December 14th, 2012
06:17 PM ET
Massacre of children leaves many asking, 'Where’s God?'
By Dan Gilgoff and Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editors
(CNN) – As he waited with parents who feared that their kids were among the 20 children killed at a Connecticut elementary school on Friday, Rabbi Shaul Praver said the main thing he could do for parents was to merely be present.
“It’s a terrible thing, families waiting to find out if their children made it out alive,” said Praver, who leads a synagogue in Newtown, Connecticut, and was among nine clergy gathered with parents at a firehouse near Sandy Hook Elementary School, where the shooting occurred.
“They’re going to need a lot of help,” Praver said of those who are close to the dead.
From the first moments after Friday’s massacre, which also left six adults and the shooter dead, religious leaders were among the first people to whom worried and grieving families turned for help.
Over the weekend, countless more Americans will look to clergy as they struggle to process a tragedy in which so many of the victims were children.
“Every single person who is watching the news today is asking ‘Where is God when this happens?’” says Max Lucado, a prominent Christian pastor and author based in San Antonio.
Follow the CNN Belief Blog on Twitter
Lucado says that pastors everywhere will be scrapping their scheduled Sunday sermons to address the massacre.
“You have to address it - you have to turn everything you had planned upside down on Friday because that’s where people’s hearts are,” Lucado says.
“The challenge here is to avoid the extremes – those who say there are easy answers and those who say there are no answers.”
Indeed, many religious leaders on Friday stressed that the important thing is for clergy to support those who are suffering, not to rush into theological questions. A University of Connecticut professor on Friday hung up the phone when asked to discuss religious responses to suffering, saying, “This is an immense tragedy, and you want an academic speculating on the problem of evil?”
“There is no good answer at that time that anyone can hear and comprehend and take in,” said Ian T. Douglas, the bishop for the Episcopal diocese of Connecticut, referring to counseling family and friends of the dead. “They’re crying out from a place of deep pain.”
Praver, the rabbi, will join a memorial service Friday night at Newtown’s St. Rose of Lima Roman Catholic Church.
“We’re going to have a moment of prayer for the victims,” Praver said of the service. “We cannot let it crush our spirit and we march on.”
Some national religious groups are also sending staff to Newtown, with 10 chaplains dispatched from the North Carolina-based Billy Graham Evangelistic Association on Friday.
Public officials including President Obama, meanwhile, turned to the Bible in responding to the shooting. “In the words of Scripture, 'heal the brokenhearted and bind up their wounds,' ” Obama said from the White House, citing the book of Psalms.
On Twitter, #PrayForNewton became a trending topic.
CNN’s Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the biggest stories
Some religious leaders argue that modern American life insulates much of the nation from the kind of senseless death and suffering that plagues much of the world every day.
“Most of the world, for most of the world’s history, has known tragedy and trauma in abundance,” wrote Rob Brendle, a Colorado pastor, in a commentary for CNN’s Belief Blog after this summer’s deadly shooting in Aurora, Colorado, which left 12 dead.
“You don’t get nearly the same consternation in Burundi or Burma, because suffering is normal to there,” wrote Brendle, who pastored congregants after a deadly shooting at his church five years ago. “For us, though, God has become anesthetist-in-chief. To believe in him is to be excused from bad things.”
My Take: This is where God was in Aurora
Lucado said there was an eerie irony for the Connecticut tragedy coming just before Christmas, noting the Bible says that Jesus Christ’s birth was followed by an order from King Herod to slay boys under 2 in the Roman city of Bethlehem.
“The Christmas story is that Jesus was born into a dark and impoverished world,” Lucado says. “His survival was surrounded by violence. The real Christmas story was pretty rough.”
Many religious leaders framed Friday’s shooting as evidence for evil in the world and for human free will in the face of a sovereign God.
“The Bible tells us the human heart is ‘wicked’ and ‘who can know it?’” the Rev. Franklin Graham said in a statement about the massacre. “My heart aches for the victims, their families and the entire community.”
Many religious leaders also said that such tragedies are a good time for lay people to express doubts about God – or anger.
“This is a time to go deep and pray,” says Lucado. “If you have a problem with God, shake a fist or two at him. If he’s God, he’s going to answer. And if he’s in control, he’ll find a way to let you know.
soundoff (9,195 Responses)« Previous 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100 101 102 103 104 105 106 107 108 109 110 111 112 113 114 115 116 Next »
About this blog
The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.
