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God will 'wrestle the light from darkness,' pastor tells heartbroken congregation
A woman receives a hug as she leaves a morning service at Trinity Episcopal Church not far from the Sandy Hook School December 16, 2012 in Newtown, Connecticut
December 16th, 2012
09:18 PM ET

God will 'wrestle the light from darkness,' pastor tells heartbroken congregation

By Eric Marrapodi and Kate Bolduan, CNN

Newtown, Connecticut (CNN)– The bulletins were printed on Thursday for the third Sunday of Advent for Trinity Episcopal Church in Newtown. There was no mention of Friday in the pages' long order for worship.

By Sunday morning, the church was hosting its fourth service since the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary, and the sanctuary had been open for 72 straight hours keeping vigil.

A half-empty pallet of tissue boxes greeted church members as they arrived in the front hallway. As the second of the morning's two worship services got underway, people were already quietly weeping in their seats.

Young children sat and quietly played or colored next to their parents, unaware of the tragedy around them or that their friend Benjamin Wheeler, a 6-year-old who attended Trinity with his family, was not there. Wheeler was among the 26 people killed at Sandy Hook on Friday when a gunman burst into his elementary school.

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Pastor Kathleen Adams-Sheperd recounted to the church how she spent Friday at the fire station, waiting with the parents of elementary school children to find out if their child had made it out safely or was among those who did not.

"Friday in some part has changed our lives forever," she said in her sermon as she stood in the middle of the congregation, eschewing the pulpit for proximity to her members.

Speaking to a crowd still raw and still suffering, she told them of the sermon she had prepared and how it was long gone, asking them to be patient with her as she preached with no notes.

On this day, she said, it was "important to be where we are," to be "present with people." She encouraged them to hug one another.

"No, really, get up and hug someone," she said. Old and young, visitors and members, embraced tearfully.

"Families of our lovely innocent children need our prayers," she said. "Families who survived need our prayers."

"I want you to know talking to the ones who have lost, the one spot of joy is that your children are not lost."

Adult men from the church were posted at the doors this week, she said, so the children in the service and Sunday schools would know this was a safe place for them.

CNN’s Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the biggest stories

Dressed in purple vestments and wearing a small stud nose ring, Adams-Sheperd walked the church through pieces of the planned Advent service, when Christians light four candles in the four weeks leading up to Christmas to prepare to celebrate the birth of Jesus.

"I believe faith will save us," she said. "To loose this faith is to let the darkness win."

"Was God absent from our world?" she asked, a burning question on the minds of many in this heartbroken town.

"Indeed not."

"Have we been shaken? Yes. Have we seen hope? Yes, yes, yes."

She pointed to the hero teachers who shielded children, administrators from the school who rushed toward the shooter, and the first-responders as evidence of that hope.

"So many signs of hope and light in the darkness that seems to envelope us; that's what Advent is," she said.

She said she believed the horrific acts were not the will of God.

"Where was God? Surrounding all the children. The 430 that made it out, and the 20 that did not."

God, she said, "was with them, is with them, and will be with them always.

"God will find a way to bring comfort and hope and light. He will wrestle it from the darkness."

In the coming days the church will see multiple funerals, including for little Benjamin Wheeler on Thursday and for another classmate, 6-year-old Madeleine Hsu, on Friday. Adams-Sheperd told the church local funeral directors had donated costs of the funeral to the families.

Cameras were not permitted to film the worship service but the church welcomed reporters to come and worship. Adams-Shepard explained to the crowd she would not go on camera and talk to reporters because she had given her word to the victim's families, and that what happened in the school is "owned by the parents."

She told the congregation if anyone was holding any enmity in their heart it was time to let it go.

"I'm done. I love you. Pray, everyone," she said. And with that she turned to prayer and recited the name of each victim.

CNN's Jeremy Moorhead contributed to this report.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Belief • Episcopal • Violence

soundoff (604 Responses)
  1. My Cross

    M-y wife and I recently signed up for 23.anadem, which analyzes a sample of ones DNA. It is useful for identifying potential health risks, and tracing an.cestry. My own ancestry, through the genes, was mun.dane My wife had a remarkable ge.netic make up, which includes 3percent gen.etic material which is N-eanderthal. She is Ja-panese, with Sp-anish, French, Sl-avic, and South American na-tive (think Inca) background. But several thousand years ago (note this; it must have occurred well before 8000 years ago which creationists believe was about the time that g-od created man), a very distant ancestor of hers m-ated with a N-eanderthal. I know this is hard to believe, it is hard for me to believe, but this is true, and should cause some of you to think, as it has caused me to do. For those who wonder what this cross looks like – she is beautiful.

    December 18, 2012 at 8:40 am |
  2. Reality

    School shootings have been occurring since 1764 in the territory that was to become the USA:

    Some recent statistics and history:

    "According to the National School Safety Center, since the 1992-1993 U.S. school year there has been a significant decline in school-as-sociated violent deaths (deaths on private or p-ublic school property for kindergarten through grade 12 and resulting from schools functions or activities):[37]"

    1992–1993 (44 H-o-micides and 55 Deaths resulting from school shootings in the U.S.)
    1993–1994 (42 H-omicides and 51 Deaths resulting from school shootings in the U.S.)
    1994–1995 (17 H-omicides and 20 Deaths resulting from school shootings in the U.S.)
    1995–1996 (29 H-omicides and 35 Deaths resulting from school shootings in the U.S.)
    1996–1997 (23 H-omicides and 25 Deaths resulting from school shootings in the U.S.)
    1997–1998 (35 H-omicides and 40 Deaths resulting from school shootings in the U.S.)
    1998–1999 (25 H-omicides from school shootings in the U.S.)
    1999–2000 (25 H-omicides from school shootings in the U.S.)

    According to the U.S. Department of Education, in the 1998-1999 School Year, 3,523 students (57% High School, 33% Junior High, 10% Elementary) were expelled for bringing a firearm to school.[38]

    The late 1990s started to see a major reduction in gun related school violence, but was still plagued with multiple victim shootings including;

    See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/School_shootings_in_the_United_States for a list of shootings from 1764 to the current tragedy.

