 1, 2012 at 4:33 am |
    • Humanist11

      GOP Dude. Do you make every decision based on what god would want you to do and what the bible teaches? Is it your purpose to make every act here on earth something that will get you into heaven? Do you spend your entire life working for the lord? Does god want Romney to win? Serious questions. Serious answers please.

      November 1, 2012 at 4:47 am |
    • Dissident Fairy

      "Vote GOP?" Jesus Christ said, "My kingdom is no part of this world." The mixing of religion and politics seems to never end.....As far as a literal hell goes, that might be misleading. Yes, I realize it's mainstream religions #1 doctrine, used to scare people into believing, but does the Bible really teach fire and brimstone? Eternal torment? I don't think so! Hell is referred in the Bible as being the "grave." It's also referred to as "sheol", "hades" and the "pit." They all mean the same, they mean the grave. The Bible also says,"the wages sin pays is death." Not eternal torment! God is more loving than we are. Would we torture a convicted felon for all eternity? Or would we put him out of his misery? If we are humane enough to know that eternal torment is unimaginable to inflict on someone, then how disgusted God must feel to be labeled as such. It's painting him as being sadistic! The Bible says that he is a lover of justice. He wants people to believe in him out of love not out of fear.

      November 1, 2012 at 5:25 am |
    • Humanist11

      "Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legislative powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should 'make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,' thus building a wall of separation between church and State." Thomas Jefferson

      November 1, 2012 at 5:30 am |
    • sam stone

      GO_GOP: i am already saved. i am just saved from the idea of seeing god as a petty, vindictive pr!ck. you appear to be nothing but a snivelling sycophant. get back on your knees, b!tch

      November 1, 2012 at 6:47 am |
    • WASP

      @go: the most important thing you said out of all of that is "my belief". that is exactly what your statement is, just your belief; no facts, no proof only your idea of what these events mean to you, nothing more. it was a horrible event mainly brought on by the increase in the planet's temperature. warmer oceans feed into larger storms and permit them to travel further north. this was only a catagory 1, imagine the devestation of a catagory 2 or higher hitting these areas. the storm was nothing more than nature attempting to fix an imbalance, the cause of all storms is strictly that. an imbalance in the atmosphere causes storms, the larger the imbalance the greater the storm.
      you can hypotheize about this god or that god having a hand in almost everything, but as you so eliquently put it " it's only a belief".

      November 1, 2012 at 7:03 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      GOP,

      Every notice your gods likes and dislikes the exact same things as you?

      November 1, 2012 at 9:07 am |
    • biobraine

      go_gop wrote "Sam: Ok. enjoy your time in hell. Am sure it will be fun watching you there"

      His statement says a lot about his moral values.

      November 1, 2012 at 11:18 am |
    • joe

      This morning there was a knock at my door. When I answered the door I found a well groomed, nicely dressed couple. The man spoke first:

      John: "Hi! I'm John, and this is Mary."

      Mary: "Hi! We're here to invite you to come kiss Hank's ass with us."

      Me: "Pardon me?! What are you talking about? Who's Hank, and why would I want to kiss His ass?"

      John: "If you kiss Hank's ass, He'll give you a million dollars; and if you don't, He'll kick the guts out of you."

      Me: "What? Is this some sort of bizarre mob shake-down?"

      John: "Hank is a billionaire philanthropist. Hank built this town. Hank owns this town. He can do whatever He wants, and what He wants is to give you a million dollars, but He can't until you kiss His ass."

      Me: "That doesn't make any sense. Why..."

      Mary: "Who are you to question Hank's gift? Don't you want a million dollars? Isn't it worth a little kiss on the ass?"

      Me: "Well maybe, if it's legit, but..."

      John: "Then come kiss Hank's ass with us."

      Me: "Do you kiss Hank's ass often?"

      Mary: "Oh yes, all the time..."

      Me: "And has He given you a million dollars?"

      John: "Well no. You don't actually get the money until you leave town."

      Me: "So why don't you just leave town now?"

      Mary: "You can't leave until Hank tells you to, or you don't get the money, and He kicks the guts
      out of you."

      Me: "Do you know anyone who kissed Hank's ass, left town, and got the million dollars?"

