My Take: Six things I don't want to hear after the Sandy Hook massacre
Ex-Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee appeared to blame the Newtown massacre at least partly on the secularization of schools.
December 18th, 2012
12:58 PM ET

My Take: Six things I don't want to hear after the Sandy Hook massacre

Editor's note: Stephen Prothero, a Boston University religion scholar and author of "The American Bible: How Our Words Unite, Divide, and Define a Nation," is a regular CNN Belief Blog contributor.

By Stephen Prothero, Special to CNN

(CNN) - There are a lot of things I am sick of hearing after massacres such as the one at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. Here are six of them:

1. “It was God’s will.”

There may or may not be a God, but if there is, I sure hope he (or she or it) does not go around raising up killers, plying them with semiautomatic weapons, goading them to target practice, encouraging them to plot mass killings and cheering them on as they shoot multiple bullets into screaming 6- and 7-year-old children. Much better to say there is no God or, as Abraham Lincoln did, “The Almighty has his own purposes,” than to flatter ourselves with knowing what those purposes are.

2. “Jesus called the children home.”

I don’t want to hear that Jesus needed 20 more kids in heaven on Friday - that Madeleine Hsu (age 6) or Daniel Barden (age 7) were slain because Jesus couldn't wait to see them join his heavenly choir. Even the most fervent Christians I know want to live out their lives on Earth before going “home” to “glory.” The Hebrew Bible patriarchs rightly wanted long lives. Moses lived to be 120. Abraham was 175 when he died. Madeleine and Daniel deserved more than 6 or 7 years.

3. “After death, there is the resurrection.”

In the Jewish tradition, it is offensive to bring up the afterlife while in the presence of death. Death is tragic, and deaths such as these are unspeakably so. So now is the time for grief, not for pat answers to piercing questions. “There is a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance,” says the biblical book of Ecclesiastes, and now is not a time for laughing or dancing or talk of children raised from the dead.

4. “This was God’s judgment.”

After every hurricane or earthquake, someone steps up to a mic to say that “this was God’s judgment” on New Orleans for being too gay or the United States for being too secular. I’m not sure what judgment of God would provoke the killing of 27 innocent women and children, but I certainly don’t want to entertain any theorizing on the question right now. Let’s leave God’s judgment out of this one, OK? Especially if we want to continue to believe God's judgments are "true and righteous altogether" (Psalms 19:9).

5. “This happened because America is too secular.”

Unlike those of us who are shaking their heads trying to figure out what transpired in Newtown, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, an evangelical icon, apparently has it all figured out. We don’t need fewer guns in the hands of killers, he said Friday on Fox News, we need more God in our public schools.

“Should we be so surprised that schools have become such a place of carnage? Because we’ve made it a place where we don’t want to talk about eternity, life, what responsibility means, accountability,” Huckabee said in an astonishing flight of theological and sociological fancy.

Just keep plying people like the killer with Glocks and Sig Sauers. As long as we force Jewish and Buddhist Americans to say Christian prayers, then the violence will magically go away. The logic here is convoluted to the point of absent, leaving me wondering whether what passes for "leadership" in America can sink any lower.

6. “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.”

If ever there has been a more idiotic political slogan, I have yet to hear it. The logical fallacy here is imagining that people are killed either by people or by guns. Come again? Obviously, guns do not kill people on their own. But people do not shoot bullets into people without guns. At Sandy Hook and Aurora and Columbine, people with guns killed people. This is a fact. To pretend it away with slogans is illogical and revolting.

The question now is: Are those of us who have not yet been killed by guns going to allow these massacres to continue unimpeded? Are Americans that callous? Is life here so cheap? I have read the Second Amendment, and I find no mention there of any right to possess any gun more advanced than an 18th-century musket? Do I really have the right to bear a nuclear weapon? Or a rocket-propelled grenade? Then why in God’s name would any U.S. civilian have the right (or the need) to bear a .223-caliber assault rifle made by Bushmaster?