    December 18, 2012 at 12:55 am |
  3. Not Your Average White Guy

    Huckabee should be appointed to a new cabinet position "Delusionary In Chief"

    December 17, 2012 at 7:30 pm |
  4. Eduardo

    It was twenty years ago today
    That the coaches said we couldn't play
    Our classmates called us nerdy geeks
    Our pastors told us to be meek
    You wonder why we're full of rage?
    We need this electronic stage.

    RICHARD DAWKINS' LONELY HEARTS CLUB BAND!

    We're Richard Dawkins' Lonely Hearts Club Band
    We've got no bloody place to go
    We're Richard Dawkins' one and only Lonely Hearts Club Band
    The girls in high school told us "no"

    Richard Dawkins', Lonely, RIchard Dawkins' Lonely
    Richard Dawkins' Lonely (Harmony) Hearts Club Band

    I don't really want to spoil the show
    But I thought you'd all like to know
    My daddy was a fall-down drunk
    His uncle was pedophile monk
    I don't know how to handle pain
    My childhood prayers were in vain

    Richard Dawkins' Lonely Hearts Club Band!

    Billy Shears!

    What would you think if I called God a jerk, would you stand up and walk out on me.
    Lend me your ears and I'll sing you a song of why your faith bothers me

    Oh I get by with a little hate in my heart
    Ooh, and I cry with a little hate in my heart,
    Yeah, I'm going to die with a little hate in my heart.
    Mmm, I'm going die with a little hate in my heart

    CHORUS

    (Could you be more obnoxious?)
    I just want someone to hate

    (Don't you know you're obnoxious?)
    I need somebody to hate

    Oh I get by with a little hate in my heart
    Ooh, and I cry with a little hate in my heart,
    Yeah, I'm going to die with a little hate in my heart.
    Mmm, I'm going die with a little hate in my heart, a little hate in my (Harmony) Heart

    December 17, 2012 at 6:08 pm |
    • Primewonk

      Is there a point to this bullshit you spam on every board, over and over?

      You have become as relvant as lol?? and lionlylamb.

      December 18, 2012 at 9:08 am |
    • Scranton Bob

      @Primewonk

      I think you illustrated Eduardo point perfectly! Congratulations.

      December 18, 2012 at 11:05 am |
    • Bet

      Once upon a time they played that
      Fo, lo, dee, oh, do
      But that was long ago
      Then they started singin' that
      Boo, boop, ee, do

      But they got tired of that, you know
      Now here's a little tune that's goin' 'round
      You can hear it all over town
      They're singin'

      Ink, a dink a dink, a dink a dink, a dink a doo
      Oh what a tune for croonin'
      Ink a dink a dink, a dink a dink, a dink a doo
      It's got the whole world swoonin'

      Eskimo belles up in Iceland
      Have got themselves a real paradise land
      Singin'

      Ink a dink a dink, a dink a dink, a dink a doo
      Ink a dink a dink, a dink a doo

      December 18, 2012 at 1:29 pm |
  5. lol??

    The A&A's have a god in washington. This god makes STRONG demands. Don't cross him.

    December 17, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
  6. Ken

    Pastors have done far too much wrestling in darkness.

    December 17, 2012 at 2:55 pm |
    • Rational Libertarian

      At least that's usually with other men, whereas priests usually do it with little boys.

      December 17, 2012 at 2:57 pm |
    • lol??

      It can always get worse. I heard of one hot chick pastor that would have a wardrobe malfunction every couple of months to keep the old guys awake. They had to hire paramedics for their "services".

      December 17, 2012 at 4:10 pm |
  7. kenrick Benjamin

    Rational Libertarian- How it is that all of a sudden got stupid and lost your senses.

    December 17, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
    • Rational Libertarian

      Again you're one pronoun short of a sentence.

      December 17, 2012 at 2:40 pm |
    • sam

      Is sentence structure really this hard for you, or are you just typing too fast?

      December 17, 2012 at 2:41 pm |
    • kenrick Benjamin

      Rational- Quit making excuses.

      December 17, 2012 at 2:54 pm |
    • kenrick Benjamin

      I am at work and I am constantly being interrupted.

      December 17, 2012 at 2:57 pm |
    • Kendrick's Boss

      Your fired! We pay people to work here, not to wank around on the internet!

      December 17, 2012 at 3:50 pm |
    • Dippy

      You're, not your.

      December 19, 2012 at 11:47 pm |
  8. Vic

    Luke 10:18
    "18 And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven."

    The DEVIL is ONLY to blame for what happened in Newtown, CT last Friday. That's his work!

    December 17, 2012 at 1:41 pm |
    • The Truth

      Right, because if lightning strikes a child it must have been Satan and had nothing to do with a collection of charged particles in the atmosphere...

      Please go back to your hidy hole and stop accusing people of being witches, it just makes you look deranged.

      December 17, 2012 at 1:46 pm |
    • Brian

      "The DEVIL is ONLY to blame for what happened in Newtown, CT last Friday. That's his work!"

      But yet your Bible claims that your God created everything and it was good, that means your God also created the DEVIL. Now why does your God continue to allow this evil loose on humanity? Because your God is not the loving God you all want us to believe in.

      December 17, 2012 at 1:51 pm |
    • Rational Libertarian

      Forget about the Gelgameks?!!!

      December 17, 2012 at 2:18 pm |
    • sam

      The longer people run around believing this kind of nonsense, the longer it's going to take to get to the root of our real problems in this country.

      December 17, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
    • Ben

      You just mean our human capacity to do evil things, right? We don't need some outside agent to influence us into doing evil when we can do it all by ourselves.

      December 17, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
  9. The Truth

    Religion makes no sense unless you really really want it to. And if you are at the "really really wanting" stage who cares about making sense, just give in to your hearts desire of being eternally "saved" in "the cloud" like some downloadable application. The funny thing is we as a species have a much greater chance of actually saving our consciousness to a computer data bank at some point then every confirming an eternal spitrital soul...

    December 17, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
    • lol??

      Tell us about your Socialist mommy.