      John: "My mother kissed Hank's ass for years. She left town last year, and I'm sure she got the money."

      Me: "Haven't you talked to her since then?"

      John: "Of course not, Hank doesn't allow it."

      Me: "So what makes you think He'll actually give you the money if you've never talked to anyone who got the money?"

      Mary: "Well, He gives you a little bit before you leave. Maybe you'll get a raise, maybe you'll win a small lotto, maybe you'll just find a twenty-dollar bill on the street."

      Me: "What's that got to do with Hank?"

      John: "Hank has certain 'connections.'"

      Me: "I'm sorry, but this sounds like some sort of bizarre con game."

      John: "But it's a million dollars, can you really take the chance? And remember, if you don't kiss Hank's ass He'll kick the guts out of you."

      Me: "Maybe if I could see Hank, talk to Him, get the details straight from Him..."

      Mary: "No one sees Hank, no one talks to Hank."

      Me: "Then how do you kiss His ass?"

      John: "Sometimes we just blow Him a kiss, and think of His ass. Other times we kiss Karl's ass, and he passes it on."

      Me: "Who's Karl?"

      Mary: "A friend of ours. He's the one who taught us all about kissing Hank's ass. All we had to do was take him out to dinner a few times."

      Me: "And you just took his word for it when he said there was a Hank, that Hank wanted you to kiss His ass, and that Hank would reward you?"

      John: "Oh no! Karl has a letter he got from Hank years ago explaining the whole thing. Here's a copy; see for yourself."

      From the Desk of Karl
      1. Kiss Hank's ass and He'll give you a million dollars when you leave town.
      2. Use alcohol in moderation.
      3. Kick the guts out of people who aren't like you.
      4. Eat right.
      5. Hank dictated this list Himself.
      6. The moon is made of green cheese.
      7. Everything Hank says is right.
      8. Wash your hands after going to the bathroom.
      9. Don't use alcohol.
      10. Eat your wieners on buns, no condiments.
      11. Kiss Hank's ass or He'll kick the guts out of you.

      Me: "This appears to be written on Karl's letterhead."

      Mary: "Hank didn't have any paper."

      Me: "I have a hunch that if we checked we'd find this is Karl's handwriting."

      John: "Of course, Hank dictated it."

      Me: "I thought you said no one gets to see Hank?"

      Mary: "Not now, but years ago He would talk to some people."

      Me: "I thought you said He was a philanthropist. What sort of philanthropist kicks the guts out of people just because they're different?"

      Mary: "It's what Hank wants, and Hank's always right."

      Me: "How do you figure that?"

      Mary: "Item 7 says 'Everything Hank says is right.' That's good enough for me!"

      Me: "Maybe your friend Karl just made the whole thing up."

      John: "No way! Item 5 says 'Hank dictated this list himself.' Besides, item 2 says 'Use alcohol in moderation,' Item 4 says 'Eat right,' and item 8 says 'Wash your hands after going to the bathroom.' Everyone knows those things are right, so the rest must be true, too."

      Me: "But 9 says 'Don't use alcohol.' which doesn't quite go with item 2, and 6 says 'The moon is made of green cheese,' which is just plain wrong."

      John: "There's no contradiction between 9 and 2, 9 just clarifies 2. As far as 6 goes, you've never been to the moon, so you can't say for sure."

      Me: "Scientists have pretty firmly established that the moon is made of rock..."

      Mary: "But they don't know if the rock came from the Earth, or from out of space, so it could just as easily be green cheese."

      Me: "I'm not really an expert, but I think the theory that the Moon was somehow 'captured' by the Earth has been discounted*. Besides, not knowing where the rock came from doesn't make it cheese."

      John: "Ha! You just admitted that scientists make mistakes, but we know Hank is always right!"

      Me: "We do?"

      Mary: "Of course we do, Item 7 says so."

      Me: "You're saying Hank's always right because the list says so, the list is right because Hank dictated it, and we know that Hank dictated it because the list says so. That's circular logic, no different than saying 'Hank's right because He says He's right.'"

      John: "Now you're getting it! It's so rewarding to see someone come around to Hank's way of thinking."