I haven't been on this site either for about 6 months. Of course I used a different name then. But I see you're still here haranguing people. Do you have a job or a family?
don't feed the troll.
Oh we knew it was you. You are that 17-year-old who made a fool of himself, got angry, and went on a hate-ramgpage, posting under many many names.
I haven't posted for a long time, but will only say: this is just another sign of the time of the end.
You haven't been missed.
Mensa will make an exception in your case. No free membership for you!
Well, you'll have plenty of time to mull that over.
(Hey everyone, watch this. This ought to clear the room)
Attention all bloggers, The Mensa Society is giving away free membership right now! No requirements, just sign up. Included will be your membership card, which you can show your friends, and a year's subscription to our magazine. Come one, come all!
Don't feed the troll.
If you think that Mensa doesn't have any membership requirements then you obviously don't belong, do you?
Daddy one day hands the keys to his car to his son and lays down some rules.
Son you should not drink before you drive.
You should not text while driving.
Be attentive while on the road.
The son starts to drive but disobeys daddy's rules,gets drunk and drives off the cliff.
On his way down he sreams 'Daddy where are you?'
Where is daddy you ask? Where is God you ask?
God has given the freewill to every human being to choose.What each human does with their freewill decides their destiny both now and for eternity.
Have Faith, don't lose hope and love fellow human beings as God loves you!
Where was our free will?
Free will only works if God stays out of people's lives altogether and does nothing to sway people's decisions, but go into a church during testimony time and all you hear is stories about how God has sent this one a special "sign", or worked a miracle in someone else's life which convinced them to believe in them. How is this free will when God supposedly gives only certain people inside information as to his existence?
If people truly have free will then there is no point in praying about anything involving them because for God to influence them to do anything other than they would do naturally would violate their free will.
The idea that God "gave" us free will is silly. We would naturally have free will unless it was taken from us. Saying God gave you free will is like saying I gave you your life because I didn't kill you. The whole free will thing is just something Christians use to rationalize the fact that there is no evidence whatsoever that any supernatural power influences us in any way. Rationalizing is what Christians do best.
Religion makes peole much better!
Look what it did for ME!!!!
It made you an insulting troll, LOL!
ANd after watching Myth Busters, you can stroke yourselves while tooling around PZ Myers site – convinced that you now know more than everyone else. Fools!
Sorry don't know either of those things you're talking about that must be a Christian thing.
I guess you've never read Matt. 5:22 But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.
Morris Pert is taking his assault rifles to the local kindergarten show and tell tomorrow.
The Perfect Path. Everybody wants to blame God in these killings or other things that are bad in our lives when it is satan or the devil that causes evil. God has a Perfect Path for all of us. It is satan that kicks us off the path and starts to put doubt in our Faith or Religion. It is up to us to find forgiveness through Jesus and work to get back on the right path with God again. It is through the Holy Spirit that helps us to find what is right and wrong in our hearts and help us to make the right decisions in life that will lead us to that Perfect Path. We need to stop blaming God. Dont let Satan kick you off the Perfect Path by you blaming God for the bad things in life. This is the season for forgiving. With these killings that happened in Connecticut it is hard to do that but we need to find it in our hearts to stay on that Perfect Path.
Then god is weak and powerless and unworthy of worship.
"Dont let Satan kick you off the Perfect Path by you blaming God for the bad things in life. "
Your God created Satan and the evil in the world otherwise your God is not all powerful and all knowing now is it?
Satan is a fallen Angel and is condemned for life and in the end will be punished. Satan wants to take people down with him and by your comments he is already takin you off the Perfect Path. I pray that you find your way back.
"Satan is a fallen Angel and is condemned for life and in the end will be punished. Satan wants to take people down with him and by your comments he is already takin you off the Perfect Path. I pray that you find your way back."
Dude you're delusional, your God could have gotten rid of this Satan along time ago with a blink of an eye but instead it allows knowing some will be sent to this hell, because he supposedly created them and being "all knowing" knows they are created to go to this hell. Now that is not a loving God, it is something worse than your Satan. Your God leaves Satan and Hell in place to control you, just like Hitler did with the furnaces.