      December 17, 2012 at 2:02 pm |
    • The Truth

      @lol-troll – There is nothing more social-list than Facebook...

      December 17, 2012 at 2:08 pm |
    • lol??

      C'mon, surely you can admit to being bullied because her name was Oliver. Otherwise where could it lead?

      December 17, 2012 at 2:23 pm |
    • sam

      @lol?? – I'm beginning to think the signs are there for you to be the kind of person we lock our schools down for.

      December 17, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
    • Ben

      People see religion as the "cure" to the ills of society, but like anyone desperate enough for a cure to anything they will fall victim to fast-talking salesmen pushing cures that sound too good to be true.

      Everything about Christianity sounds too good to be true, and preachers are among the fastest talkers there are in this world. Common sense should tell you that you're most likely being conned.

      December 17, 2012 at 2:59 pm |
    • lol??

      Ben, two thumbs down from me on rickity warren, no matter what Forbes sayz.

      December 17, 2012 at 3:02 pm |
    • What IF

      The Truth,
      " The funny thing is we as a species have a much greater chance of actually saving our consciousness to a computer data bank at some point then every confirming an eternal spitrital soul..."

      Yes. Transhumanism is profoundly more exciting (and possible) than the god myths. You never know, we just might one day learn how to go back in time and pick up all of the 'dead' consciousnesses too. Earth is way too small to hold all the bodies, but consciousnesses would not take up any space nor resources.

      December 17, 2012 at 3:08 pm |
    • Bwain

      Ben, you sound like you have gone to some horrible churches.

      I don't have a preacher, I have a pastor. She doesn't talk fast. She is not trying to sell me something. I am free to make my own decisions.

      Our church supports missions in Africa to provide relief. Real relief. Wells for fresh water. Clean water has lead to less disease.

      We also support causes in our local commnunity. Our church is fighting to raise minimum wage. We are fighting to cap limits on predatory pay day loan companies.

      We also support food banks, that gives needy family food for their children.

      This Christmas we are adopting local families and helping supply them with gifts that they could not afford on their own.

      We look for those in need and help.

      God has blessed us. We hope to be a blessing to others.

      December 17, 2012 at 3:08 pm |
    • lol??

      Bwain, I don't need any rebel women trying to teach me. Sorry for you......"1Ti 2:12 But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence."

      December 17, 2012 at 3:50 pm |
  10. kenrick Benjamin

    Why does God permit Evil because we know right from wrong. Think about it.

    December 17, 2012 at 1:26 pm |
    • Rational Libertarian

      I would think about it if you were more coherent.

      December 17, 2012 at 1:29 pm |
    • kenrick Benjamin

      Rational Libertarian – Read Genesis.

      December 17, 2012 at 1:58 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @kenrick

      Genesis is a myth.

      December 17, 2012 at 2:00 pm |
    • Smithsonian

      " Read Genesis."

      The stories found in the Book of Genesis, Chapter 1-12, such as the flood story, the record is quite different: the time period under consideration is much more ancient. The factual bases of the stories are hidden from our view archaeologically. The stories remain a part of folk traditions and were included in the Bible to illustrate and explain theological ideas such as: Where did humans come from? If humans were created by God (who is perfect and good), how did evil among them come to be? If we are all related as children of God, why do we speak different languages? It must be remembered that the Bible is primarily a book of religion, a guide to faith. it was not a book of history, poetry, economics, or science. It contains all sorts of literary genre, which are used to teach about the relationship between God and mankind. Even biblical history is edited history: events were chosen to illustrate the central theme of the Bible. The Biblical writers did not pretend they were giving a complete history; instead they constantly refer us to other sources for full historical details, sources such as "The Annals of the Kings of Judah" (or Israel).

      It is therefore not possible to try to "prove" the Bible by means of checking its historical or scientific accuracy. The only "proof" to which it can be subjected is this: Does it correctly portray the God-human relationship? In the best analysis, the Bible is a religious book, not an historical document.

      December 17, 2012 at 2:02 pm |
    • SImran

      @ Smithsonian – Does it correctly portray the God-human relationship?

      Well, DOES IT?

      December 17, 2012 at 2:04 pm |
    • Bob

      " Does it correctly portray the God-human relationship?

      Well, DOES IT?"

      It's a religious book, just like all other religious books, doesn't mean it's true. Come on now if you think it's actually real then so are all other religious book are true too.

      December 17, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
    • Rational Libertarian

      I've read Genesis, it doesn't affect the fact that not using correct punctuation makes it difficult for others to understand what you mean. I have the gist of it now so I'll retort:

      God created us knowing exactly what we'd do, so if God created me knowing that I would massacre a bunch of children, then he is responsible for those childrens' deaths. Ergo, not only does he allow evil, he is evil.

      Or there is no god, certainly not an omniscient and omnipotent one.

      December 17, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
    • kenrick Benjamin

      Rational Libertarian- It is such that in the day when you are Judged, you wouldn't say, I never had the opportunity and I did not know.

      December 17, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
    • Rational Libertarian

      I'm sorry, I don't speak Retard, could you please translate.

      December 17, 2012 at 2:29 pm |
    • SImran

      Exactly Bob, my question was a rhetorical one!

      December 17, 2012 at 2:29 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Rational Libertarian

      Allow me.

      "I'M RIGHT DAMNIT, AND IF YOU DON'T BELIEVE ME WHEN YOU DIE MY GOD WILL SEND YOU TO BE TORTURED FOREVER"
      "And by the way god loves you a lot."

      December 17, 2012 at 2:31 pm |
    • Rational Libertarian

      Thanks Hawaii, I really should brush up on my Retard, as it seems to be the predominate language on this blog.

      December 17, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
    • kenrick Benjamin

      Rational Libertarian- How it is that all of a sudden you done got stupid and lost your senses.

      December 17, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      Translation:

      "Y U NO BELIEVE ME?"

      December 17, 2012 at 2:37 pm |
    • kenrick Benjamin

      Hawaiigent & Smithsonian- If that's all you got when the both of you read the Bible, then more power to Ya.

      December 17, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
    • Rational Libertarian

      The Gelgamek v.agina is three feet wide and filled with razor sharp teeth. Do you really expect us to have s.ex with it?