      Me: "But...oh, never mind.

      November 1, 2012 at 11:23 am |
    • biobraine

      Joe,
      Nice summation of organized religion

      November 1, 2012 at 11:41 am |
    • Madtown

      GO_GOP
      Are you kidding me? My parents were devout Christians and I am glad they passed it on to me.
      ------
      What's really interesting, is that if you happened to be born in Saudia Arabia(something completely out of your control), then your parents would've passed on the traditions of the Muslim faith, and you'd be a Muslim today. I wonder what you'd then think of christians?

      November 1, 2012 at 12:40 pm |
    • Smite You

      GO_GOP
      "Ok. enjoy your time in hell. Am sure it will be fun watching you there."

      P!ss on you, you hideous monster!

      November 1, 2012 at 6:06 pm |
  3. Jessica

    Did the author really need to bring up Shirley Phelps-Roper? Shirley is a media h o and needs to be ignored. Please don't give this vile excuse for a family any press. They make their living antagonizing dead soldiers families and those with whom they disagree with. Attacking people at their weakest time hoping that someone will attack them back so they can sue the person.

    This is how the Phelps's earn their living. By torturing people in the hopes they can sue someone.

    STOP GIVING THIS "FAMILY" ANY MORE PRESS!

    November 1, 2012 at 2:38 am |
  4. RJW

    Westboro is not a "church." I wish the media would start calling it what it is – a gay hate group. It's nothing more than a hate cult. Period.

    October 31, 2012 at 10:14 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      Define cult.

      October 31, 2012 at 10:16 pm |
    • Get Real

      I usually don't even mention their name - call it that group of insane zealots from Kansas or something. I hate to give them the satisfaction of word searching for their name and seeing any publicity.

      October 31, 2012 at 10:22 pm |
    • Athy

      A cult is where the guy at the top is a fraud. A religion is where the guy at the top is dead. (Plagiarized from another poster, with thanks.)

      October 31, 2012 at 10:37 pm |
    • therealpeace2all

      @Athy

      LOL !!!!! 😀

      Peace...

      October 31, 2012 at 10:39 pm |
    • Athy

      Not mine, but I wish it were.

      October 31, 2012 at 10:41 pm |
    • EnjaySea

      The Westboro numbskulls are clearly an odious bunch of jerks. But there are plenty of mainstream churches that echo their hatred in a more subtle fashion. Mormons come to mind, with their multi-million dollar campaign to fight gay marriage. You can paint it any way you want, but they did that because they hate gays.

      October 31, 2012 at 11:41 pm |
    • Gadflie

      Ok, here's an odd thought for you folks. Fred Phelps (the patriarch of the Westboro clan) actually got his start as a civil rights attorney. No, I'm not kidding. And, think about this, how many people can you think about who have advanced Gay rights as much as these people have? It's almost like they are just a practical application of the logical fallacy "Reductio ad absurdum".

      November 1, 2012 at 12:19 am |
    • Humanist11

      I agree they are a terrible group. If you can set aside your bias for a minute and study exactly what they preach and act upon, you will notice they follow the bible pretty close. Much closer than the churches that only cherry pick the nice stuff from the bible. Just think about all the stories about how god punished the sinners with floods, other natural disasters or sending his chosen humans out to kill the sinners. They just think it is god creating this war on terror to punish us for our sins. The saddest part of all is that there is no god and all of this violence is about who's god is right.

      November 1, 2012 at 4:40 am |
    • Humanist11

      I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do because I notice it always coincides with their own desires. – Susan B. Anthony

      November 1, 2012 at 5:49 am |
  5. Young Milken

    Westboro Baptist Church should blame on Snooki for the disaster on Jersey Shore 🙂

    October 31, 2012 at 10:13 pm |
    • Jessica

      I thought Sandy was a bit drunk.

      November 1, 2012 at 2:41 am |
  6. McMahon

    How would gods have a place in a conversation about meteorology? What is this, 1206 C.E.? Do sea serpents have a place in a conversation about uterine disease?

    October 31, 2012 at 10:00 pm |
  7. Sam

    There are exactly 3.5 Gods. I know this to be true because of my faith in Them. You can never disprove this. So it must be true.