If you believe in a God who is all powerful and all good, then covering up for the Almighty at a time like this is in my view deeply unfaithful. Today is a day to shake your fist at heaven and demand answers, and then to shake it harder when no answers are forthcoming. To do anything else is in my view to diminish the idea of God, and to cheapen faith in the process.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Stephen Prothero.

- CNN Belief Blog contributor

Filed under: Belief • Christianity • Crime • God • Mike Huckabee • United States • Violence

soundoff (5,447 Responses)
  1. RR

    Mr. Prothero, if you're not sure if there is a God or not, why are you wasting your life as a so called "expert" in religion? I'm sure many of the families of this tragedy know Jesus Christ in a way that you obviously do not. Their treasure is in heaven, and that is our only comfort in this sin infested world. Stop telling people how they should interpret what God has to say to us when you don't really believe it yourself. Note to CNN: If you're going to call something a "belief blog", maybe your primary contributor should have some belief himself.

    December 19, 2012 at 8:00 am |
    • Really??

      His beliefs are just as valid as yours. You think belief must mean religion and faith. Many of us BELIEVE there are no gods. You want to preach to the choir, go to church.

      December 19, 2012 at 8:03 am |
    • lol??

      Well REally!@#, prove yer faith.

      December 19, 2012 at 8:07 am |
    • sam stone

      "sin infested world"? according to what, a translated, edited iron age comic book?

      December 19, 2012 at 8:28 am |
    • sam stone

      lol??...you inbred git, it's not up to anyone to "prove" their faith.

      December 19, 2012 at 8:30 am |
    • lol??

      stone, sam, I get told to do that all the time. Are you new here?

      December 19, 2012 at 9:06 am |
    • Michael

      @lol?? - You mistakenly use the Null Hypothesis which I find terribly ironic since you (apparently) abhore the Scientific Method. So I will turn the coin: without using the terms "Bible" and "Faith" prove to me, unequivocally, the existence of your God. You can't. By definition, your deity is "supernatural" ... above Nature ... and, therefore, cannot be seen, heard, touched ... anything. Convenient, that. Go ahead, I'll wait ...

      December 19, 2012 at 9:59 am |
  2. Garry Raines

    Of all things unknown, know this, you, nor the government will get my gun.

    December 19, 2012 at 7:59 am |
    • S Kopfter

      That piece of soggy cat crap? Dude, nobody wants it anyway. Go play with yourself.

      December 19, 2012 at 8:47 am |
    • andy

      What a sad waste of space you are. Look, Garry, just because your sister denied you again last night doesn't mean you should take it out on the rest of the world. Get a grip, man.

      December 19, 2012 at 9:07 am |
  3. Lisa

    What if love and kindness were a top priority and an issue of focus among all people?

    December 19, 2012 at 7:59 am |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      Wouldn't that be nice?

      December 19, 2012 at 8:28 am |
    • S Kopfter

      Then you and me could get together, babe. Wouldn't that be great? We've been apart for sooo long. Eternity, in fact. I miss you.

      December 19, 2012 at 8:32 am |
  4. middleway8

    I beg to differ seriously with this author.

    1. If he read his Bible at all, he would realize that although this may not be "God's Will," God did allow this to happen for His Glory.

    2. If he at all even looked at the writings of the prophets in the Old Testament, he could clearly see that God is judging this sinful, evil society, the most violent society on the face of the earth today. These are things that will transpire in the last days when the Holy Ghost, even now, is removing His Hand of protection. Things will get a lot worse before the end.

    3. The Book of Revelation further spells out in stark detail what will happen in the end times and this incident will be just one of many. There is a bigger battle being played out in the heavens and merely reflected on earth. We are not meant to nor will we ever understand it while on this earth, but someday everything will make perfect sense. we are just required to believe and be faithful.

    4. I have lost all the members of my family to sickness and eventual death and have been greatly comforted by the Resurrection the author speaks so disdainfully of. Having that realization helps to see the bigger picture and that everything is not merely only about us.

    The moral decay of American society is everywhere and our present-day secular schools is where it begins. When youngsters are not exposed to morality and Christian values in a Christian nation, society as is are the results. Why does this surprise anyone?