      December 17, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
    • Romnesia

      and now you're one verb in excess of a sentence.

      December 17, 2012 at 2:44 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @kenrick

      There's nothing more to genesis than myth. There's nothing more to the rest of the bible than ancient superstitions trying to explain things they didn't know. Hence the cure for leprosy in the bible being what it is.

      December 17, 2012 at 2:44 pm |
    • Ben

      If we already know right from wrong why do we need bibles or a God?

      December 17, 2012 at 3:01 pm |
    • Ummmmm

      " If that's all you got when the both of you read the Bible, then more power to Ya."

      Most Atheists posting are former Christians and in some cases former ministers.

      December 17, 2012 at 3:03 pm |
    • kenrick Benjamin

      Rational- People do strange things in this world, who would have taught that a 20 year old would kill 20 children for no apparent reason.

      December 17, 2012 at 3:07 pm |
    • kenrick Benjamin

      Ben- So that you would know from whence you came.

      December 17, 2012 at 3:10 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      In christian theology, we were never meant to know right from wrong in the first place.

      December 17, 2012 at 3:38 pm |
    • kenrick Benjamin

      Hawaiiguest- Hmm I wonder why ?

      December 18, 2012 at 2:57 pm |
  11. Bwain

    "Why do you want to defend god?"

    Because this guy posted that there were only 3 scenarios for the existance of God. And I tried to provide another.

    I read an article about Christians being helpful toward suffering people. And then in the comments a bunch of trolls are attacking this help. How is that helpful? Why would you read an article about faith and the help it brings, and then try and tear that down?

    December 17, 2012 at 12:17 pm |
    • SImran

      So, you think that god for some mysterious reasons, lets bad things happen bcoz he wants our attention. Is that really how you would want to look at it? That since we are not paying much attention to him these days, he lets innocent people get killed, just so that we can get closer to him. Isn't that a bit extreme.
      On one side, I hear religious zealots also tell me that I will feel closer to god when god wants it to happen. That I will have a change of heart and will see what he wants me to see. And then suddenly, they wheel in the free will!

      Well, I am not judging or anything, I am just trying to wrap my head around this argument.

      December 17, 2012 at 12:25 pm |
    • SImran

      I obviously must have missed that article. But the point of open forums is that everyone can place their own opinion and argue their point, which is essentially what we are doing here, right! Now, there are a lot of negatives I read about atheists, about Muslims, Jews, Mormons, etc here too. Do I feel touchy? Not exactly. If I believe in my faith firmly, do I care what others write? Not the least.

      December 17, 2012 at 12:30 pm |
    • SImran

      You also write in that previous post that not everything is about the materialistic world. I do agree. But if you look at different civilizations, each has approached the question of WHY WE ARE HERE or WHY WE SUFFER in quite different ways. There are cultures that believe that we keep getting reborn in different forms and in each life, we are answerable for our karma of the past. Only when we have passed through several "yonis", we finally attain salvation. And they do not have the concept of heaven and hell. And some of these religions are pretty advanced in their metaphysical aspects.

      But still, that begs the question – whose idea is the right one?

      December 17, 2012 at 12:38 pm |
    • The Truth

      "Why would you read an article about faith and the help it brings, and then try and tear that down?"

      Because much like a modern doctor would cringe at the horror of ancient bloodletting to cure sickness, I cringe at the archaic and ignorant methods by which persons of faith choose to explain and treat these horrible crimes.

      December 17, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
  12. Rational Libertarian

    At least Westboro are honest about Christianity.

    December 17, 2012 at 11:33 am |
    • Rational Humanist

      You silly rabbit! The only way to be honest about a religion is to say that it is a lie and a fraud. Try again?

      December 17, 2012 at 12:16 pm |
    • Rational Libertarian

      I'm speaking purely from a theological viewpoint.

      Also, Trix are for kids.

      December 17, 2012 at 12:26 pm |
    • Rational Humanist

      So you were speaking in terms only delusional people could understand? Okay, got it.
      Carry on.

      December 17, 2012 at 12:55 pm |
    • Rational Libertarian

      So we have a new d.ouchebag troll on the Belief Blog. Your ilk are plentiful and annoying, yet I welcome you anyway.

      December 17, 2012 at 1:28 pm |
    • lol??

      That's not rational. They are a bunch of attorneys. Marx's dad was a jewish attorney that "converted" so he could continue his practice. Attorneys are tricky.

      December 17, 2012 at 2:11 pm |
    • Rational Libertarian

      Do you mean Karl Marx? What does that have to do with anything?

      December 17, 2012 at 2:23 pm |
    • lol??

      Too tricky for you.

      December 17, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
    • Rational Libertarian

      Is this a riddle compet.ition? Are you Gollum? Ok, my turn:

      Alive without breath,
      As cold as death;
      Never thirsty, ever drinking,
      All in mail never clinking 

      December 17, 2012 at 2:32 pm |
    • lol??

      Marx and ye olde Hegelian debates. It's what passes for education in unca suga's schools.A way to find "truth" when you "win".

      December 17, 2012 at 2:45 pm |
    • the AnViL

      Alive without breath,
      As cold as death;
      Never thirsty, ever drinking,
      All in mail never clinking

      it's a gay fish!

      i should win something for this.

      i deserve a prize – and i want my prize.

      December 17, 2012 at 4:00 pm |
  13. catholic engineer

    The events in Newtown, Connecticut seem to show that the Bible will always be relevant. Why? Because our human experience is imbedded in it. Twenty six people including the twenty children were murdered. Around this time, 2000 years ago, Herod was murdering infant boys. Those parents must have felt the same as the parents of Newtown. Most of us can identify with the Sameritan woman at the well with her five marriages, or the woman caught in adultery, or the man blind from birth. Or even the mad man among the Gerasene tombs. The people of Newtown can well identify with Mary the mother of Jesus as He expired on the cross. I don't know what science or political texts could say as a consolation to these people. Somehow, quoting from Origin of Species doesn't seem the right thing to do.