    This is how crazy you sound when you talk about "the one true god". Picking a random number of Gods and arguing over it is pretty silly.

    Personally, I'd estimate there are 0.01 Gods plus or minus a tenth.

    October 31, 2012 at 9:14 pm |
    • Athy

      Actually, there is a Jesus Christ. I know because I have a piece of toast with his picture on it.

      October 31, 2012 at 9:29 pm |
    • saggyroy

      Jesus signed my yearbook.

      November 1, 2012 at 6:00 am |
  8. chaz1

    "Everybody is an atheist in saying that there is a god in which he does not believe. All that the serious and objective atheist does is to take the next step and to say that there is just one more god to disbelieve in."
    — Richard Dawkins

    October 31, 2012 at 8:32 pm |
  9. Lamb of dog

    My experience tells me people who talk to invisible people are crazy.

    October 31, 2012 at 7:46 pm |
    • TSIndiana

      People who talk to God are not talking to "invisible people". People are not God... unless your Mormon.

      October 31, 2012 at 8:24 pm |
    • Lamb of dog

      I'm sorry. Invisible sky fairy.

      October 31, 2012 at 8:26 pm |
    • Athy

      Actually, less than invisible; non-existent.

      October 31, 2012 at 8:33 pm |
  10. ted

    The reality is – nobody knows if there is God or no God. It is all a matter of faith.

    October 31, 2012 at 7:30 pm |
    • Athy

      Well, if there is a god, it's a well-kept secret.

      October 31, 2012 at 7:36 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      I don't need "faith" to not believe in flying unicorns, the same goes for god.

      October 31, 2012 at 8:02 pm |
    • sybaris

      ted, there is just as much faith required to believe in a god as the purple monkey flying around in my closet.

      October 31, 2012 at 8:17 pm |
    • EnjaySea

      Critical Thinking = Accepting only that which has been demonstrated to be true.
      Faith = Believing whatever you're told.

      October 31, 2012 at 11:51 pm |
  11. Dissident Fairy

    @Sam Stone: (In reference to page 19) Are you referring to God or the Bible? As an artist I understand inspiration and art. There hasn't been an artist who has ever lived that can compete with the artistry and colors of nature. We can't even come close. All we have to do is view the wonders below the sea, or the magic of our Milky Way. If we were able to travel across our galaxy it would take 100,000 years at the speed of light, 186,000 miles per second to do so, and the Milky Way is a mere drop in the sea of what is out there in our universe. It is endless. To believe that the Big Bang eventually produced life on this planet without the help of an Intelligent Maker is way more far fetched than believing in God if you stop to think about it. If I left paint, brushes, and a canvas in a room for the next 50 years and went back to check on it what do you think I would find? A completed masterpiece waiting for me when I returned? Of course not! I would have to paint it myself, it would be just as I left it. Likewise this creation had to have had a Maker! In terms of "Inspiration" what artist living or dead can give any of us Eternal life? In the case of Van Gogh, or Picasso, are they able to bring themselves back to life? Without God it doesn't matter what we achieve in this life because it would all come to nothing in the end.

    October 31, 2012 at 7:19 pm |
    • PraiseTheLard

      Which "God" or which "Intelligent Designer" did you have in mind? How do you know you have chosen the correct one out of the thousands that have been so designated?

      October 31, 2012 at 7:27 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Fairy,

      If everything is "designed" how can you know that? There is nothing to compare it too, the way we know something is designed is by comparing it to things that are not "designed". In your view everything is designed and therefore your point is meaningless.

      October 31, 2012 at 8:08 pm |
    • sam stone

      dissident: on page 19, i was speaking of those who claimed to be inspired by god.

      the idea of a creator and that of a god do not have to be synonymous

      it seems that someone sees a creation, and infers from it characteristics of the creator

      it almost seems as if they are saying "the universe is an incredibly complex system, therefore Jesus died for your sins"

      kind of a spiritual non-sequitor

      October 31, 2012 at 8:19 pm |
    • Jessica

      The onus is on the believer to prove a god exists. The inability to prove a god doesn't exist isn't proof that one does exist.