For the price of a cheap bible your pal Satan ought to be able to figure out how to go off script, which suggests that he has to be the dumbest mythical being ever. Why would anyone with an ounce of intelligence ever follow such an idiot?
hey its just what i believe. i dont question what others do and i certainly dont question what my God does. i just hope that people pick the right positive path and maybe less negative things will happen. just trying to help out in a negative world. Doesnt your God want you to pick the perfect path or does he want you to chose the negative path?
Not everyone has or needs a god Scott.
I repeat: Can you imagine how miserable a world this would be if these zealots were in charge. Not that history hasn't already tallied up the body count from officially atheist regimes. I think most people agree that 100 million in the 20th C is a fair number.
100 million. Just wait to see what they have in store for the 21st C!
Don't feed the troll.
"zealots were in charge."
"My feelings as a Christian points me to my Lord and Savior as a fighter. It points me to the man who once in loneliness, surrounded only by a few followers, recognized these Jews for what they were and summoned men to fight against them and who, God's truth! was greatest not as a sufferer but as a fighter. In boundless love as a Christian and as a man I read through the passage which tells us how the Lord at last rose in His might and seized the scourge to drive out of the Temple the brood of vipers and adders. How terrific was His fight for the world against the Jewish poison. To-day, after two thousand years, with deepest emotion I recognize more profoundly than ever before in the fact that it was for this that He had to shed His blood upon the Cross. As a Christian I have no duty to allow myself to be cheated, but I have the duty to be a fighter for truth and justice.... And if there is anything which could demonstrate that we are acting rightly it is the distress that daily grows. For as a Christian I have also a duty to my own people.... When I go out in the morning and see these men standing in their queues and look into their pinched faces, then I believe I would be no Christian, but a very devil if I felt no pity for them, if I did not, as did our Lord two thousand years ago, turn against those by whom to-day this poor people is plundered and exploited."
-Adolf Hitler, in his speech in Munich on 12 April 1922
Can people imagine if YOUR zealots were in charge? How would we be any different than Afghanistan or Iran?
Hey kids – run along now. Reruns of Myth Busters are on now.
" Reruns of Myth Busters are on now"
God and Jesus are a myth is now playing hurry up!
Come watch with me kids.
Morris Pert is just another hateful, deluded, ignorant Christian.
Morris never stated his religion of preference. That is an assumption.
I'm a Christian and pround of it.
"pround" is right.
Can you imagine how miserable a world this would be if these zealots were in charge. Not that history hasn't already tallied up the body count from officially atheist regimes. I think most people agree that 100 million in the 20th C is a fair number.
"Can you imagine how miserable a world this would be"
It would be good and moral. Religious people find it very annoying that people don't need God to be good, as science has now incontestably proved.
For millennia, we've been brainwashed into believing that we needed the Almighty to redeem us from an essentially corrupt nature. Left to our own devices, people would quickly devolve into beasts, more violent, tactless, aggressive, and selfish, than we already are.
Today, we know that this isn't true. With the discovery of mirror neurons by Italian neuroscientist Giaccomo Rizzolatti in the 1990s, we now have physiological proof of why - and how - our species became hard-wired for goodness. Mirror neurons are miraculous cells in the brain whose sole purpose is to harmonize us with our environments. By reflecting the outside world inward, we actually become each other - a little bit; neurologically changed by what is happening around us. Mirror neurons are the reason that we have empathy and can feel each other's pain. It is because of mirror neurons that you blush when you see someone else humiliated, flinch when someone else is struck, and can't resist the urge to laugh when seeing a group struck with the giggles. (Indeed, people who test for "contagious yawning" tend to be more empathic.) These tiny mirrors are the key to most things noble and good inside us.
It is through mirror neurons - not God - that we redeem ourselves, achieve salvation, and are "reborn" in virtuous ways once co-opted by religions. Evolution knew what she was doing. A group of successful cooperators has a much higher chance of thriving than a population of selfish liars. In spite of what we read in the headlines, the ratio of bad to good deeds done on any given day across our planet holds at close to zero any day of the year. Although we are ethical works-in-progress, the vast majority of us are naturally positive creatures - meaning not harmful to our environments - most of the time in most of the ways that matter. And God has nothing to do with it.