    December 17, 2012 at 11:12 am |
    • gary

      Sometimes Catholics are so messed up in the head that when their marriage ends, they become fanatically involved with something dangerous, like guns that only used to kill people, and make very poor decisions like taking their unbalanced, loner, child with them to shooting practice.

      December 17, 2012 at 11:25 am |
    • Ben

      There is no external source that verifies that Herod killed those boys. Likely, this was just added to the story of Jesus as an allusion to the Exodus event.

      Also, you should have said that the bible is linked to some of us. There are plenty of nonChristian Americans who do not feel linked to your holy book. Please try to remember that.

      December 17, 2012 at 11:25 am |
    • Akira

      Comparing these 20 children to King Herod? All right.
      The comparison can also be made to God killing all of Egypt's first born.

      Consolation comes from compassion within a person, and not from a book filled with other tales of how God slaughtered innocents.

      Bad analogy.

      December 17, 2012 at 11:33 am |
    • Ben

      gary
      I grew up with guns and I take my kids out to teach them how to use them. I was taught to treat them as tools, but the problem is that people treat them as toys. Please separate responsible gun users from the irresponsible ones.

      December 17, 2012 at 11:33 am |
    • catholic engineer

      @ Ben "Also, you should have said that the bible is linked to some of us. There are plenty of nonChristian Americans who do not feel linked to your holy book. Please try to remember that." I will respectfull do so. Thanks, Ben, for your sane response.

      December 17, 2012 at 11:39 am |
    • Huebert

      Ben

      I would say the problem with guns is that they are tools for killing, and in the case of handguns and as.sault weapons they are tools for killing people. Our country has such a plethora of highly efficient killing tools that it is not to difficult for someone who intends to cause harm to get his hands on one. I'm sure you are a responsible gun owner, I am as well, but I do believe that a large part of the problem is that there are simply to many guns in our country.

      December 17, 2012 at 11:54 am |
    • Christianity is a form of mental illness- FACT

      "Somehow, quoting from Origin of Species doesn't seem the right thing to do."
      .
      Now that made me chuckle.

      December 17, 2012 at 1:02 pm |
  14. Christianity is a form of mental illness- FACT

    Gods will was done that day...he was pleased

    December 17, 2012 at 10:45 am |
    • Larry

      It's not a mental illness; it's just a very strong form of superst ition. You know, like the kind where people imagine that doing, or not doing something silly will lead to severe consequences.

      December 17, 2012 at 11:18 am |
    • Rational Humanist

      Larry, you brain-damaged yak, religion is by definition a delusional belief-system. All religious people are mentally ill.

      December 17, 2012 at 12:21 pm |
    • The Truth

      "It's not a mental illness; it's just a very strong form of superst ition. You know, like the kind where people imagine that doing, or not doing something silly will lead to severe consequences."

      We just have to make sure we aren't standing behind any of the superst itious when they spill some salt or it will be thrown in our eyes and we will be the one's blamed for standing in the wrong spot...

      December 17, 2012 at 2:06 pm |
  15. Christianity is a form of mental illness- FACT

    "God will 'wrestle the light from darkness,' pastor tells heartbroken congregation"
    .
    Actions speak louder than words of me....zero actions from the gods

    December 17, 2012 at 10:44 am |
    • Christianity is a form of mental illness- FACT

      men not me...typo

      December 17, 2012 at 10:44 am |
  16. myweightinwords

    Is it such a bad thing to let the faithful be comforted by their faith at a time like this?

    December 17, 2012 at 10:29 am |
    • sam stone

      not that i can see

      December 17, 2012 at 10:35 am |
    • Christianity is a form of mental illness- FACT

      Sometimes people need imaginary friends to cope. I see nothing wrong with this.

      December 17, 2012 at 10:53 am |
    • Ben

      As long as this comfort doesn't take away from whatever motivation they may have to do something to help prevent this from happening again. Sadly, lots of people who call upon God at times like this only rely upon him to solve such issues when human action is needed.

      December 17, 2012 at 11:10 am |
    • Huebert

      It's not a bad thing at all.

      December 17, 2012 at 12:21 pm |
    • Rational Humanist

      Since we do not have the resources to de-program every religious nut, the answer would be "maybe", but then if you were more perceptive you'd notice that there have been ZERO atheists bothering any of those people.
      What? Did groups of atheists burst into their churches yesterday and scream how stupid they are to put their trust in an imaginary being? No.
      You are an idiot.

      December 17, 2012 at 12:25 pm |
      • myweightinwords

        I merely asked a question. I made no statement at all. How you derive a conclusion like yours from my question speaks much more about you than it does about me.

        My question came after reading comments on the preceding pages, from people who seem to jump at any chance to deride those who express belief, who cling to faith.

        In the face of such a tragedy is it necessary to rip away the support faith provides? I don't think it is. Let people grieve. Let them have what gives them comfort.

        There will be time enough in the future to tell them how stupid you think they are for doing so.

        December 17, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
  17. JamesK

    I hope that people remember how heroically the teachers acted in this the next time their unions ask for better compensation.

    December 17, 2012 at 10:21 am |
  18. Doc Vestibule

    When all soldiers lay their weapons down
    Or when all kings and all queens relinquish their crowns
    Or when the only true Messiah rescues us from ourselves
    It's easy to imagine
    There will be sorrow no more.

    – Dr. Greg Graffin

    December 17, 2012 at 10:13 am |
    • Rational Humanist

      Graffin sound like a real idiot d-bag who is as clueless as any religious idiot I've ever heard.

      December 17, 2012 at 12:27 pm |
    • Bet

      There's no religion like Bad Religion.

      December 17, 2012 at 1:01 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @Rational
      He is an evolutionary biologist and author of "Anarchy Evolution: Fatih, Science and Bad Religion in a World Without God". His PhD thesis was an ana/lysis of the religious leaning of the world's eminent evolutionary biologists and found that the overwhelming majority of them are atheists who find no conflict between religion and science, so long as religion is recognized solely as a sociological adapatation.
      He is also the lead singer and songwriter for Bad Religion, a punk band who has used the "Crossbusters" logo for some thirty years.
      He is most assuredly not a religionist, nor even a deist.
      The song "Sorrow", form which the original post is taken, begins as a reflection on the story of Job –
      "Let me take you to the hurting ground
      Where all good men are trampled down
      Just to settle up a bet that could not be won
      Between a prideful father and his son"

      December 17, 2012 at 1:13 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      OOPS

      December 17, 2012 at 1:20 pm |
    • humanistJohn420

      Best band ever!