      November 1, 2012 at 2:48 am |
  12. His panic

    LOL 😀 😀

    No Sal, he/she is only a Nit-Picking, red-necking, hill-billo.

    October 31, 2012 at 6:56 pm |
    • Dippy

      You need help with the reply function. It may be too complex for you.

      October 31, 2012 at 7:39 pm |
  13. Keith

    Rock and Roll

    October 31, 2012 at 6:51 pm |
  14. His panic

    There is no need to Panic yet!! It was God trick or treating, just a friendly Reminder of His Power. At the end of ALL things it will be worst, much Worst. Way above the 10th power.

    October 31, 2012 at 6:10 pm |
    • Athy

      10th power of what?

      October 31, 2012 at 6:28 pm |
    • Salero21

      @ athy,

      Why are you asking? Were not You a Know-It-All!!

      October 31, 2012 at 6:52 pm |
    • Athy

      Why do you randomly capitalize words? Go back to school (if they'll accept you).

      October 31, 2012 at 6:58 pm |
    • His panic

      Ooops! Did not posted as a reply. LOL, 😀 😀

      No Sal, he/she is only a Nit-Picking, Red-Necking, Hill-billo!! 😀 😛

      October 31, 2012 at 6:59 pm |
    • Athy

      And you're even worse, Panic.

      October 31, 2012 at 7:03 pm |
    • End Religion

      Way above the 10th power of worster.

      October 31, 2012 at 7:12 pm |
    • sam stone

      "the sky is falling! the sky is falling" – chicken little

      "At the end of ALL things it will be worst, much Worst." – His Panic

      notice the similarity?

      "much Worst"?

      October 31, 2012 at 8:31 pm |
    • Athy

      Yeah, his writing skills are getting worster and worster.

      October 31, 2012 at 8:46 pm |
    • FSMFSM

      So our choices are: Live or Worst... Thanks, I'll have mine on rye with a nice mustard.

      November 1, 2012 at 12:22 am |
    • His panic

      LOL 😀 😀 "worster" is redneck, hill country, hicks, nit-picking, know-it-all, for worst than that, which will be Worst when the situation will worsen. Right now is just worsening. 😀 😀

      November 1, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
    • His panic

      "If your family tree doesn't have branches, you're a redneck." — Jeff Foxworth

      But in Athy's case it could be WORST or maybe is worse than that. 😀 😀 Who knows?

      November 1, 2012 at 3:52 pm |
  15. OgLikeRock

    Rock say rock correct in everything and then to prove it says ask rock, rock know everything so will tell you correct thing. I ask rock and rock say yes it correct in everything so it must be true. Og like rock, rock so smart!*

    * Og say replace word "rock" with word "bible"......see, it's like game, ha ha...

    October 31, 2012 at 5:57 pm |
  16. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things:

    October 31, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
    • Nancy

      Prayer changes nothing. Humans change things.

      October 31, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
    • biobraine

      If prayer actually affected the outcome of events, it would be easy to prove scientifically.

      October 31, 2012 at 6:04 pm |
    • Trolls are Irrelevant

      And their repetttive posts accomplish nothing.

      October 31, 2012 at 6:13 pm |
    • Jessica

      Sorry Atheism., Actually a study was conducted on people praying or not praying for people in a hospital. Those who were not prayed for did better than those who were prayed for.

      November 1, 2012 at 2:52 am |
  17. ROSE JAMES

    ( What's the TRUTH?) [ JESUS]... I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the FATHER but by me. John 14:6 Neither is there SALVATION in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be save. Acts 4:12 [ JESUS]...For if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins. John 8: 24 PRAY now ask GOD to save you in JESUS' name. ONE WAY TO HEAVEN , that's the gospel TRUTH, life's short, eternity for ever.

    October 31, 2012 at 5:39 pm |
    • Sanity Clause

      Quoting the Bible in an attempt to prove that the Bible is true will get you thrown out of any debate. But if it makes you feel better, go for it.

      "Circular reasoning works because circular reasoning works because circular reasoning works because ..."

      October 31, 2012 at 5:51 pm |
    • NoTheism

      In virtue of what is what the bible says true? Even if Jesus said what he said as presented by the bible, what makes his words true?
      Certainly, the Jews don't think Jesus was the son of god... so what makes you right and them wrong?
      What makes any religion right, actually?