Spirituality does but God doesn't. Evolutionary psychologists tell us that our brains are hard-wired with a five-toned moral organ that focuses on a quintet of ethical values - one of which is purity, or sacredness. In a world that can sometimes be disgusting, we evolved an upper tier of emotional longing - the aspiration for purity - to keep us balanced in this satyricon of carnal delights (where animality beckons and frequently wins). Our need for sacredness is part of our ancient survival apparatus, and manifests in what we call faith, the need to connect with that sacred dimension. This has been the primary purpose of religion, of course - to congregate people for the Greater Good - but God has been, in fact, the divine carrot. The important part was communion, a context in which to transcend ourselves, if only for an hour on Sundays. Without this ability "to turn off the Me and turn on the We," moral psychologist Jonathan Haidt tells us, our species would still be wandering around as groups of nomads, unable to create a civilization.
Aside from mirror neurons, there's oxytocin, the molecule of connection (also known as the molecule of love). It's fascinating to learn that the vagus nerve produces more oxytocin when we witness virtuous behavior in others that makes us want to be better people ourselves. We are wired by nature to be elevated at the sight of other people's goodness, mirror neurons and oxytocin conspiring to improve the species. Miraculous though it is, this natural human phenomenon has nothing to do with theology.
I stopped reading after you quoted me. What a sad and lonely bore you are. Read Eduardo's song to you. He nailed it.
"I stopped reading after you quoted me. What a sad and lonely bore you are. Read Eduardo's song to you. He nailed it."
That's why your just an uneducated troll.
Take your "cut and paste" cereal box science and pedal it to some witless teenagers. They're more likely to be awed by your nonsense
"Take your "cut and paste" cereal box science and pedal it to some witless teenagers."
So you lied because you did read part of it. Lying is a sin...quick repent!
Yup, and of those millions how many were German Christian nazis that we were also killing by the millions? Find me any American atheists on this board who think that communism, or dictatorships are anything but loser ideas.
What zealots? Fred Phelps and the Westboro Baptist Church? The Taliban? Or are you bizarrely referring to people who simply don't believe in a "god"?
The first two groups *are* zealots. But atheists certainly aren't. You won't even know who most atheists are because it's not a "religion" or a "faith". It's literally nothing more than a lack of belief in something. Don't judge atheists by the few rabid arguers on anonymous forums. They're the exception, not the rule.
CNN Belief Blog: Where every angry miscreant atheist gathers for "church" on Sunday. In their twisted little minds, this is where they get to throw the Christians to the lions. They love a good, bloody sacrifice.
"Where every angry miscreant atheist gathers for "church" "
Such a loving Christian comment now isn't it, maybe you need to rethink that the one because it is you who is angry and hateful.
Go find your own website! What a silly person.
Morris Pert, you said "I stopped reading after you quoted me." Uh, that rather destroys your comments on what Huh? said.
You are clearly quite stupid, not to mention self-centered and arrogant. Let me guess, you're a Christian.
It's called freedom of speech.
Matt...morris never said he was a Christian. I am agnostic and I notice that someone in here has the user name of "Christians are tards" or some such. It's hard not to notice that. And Morris this website is public.
Morris Pert, you said "I stopped reading after you quoted me." Uh, that rather destroys your comments on what Huh? said.
You are clearly quite stupid, not to mention self-centered and arrogant. Let me guess, you're a Christian.
Oh, how perscuted you must feel there sitting in your warm cozy bedroom as the electons appear on your screen. Just think how proud of you the baby Jesus must be.
Wrong metaphor there buddy. This isn't where Christians die in the name of their faith, this is where Christians show why their beliefs don't make a lick of sense with only a few leading questions by atheists.
I don't know you have not committed any crime. I know that your hatred is troubling. I see alot of hatred coming from Atheists which makes me think you might be very troubled.
OK. Now insult me again you wonderful example of morality. Sorry for the sarcasm but it is warranted.
I think you mistake hatred with frustration over your total inability to see reason, and lack of common sense. You might find that insulting, but it doesn't make it any less true.
"OK. Now insult me again you wonderful example of morality. Sorry for the sarcasm but it is warranted."
Your Christ would probably say differently.
"All Christians are stupid"
"All Jews are stupid"
"All Atheists are stupid"
"All Muslims are stupid"
It's the same hate, with different labels and faces. None of it is correct or appropriate, and yet we humans keep on persisting and reveling in it.
Observe the following comments
You haven't been paying attention. It's just the believers who have simply said that atheists are stupid, but the atheists have actually shown that belief in gods is silly and irrational.