      December 18, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
  19. WHAT?????

    WHAT? GOD will? GOD? Which God? Is there a different one? Or are we talking about the same one that just let this happen? You are DELUSIONAL.
    God either: A) Doesn't exist, B) Exists but doesn't care at all, C) Exists and cares, but can't do anything. IF A or B are true, why worship? If C is true, why call him God?

    Yes, I know I'm paraphrasing the ancient Greek philosopher.

    December 17, 2012 at 9:45 am |
    • bwain

      WHAT? GOD will? GOD? Which God? Is there a different one?
      God, the creator. The only one.

      Or are we talking about the same one that just let this happen?
      Sometimes God lets evil happen. It is a mystery why. Maybe it shows us what a world without God looks like. Maybe He can use this tragedy to prevent an even larger tragedy that will happen if people do not change their ways. I can imagine a life in hell is worst than being shot. I'm just speculating, because I do not know why this happened. But maybe this is the only way God can get our attention.

      God either: A) Doesn't exist, B) Exists but doesn't care at all, C) Exists and cares, but can't do anything. IF A or B are true, why worship? If C is true, why call him God?

      God is soverign. This is His world. Just because he doesn't act in a way that you like does not mean he does not exist. God has made very clear that this world is not Heaven. This world is a struggle. There will be joy and suffering. There will be birth and death. Trust God to take you through these times and join His struggle against evil.

      December 17, 2012 at 11:05 am |
    • Huebert

      bwain

      It's no mystery why god "lets" evil happen. He does it because he doesn't exist. Existence is a prerequisite for action.

      December 17, 2012 at 11:13 am |
    • bwain

      Nope, there are things that are above human understanding. In 100 years our intelligence will look foolish. Just like we laugh at people who used to think the world was flat. Our reality and understanding of the world will soon be replace by a greater truth and understanding.

      You exist because God created you. You are a creature, no? And you have a creator. He may not be the invisible sky wizard that many use as a concept to understand God, a concept that probably has been created by watching too many cartoons.

      December 17, 2012 at 11:28 am |
    • hal 9001

      I'm sorry, "bwain", but "God" is an element of mythology, therefore everything you have posted to date is a falsehood. Using my Idiomatic Expression Equivalency module (IEE), the expression that best matches the degree to which your assertions may represent true statements is: "TOTAL FAIL".

      I see that you repeat these unfounded statements and falsehoods with high frequency. Perhaps the following book can help you:

      I'm Told I Have Dementia: What You Can Do... Who You Can Turn to...

      December 17, 2012 at 11:37 am |
    • Ben

      bewain
      Belief in gods is part of the ancient understanding of how the universe works. Why would you suppose that future discoveries will lead science back to ancient ways of thinking when no new discoveries do?

      December 17, 2012 at 11:40 am |
    • Huebert

      bwain

      "You exist because God created you."

      Evidence?

      December 17, 2012 at 11:45 am |
    • Bwain

      hal 9001
      Congratulations on being so smart you figured out you don't need God. My hat is off to you, sir. Good luck with this.

      Some of us need God. Like the people in this article. Please be respectful towards them and their beliefs.

      I need God. And He helps me. This is not a myth.

      Ben
      Ancient wisdom about God and our spirituality. There is more to this world than the material and scientific side.

      December 17, 2012 at 12:01 pm |
    • Bwain

      Huebert – "Evidence"
      You want me to do something that even God himself can't seem to do with you?

      Try this. Humble yourself. Get on your knees and thank God for all the good things you have in your life. These are your blessings. And while you are still on your knees, in the surrender position, ask him to reveal Himself to you.

      He will do this in His way in His time.

      It really works.

      December 17, 2012 at 12:05 pm |
    • SImran

      @Bewain

      "Sometimes God lets evil happen. It is a mystery why. Maybe it shows us what a world without God looks like. Maybe He can use this tragedy to prevent an even larger tragedy that will happen if people do not change their ways"

      Seriously, that is a lot of maybeez.....

      Why do you want to defend god?

      December 17, 2012 at 12:09 pm |
    • SImran

      "God is soverign. This is His world." – Why is God HIS? Why not her, it, they? There are religions where God is she, it, they!
      So, how come God decided to manifest in different ways in different parts of the world, to the extent of telling them that their understanding is the only true one, and that of others is a lie! Up unitl now, I thought this superiority complex was only a Christianity or Islam thing, but the other day I was reading a little about Hindu scriptures and the same madness is mentioned there as well!

      December 17, 2012 at 12:14 pm |
    • Huebert

      I was a believer for years. Over time I realized I was simply talking to myself. If god wanted me to believe he could prove that he exist at any point, but he doesn't so I am left to as.sume that he doesn't exist.

      December 17, 2012 at 12:19 pm |
    • Bwain

      "He" is a pronoun that we use to refer to Him. It doesn't do Him justice. But it is the best we can do.

      I'm a Lutheran and I believe God sent his son to save us. All of us.

      I think Christians have the only belief that God comes down to us to help. Most other religions people are trying to work their way up to God. Jews followed the laws. Buddhists follow the precepts. There is no spiritual ladder. We don't make ourselves better for God.

      God comes down and meets us where we are at. We don't earn this. We don't deserve this. But we live in response to this.

      And we are His hands. He works though us.

      December 17, 2012 at 12:26 pm |
    • JWT

      You can believe what you want – no harm in that as long as you keep it out of the government and away from my kids and me. I believe there is no god – a belief no worse than yours.

      December 17, 2012 at 12:34 pm |
    • SImran

      Bwain,
      So, by your comment it seems obvious that you think Christians have the best belief system bcoz god comes down to help them. For others, they have to work their way up to god!!! Now, that is a new one for me. I hate to say this, but that sounds as pretty lazy on the part of Christians!