      October 31, 2012 at 5:52 pm |
    • YoozYerBrain

      @ Rose James
      Here ya go Rose. America's Best Christian has a message for you. But if you're too busy praying just go to 2:45 and watch to the end, it's only about 20 seconds worth but still might do you good....

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yaqdFnjKClE

      October 31, 2012 at 5:53 pm |
    • EnjaySea

      The Bible is not an authoritative text. This Post 1:1

      October 31, 2012 at 6:15 pm |
    • Keith

      There are lots of sacred texts, and lots of paths to "God"

      October 31, 2012 at 6:50 pm |
    • sam stone

      rose: proxy threats suggest a weak argument

      how do you expect people to fear retaliation from a being in which they do not believe. Can you?

      therefore your proxy threats are empty, and your god is a vindictive little pr!ck.

      October 31, 2012 at 8:34 pm |
    • Justyn Kase

      Amen! May hearts be changed and drawn to God's promises of hope and salvation, in Jesus name!

      November 1, 2012 at 12:21 am |
    • Justyn Kase

      Keith, there is only one path to God. Jesus said 'I am the way, the truth and the life, no man comes to the Father except through Me.' John 14:6 Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved. Acts 4:12
      I've seen God's life saving and healing power in my own life and of hundreds of other people. All it takes is acknowledging your a sinner, repenting of your sin and receiving Jesus as Lord and Saviour. It's the most important decision you can ever make. Having a relationship with God and now life has a meaning and a goal. Now I've found the purpose of life.

      November 1, 2012 at 12:32 am |
    • Jessica

      Rose, so you can quote a book that was written about a man more than 200 years after his death, 10 generations later and even later was put together by the Roman Catholic Church which changed a few things, took some "Books" and discarded others.

      2000 years ago and until recently people believed that maggots just appeared out of thin air on food. You want to believe in that go right ahead but you and your kind need to stop telling everyone else how to live their lives.

      November 1, 2012 at 2:58 am |
    • sam stone

      "All it takes is acknowledging your a sinner, repenting of your sin and receiving Jesus as Lord and Saviour"

      Free people do not need a savior

      November 1, 2012 at 2:41 pm |
  18. YoozYerBrain

    Hooray for the Rational! Boo to the superst itionistas out there darkening minds. How bout that quote from the Westboro folks THANKING their boogey man for the destruction! See supersti tionistas, that's what your chris tian belief system looks like when taken to its logical extreme. You all bear responsibility for those anti-American traitors. But it sure is fun to read their blathering. Can't wait for a good Talibani to bomb them, eh? Won't happen cuz they have too much in common...

    October 31, 2012 at 5:17 pm |
  19. GodFreeNow

    @matt houston,
    "Because I only have six senses and they can only interact with six kinds of objects corresponding to those six senses. All instruments of science, no matter how powerful are only amplifications and extensions of those senses: the ear and audible sounds, the eye and visible things, the nose and odors, the body and touchable objects, the tongue and objects to be tasted, the mind and the contact of the mind with the thoughts which it produces as a result of the other 5 senses interacting with their respective objects."

    If you're still around... We understand each other well I think. Many believe that to be an atheist you must deny the existence of a god. Most atheists I know, do not. There is only a small % of atheists who will say that they know with out a doubt that there is no god. This is in fact unknowable as you point out. We can believe something to be true, but if we are making a knowledge-based claim with evidence, then we are no different than religious zealots who use faith to justify their beliefs. Setting aside that there is plenty of evidence to suggest a god doesn't actually exist and if it does, it's likely nothing like the ones described in holy books, not saying "there is no god" is not the same thing as "not believing there is a god".

    That's a complicated sentence so I'll try to simplify it. I don't know that there is NO god. However, that doesn't mean that I must then therefore assume that there IS a god. I don't know that there aren't magic bunnies bouncing from distant planet to planet shooting rainbows out of their butts, but this doesn't mean then that I must assume that there are. This is where most atheists come in. We follow the evidence and go where it leads us. We try not to jump to conclusions or make assumptions about the universe around us. If the evidence pointed to a god as the only possible explanation for existence, then we would be forced to accept that. However, there is still no mandate to worship and be a slave to that god, should you find their behavior to be reprehensible and immoral like the god of the bible.