Franklin, there is alot more going on in these postings than wether or not dieties exist. And yes, I have been taking notice of all of it.
Oh, I can't be bothered to hate piffle like you, Brophy. You aren't that impressive.
I see a lot of hatred, as well as a lot of generalizing about atheists from christians. Perhaps you ought to attend to the beam in your own eye before you worry about the mote in the eyes of others.
Sadly, until American women start losing weight, these mass killings will continue.
"I never will, by any word or act, bow to the shrine of intolerance or admit a right of inquiry into the religious opinions of others."
Yet, aren't Conservative Christians showing their intolerance when they act to limit things that moderate Christians and others are OK with?
We're Richard Dawkins' Lonely Hearts Club Band
We've got no bloody place to go
Richard Dawkins' one and only Lonely Hearts Club Band
All the girls in high school told us "no"
We're Richard Dawkins' Lonely, Richard Dawkins' Lonely,
Richard Dawkins' Lonely Hearts Club Band
If jesus ever got off it was with one of his twelve disciple buddies, spit or swallow, only jesus knows!!!!
If jesus ever got off it was with one of his twelve disciple buddies, spit or swallow, only jesus knows!!!!!!
Hmm, wasn't Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band written by John Lennon?
You know, he was they guy that a born again christian, Mark David Chapman, murdered?
Oh, right. He was an atheist, and he's in his well-deserved eternal torment, so Chapman was really doing god's work, right?
From the article: "And if he’s in control, he’ll find a way to let you know."
Nope. There is no god at all anywhere whatsoever and never has been. Total author FAIL.
No, people will come up with something out of their imagination to reassure themselves that God's still in control.
Yes, but that's not really the point I was making.
When I get responses like yours I am again reminded that I am not really very good at trolling. Thanks, sort of.
Why troll when you can use your intelligence to illustrate your point instead of just telling it?
Well, I was trying that and not really trying to troll all that much, so I guess I'm just posting in the wrong place or something...
The first rule of persuasive writing is to "show", not "tell". 🙂
Hmm. I can do that...sometimes. Really, I was just posting something to be posting and have now paid the price. Thanks.
Have a great week, Franklin.
P99. 99 bottles of beer on the wall, 99 bottles of beer. take one down, pass it around, 98 bottles of beer on the wall.
Digital beer has no taste. Here, have you tasted this stuff? It's worthless. Ugh.
All American beer has no taste! 🙂
Oh yes, more exposure to religion is the answer. That's why religious countries have less crime than secular ones.
What? Religious countries have MORE crime?
Uh, well, yeah, you can clearly see that the Bible Belt is safer and has less crime than those hatefully secular parts like the west.
What? The Bible Belt has much more crime? Much higher murder rates?
Ignore the facts! God hates facts! Put God back in school! The Amish NEVER have school shootings!
What? Dead Amish girls?
You know, reality is a real pain if you are religious.
98 bottles of beer.
You got it backwards. The places where people are most desperate financially and where crime is the highest is where people cling to religion because their problems seem too big to, you know, actually DO anything about. Religion is about coping with pain, not with making life any better. It's for the lazy and the unheroic.
Stupid article. Here come the wannabbe atheist trolls like flies to dog p00p.
Stupid article. Here come the wannabe atheist trolls like flies to dog p00p.
"Here come the wannabe atheist trolls like flies to dog p00p."
And here comes the emotionally immature to join it.
Atheists are here to comment on Christian assertions that God is innocent in the face of such disasters. So, that would make those assertions the "dog p00p" you mentioned, correct?
If that were true, Mel, then a prosperous religious place like Utah would have low crime. Guess which state consistently has the highest rate of rape in the country? And it's the sexually repressed Mormon males doing it . . . to mormon females.
Well, Utah is also the largest consumer of paid internet p0rnography per capita in the United States. That aside, Utah has a strong resource base which brings its prosperity. It's not like Mormonism put the minerals under the soil, or made the mountains such great tourist spots, is it? So, I guess you are right, there are exceptions to the general rule.
The rule is that religion and crime go hand in hand. Utah is no exception. You attempted to claim it was economics, but countries of equal prosperity to the Bible Belt in secular Europe have much less crime.
Sorry. Any other eveasions you want to try?
Religion IS crime. Religion is FRAUD.
And fraud can be used to cover up any other crime.