      However, that is not my point here. My point is how do you explain that god manifested himself to you in one way, and chose another for a civilization in the east! And even in the West, why did he chose to appear as Allah to Muslims? Why couldn't god have just maintained some uniformity and avoided the religious massacres that have happened and continue to happen throughout this world?

      December 17, 2012 at 12:43 pm |
    • Bwain

      "So, by your comment it seems obvious that you think Christians have the best belief system bcoz god comes down to help them. For others, they have to work their way up to god!!! Now, that is a new one for me. I hate to say this, but that sounds as pretty lazy on the part of Christians!"

      It is true. We are saved by God, not by what we do. Our works don't save us. Our goods deed and good intentions do not save us. Only the work that Jesus did can save us.

      Our sins seperate us from God. Even the motives behind our good works are sinful. We are truly a hopeless creature. But with Jesus that changes. He died for us, so that we may live. He takes our punishment. He was innocent.

      Just like Adam sinned and caused all humanity to suffer, Jesus lived a perfect life and offers humanity salvation.

      "However, that is not my point here. My point is how do you explain that god manifested himself to you in one way, and chose another for a civilization in the east! And even in the West, why did he chose to appear as Allah to Muslims? Why couldn't god have just maintained some uniformity and avoided the religious massacres that have happened and continue to happen throughout this world?"

      God sent Jesus to save us. One man. That is our salvation and He is being made known to the whole world.

      False Gods have appeared all over the world. Don't worship them. Follow Jesus.

      December 17, 2012 at 12:54 pm |
    • SImran

      @ Bwain

      And you are an Evangelical JUST LIKE THE REST OF THEM!

      Now, let me put it this way – God created human race somewhere around 4,00,000yrs ago (I Hope have the right number of zeroes). And then he waited for 4,00,000 yrs to send his sin to earth (about 2000yrs ago) and save the world from – WHAT? Oh, their own sins, which of course started with Eve eating the apple. Poor Eve, she wasn't supposed to know right from wrong, bcoz she never earlier had that knowledge (prior to eating that apple) but god charged of sin and doomed the entire human race for eternity. Now the gracious god had to wait for so bloody long to send his son!!!
      Good plot so far....
      And then, when I ask – what about god manifesting himself in other ways in the East, out comes the DEVIL! Of course, they are all false faiths, false gods – the work of whom? Did I just hear SATAN????
      Bend on your knees all your life, but my advice – wear a knee cap! Helps prevent bursitis!

      December 17, 2012 at 1:05 pm |
    • Bwain

      Look, God has a plan for His creation that I do not fully understand.

      And I can not understand it.

      I am a human. I am not perfect. I am a creature created in God's image.

      He is God. He is perfect. His creation is not perfect, but He loves us anyway.

      Look at the universe. There are huge giant planets and spaces.

      And there are small, tiny electrons. There are things so small we can't even see them with our most powerful miscroscopes.

      And right in the middle of these sizes is humans. That is how important we are to God.

      The sun is huge and powerful. But I know the sun is there, it doesn't know I exist. That is because I am made in the image of God.

      The creation story is not to be taking literally. It is an attempt for us to understand. To try to comprehend something we really can't understand.

      God's time is different from our time. God is working to fix this fallen world. 4,000,000 years may be a second to God. Be patient.

      December 17, 2012 at 1:17 pm |
    • BU2B

      "You exist because God created you".
      Let's not pretend we don't know how babies are made. My parents are my creators, no mystery there and no invisible friends needed. I realize that Bwain is brainwashed beyond repair, but let's at least stay in reality for one bit and remember that we know how we actually got here.

      December 17, 2012 at 1:22 pm |
    • Bwain

      And in the creation story, Eve was tricked by the devil.

      That tells me the devil has certain powers in this world. God has allowed this.

      Maybe, God seeks true love. If he created us like robots that have to love him, is that really love?

      If he creates us to be able to choose, then that is real love.

      December 17, 2012 at 1:23 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      There is no use in talking to someone like bwain. People like that start with the conclusion, and the only question is how far everything needs to stretch to fit into that conclusion.

      December 17, 2012 at 1:23 pm |
    • The Truth

      "I need God. And He helps me. This is not a myth. "

      This is like a child crying because they need their pacifier. They don't really "need" it but they are used to it and it gives them comfort even though it's just a pretend ni.p.ple. And why do you attach a pe.nis to your creator making "him" male? The only reason for this would be because as religion evolved early humans saw the male as the creator, the seed bearer, the giver of life, the stud of creation so it just made sense that their "God" must also be hung like the big dipper...

      You need God like a diabetic "needs" an all you can hot fudge sundae bar...

      You need God like an alcoholic "needs" another drink...

      You need God like a ped0phile "needs" to babysit your kids...

      You need God like a heroine junkie "needs" their next fix...

      December 17, 2012 at 1:32 pm |
    • SImran

      Bwain says – I have no idea of god's plan, and never will, but I do know for sure there is a god!

      Pretty amusing.
      I never said I am taking the creation story literally. All I asked was that why did God wait for 4,00,000yrs and then decide to send his son on earth to reveal his truth? Where was he before that? And why did he forget more than half of his creation?

      Oh, dont even get started with the vastness of the universe. There are religions who have figured that out much better than the Bible, and ages before the Bible was written. A quote from the Rigveda –

      Then there was neither existence nor non-existence.
      There was no space(air?) nor sky beyond.
      What covered everything? Where? In whose protection?
      Was there water, deep and bottomless?
      There was neither death nor immortality then,
      There was no sign of night or day.
      That One breathed all by self without any outside support,
      Other than that there was nothing else beyond.

      There was darkness all wrapped around by darkness,
      and all was water then.
      The life force which was covered with void arose through
      the power of heat(Tapas).

      Then arose desire (Love?) which was the primal seed of mind,
      Seers searching for knowledge in their heart
      found existence in non-existence.

      A ray of light energy cut across the dark and gloomy abyss.
      Was it beneath? Was it above? who can answer this?
      There were bearers of seed and mighty forces,
      Pushed from below and forward move above.