    Atheists and scientists often get lumped together, though they mean very different things. Atheism is a classification, while science is a method of exploration. I personally think of myself as a "realist" because I tend to only accept those things which we can classify as "real" or "physical". This doesn't mean that I don't have spiritual experiences. I do. I just don't just to conclusions and assume an all-powerful god is behind them. I think that's just intellectually lazy behavior. However, the one area that I think overlaps most in the Venn diagram or Atheism and Science is the comfort zone of "not knowing".

    October 31, 2012 at 5:10 pm |
    • Jessica

      "Most atheists I know, do not." Those "Atheists" are considered Agnostic; not Atheists.

      November 1, 2012 at 3:02 am |
    • fru

      Jessica,

      A truly thinking atheist would identify themselves as an agnostic-atheist because it not logical to assert something for which there is no proof.

      To say there is absolutely no god would require you to have knowledge of everything in existence, which ironically would give you god-like properties.

      These same agnostic-atheists would agree that the chance of a god existing is so infinitesimally small that it essentially equates to zero, however you can’t conclude that “almost zero” is the equal to “zero” so therefore you must default to agnostic-atheist unless of course critical thinking is not important, and then you’re free to make the same baseless assertions that your opposition makes.

      November 1, 2012 at 7:11 am |
  20. Reality

    This so-called god's wr-ath has been ongoing since the first life appeared on Earth. The addition of prayers did not stop said wrath now or ever.

    Some examples of "god's" Sandy-a-n-alogous-storm wrath and time-wasting prayers to stop these natural occurrences:

    Hurrica-nes and Tropcial Storms in the State of Pennsylvania:

    Pre-1900

    September 18, 1876- A tropical storm produced 50 knots (93 km/h, 58 mph) sustained winds in at least parts of Pennsylvania. [1][2][3][4]
    September 13, 1878- A extratropical storm produced at least 70 km/h sustained winds throughout the state. [5][6]
    October 24, 1878- The Gale of 1878 destroys at least 700 buildings, causes $2 million in damage, kills at least ten people and injures more, and produced 80 km/h sustained winds throughout the state. [7][8][9][10]
    October 13, 1885- An extratropical storm produced 70 km/h sustained winds throughout the state. [11][12]
    August 22, 1888- A tropical storm produced 75 km/h sustained winds throughout the state. [13][14][15]
    August 29, 1893- A tropical storm produced 100 km/h sustained winds throughout the state. [16][17][18]
    October 25, 1893- A tropical storm produced 65 km/h sustained winds. [19][20]
    September 30, 1896- An extratropical storm produced 95–100 km/h sustained winds. [21][22]
    November 1, 1899- An extratropical storm produced 95 km/h sustained winds. [23][24]

    1900-1950

    June 29, 1902- A extratropical storm caused 65 knots (120 km/h) winds throughout the state. [25][26]
    September 16, 1903- The V-agabond Hurricane affects Pennsylvania as a tropical storm with winds of 50–65 km/h, after making landfall in New Jersey with hurricane force winds. [27][28]
    August 4, 1915- A tropical depression caused winds of 45 km/h. [29]
    October 1, 1915- An extratropical storm caused winds of 65 km/h. [30]
    October 24, 1923- An extratropical storm caused winds of 75 km/h.[31]
    September 20, 1928- An extratropical storm caused winds of 75 km/h. [32]
    October 3, 1929- An extratropical storm caused winds of 55 km/h.[33]
    September 21, 1932- A tropical depression caused winds of 30 km/h.[34]
    August 24, 1933- A tropical storm caused winds of 85 km/h. [35]
    August 19, 1939- A tropical depression caused winds of 45 km/h. [36]
    September 19, 1945- An extratropical storm caused winds of 45 km/h.[37]
    August 29, 1949- An tropical storm caused winds of 65 km/h. [38]

    October 31, 2012 at 4:55 pm |
    • Jerry

      Being wrathful takes a lot of practice.

      October 31, 2012 at 4:59 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.