      Who really knows? Who can confidently declare it?
      From which was it born? Who gave raise to this creation?
      Even the Gods came subsequent to creation,
      Then who can reveal from whence it arose?
      That out of which creation arose,
      whether it formed by itself or it did not,
      He who oversees it from the highest heaven,
      only he knows or maybe He does not.

      December 17, 2012 at 1:38 pm |
    • SImran

      The Hindu religion is the only one of the world's great faiths dedicated to the idea that the Cosmos itself undergoes an immense, indeed an infinite, number of deaths and rebirths. It is the only religion in which time scales correspond to those of modern scientific cosmology. Its cycles run from our ordinary day and night to a day and night of Brahma, 8.64 billion years long, longer than the age of the Earth or the Sun and about half the time since the Big Bang.

      This idea of a periodically expanding and contracting universe, which involves a scale of time and space of vast proportions, has arisen not only in modern cosmology, but also in ancient Indian mythology. Experiencing the universe as an organic and rhythmically moving cosmos, the Hindus were able to develop evolutionary cosmologies which come very close to our modern scientific models.

      British geneticist and evolutionary biologist, J B S Haldane, observed that the Dashavataras (ten principal avatars of Lord Vishnu) are a true sequential depiction of the great unfolding of evolution.[32] These avatars of Vishnu show an uncanny similarity to the biological theory of evolution of life on earth.

      December 17, 2012 at 1:45 pm |
    • SImran

      @ Bwain
      If you are thinking I state so much about Vedas that I must be a Hindu – nope, I am not.

      December 17, 2012 at 1:51 pm |
    • SImran

      @Truth,
      Thanks, I had a badly needed good laugh!

      December 17, 2012 at 1:53 pm |
    • bwain

      "The Truth"

      That is awesome that you are so self reliant you do not need help. I envy you.

      Some people are not so lucky.

      A diabetic needs insulin.

      An alcoholic needs AA.

      A pedophile needs counseling. Possibly a bullet in the head.

      A heroine junky needs recovery.

      I need help in this life. I have a disease that is destroying my body. I need medicine.

      And God is my crutch. I just don't have a physical disease, I have a spiritual one. God is healing me.

      God's people are those that are hurting. The poor, the forgotten, the incarcerated, the disabled. He is with us.

      I would try to help someone less fortunate than me, instead of mocking them. Maybe then you can start to see how our mind is so different from God's.

      December 17, 2012 at 2:46 pm |
    • Unkown

      "Some people complain because God put thorns on roses, while others praise Him for putting roses among thorns."

      December 17, 2012 at 2:57 pm |
    • Ken

      Hey, bwain, how come your god needs people to kneel down and worship him? Sounds like quite the needy, arrogant psycho basket case, not to mention murderous and human rights abusing, especially given some of the other sh!t that the bible says he's pulled.

      December 17, 2012 at 3:06 pm |
    • myweightinwords

      @bwain,

      t is true. We are saved by God, not by what we do. Our works don't save us. Our goods deed and good intentions do not save us. Only the work that Jesus did can save us.

      I once believed as you do. It led me to some very dark places.

      Our sins seperate us from God. Even the motives behind our good works are sinful. We are truly a hopeless creature. But with Jesus that changes. He died for us, so that we may live. He takes our punishment. He was innocent.

      This belief is so very sad to me now. Perhaps you view good works through the lens that people only do good to get some reward. That is a very Christian lens. I find that those who are not of the Christian mind set do good deeds not in search of some reward, but because it is the right thing to do. I have no need to "earn" any rewards or try to get into heaven. My Gods do not demand perfection, only honesty, honor and personal responsibility.

      Just like Adam sinned and caused all humanity to suffer, Jesus lived a perfect life and offers humanity salvation.

      Substitutionary atonement is a vile idea. There is nothing I could do in this temporal life that could render me unworthy of my Gods. There is nothing I could do in this existence that would make me worthy of eternal torment.

      And any "sin" I commit is mine to atone for. Not in some imagined afterlife, but here and now, in this one.

      December 17, 2012 at 3:15 pm |
    • Bwain

      Ken,

      I'm not sure where you came up with that, but he does not need me to kneel down and worship him.

      I need to kneel down and worship Him. For me. I'm not trying to meet his needs, it is the opposite.

      Pride and arrogance get in the way of understanding God. We have to humble ourselves. Getting on our knees is a form of surrender. It is like I say "I am going to stop fighting."

      December 17, 2012 at 3:16 pm |
    • Bwain

      myweightinwords
      Jesus has set me free. He lead me out of some very dark places. May your Gods bless you and give you everything you deserve.

      December 17, 2012 at 3:23 pm |
    • UncleBenny

      Bwain: "And in the creation story, Eve was tricked by the devil."

      No, she wasn't. She was tempted by a serpent (Hebrew: נחש, nahash). There is absolutely no indication that this is the devil, that is a Christian tradition of reading the devil back into the Genesis story, with no Biblical foundation.

      December 17, 2012 at 3:44 pm |
    • UncleBenny

      Unkown [sic]: "Some people complain because God put thorns on roses, while others praise Him for putting roses among thorns."

      And some people simply enjoy the rose, avoid the thorns, and don't attribute it to the work of an unseen supernatural being.

      December 17, 2012 at 3:46 pm |
    • Tony

      Bwain, what color of glasses is your god wearing today?

      December 18, 2012 at 12:59 pm |
  20. ?????????????

    Use g_od as a defense for a crime committed see what happens !

    December 17, 2012 at 7:58 am |
    • Matt

      Christians have been doing that for centuries.

      December 17, 2012 at 8:54 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Saint Augustine helped rationalize countless atrocities with his doctine of "Cognite intrare".

      December 17, 2012 at 9:49 am |
    • Lisa

      As people love to say "Through God all things are possible", even atrocities.

      December 17, 2012 at 10:17 am |
    • religion; a way to control the weak minded

      Oh you mean like the pedo-priests?

      December 17, 2012 at 11:24 am |
    • lol??

      So you don't like the kweers worming their way into a church, either?

      December 17, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.