    December 19, 2012 at 7:58 am |
    • rasko41

      If God permitted this to his Glory, then God can kiss My ass.

      December 19, 2012 at 8:05 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      1) This tragedy was the result of the actions of one man. The "will" or "glory" of supernatural agents do not enter into it.

      2) The Old Testament is an apocryphal history of the Jewish people, pertinent to the time in which it was written.
      The vengeful, smitey God of the Jews bears little relation to sweet Jesus, meek and mild and His proscriptions and punishments no longer haunt the daily lives of believers.

      3) The book of Revelation is the fevered dream of a madman. There will be no 7 headed dragons spewing torrents of water and eating pregnant ladies. Swarm of armour clad locusts with the face of a man, the hair of a woman, the mouth of a lion and the tails of a scorpion will not besiege the world, inflicting slow painful death with their venomous stings. The Four Horsemen will not escape their magic seals. The 7 Bowls of Judgement will remain mythological metaphors.

      4) We have all sufferred the loss of loved ones. No human is immune to the va/garies of death and we all seek solace where we may. Many find comfort in the idea of an afterlife, but bear in mind that ideas of what that is vary wildly, depending on culture. Hindu people find peace in believing that the dead are reincarnated, for example. Since there is no evidence for any kind of afterlife, all the ideas about it are equally valid (or invalid). I would not deprive anyone of the peace of mind such faith can bring, but to assert any one particular faith as "The Truth" is unmitigated arrogance.

      All throughout history, societies have bemoaned their "moral decay". Morality and ethics do not come exclusively from Divine Mandates. We are selfish creatures by nature, yet our survival depends on cooperation. In order to balance these two conflicting instincts, mankind has had to develop rules that allow room for both.
      These rules are not the same for all communities – hence we've had so many different types of religion and government throughout history.
      Religion binds communities by giving a common frame of reference. Shared fears (like divine retribution), hopes (like going to heaven) and rituals allow the instinct for self preservation to extend beyond one's self and immediate family.
      Take a look at Ja.pan for an example of a successful, ethical, secular society. Their people rate themselves happier than most others in the world, their educational system is exemplary, their rate of violent crime a fraction of the Western World's – all without God.

      "A religion is a source of happiness and I would not deprive anyone of happiness. But it is a comfort appropriate for the weak, not for the strong–and you are strong. The great trouble with religion–any religion–is that the religionist, having accepted certain propositions by faith, cannot thereafter judge these propositions by evidence. One may bask at the warm fire of faith or choose to live in the bleak uncertainty of reason–but one cannot have both."

      – Robert Heinlein

      December 19, 2012 at 8:27 am |
  5. Dan

    It's not god's will because there isn't one. It's sad when someone spends their life studying a fairy tale. Grow up.

    December 19, 2012 at 7:52 am |
    • lol??

      holywud has you in their sights.

      December 19, 2012 at 7:57 am |
    • S Kopfter

      "To and fro went the scholars, scolding and teaching over all the Land. Through many and diverse ways did they attempt to teach the people what was real.
      "Oft evil will shall evil mar," said one of the Dannites. And he was stoned.
      "Thine beliefs are all riddled with buckshot and get thee to a bakery, " said another. And he was stoned.
      "O My People, let not the spreaders of falsehoods enslave you so easily into madness, for there is another way." said another. And he was also stoned.
      Then did the deluded people cry out as feces were flung at them by the Fecal Thrower's Guild. And it was good."
      – Vespa 23, Book of Fikal (abridged edition)

      December 19, 2012 at 8:15 am |
  6. veep

    Mike Huckabee is a huckster.

    December 19, 2012 at 7:46 am |
  7. Jon

    It appears the Second Amendment is there to protect people from government. Therefore, it gives people the right to own modern weapons. We should be figuring out why people want to kill people (with whatever weapon they choose).

    December 19, 2012 at 7:46 am |
    • Lisa

      All people should view the protection of human life as their first priority.

      December 19, 2012 at 7:56 am |
    • Publius

      The 2nd Amendment was intended to allow for militias, in lieu of a standing army...not for modern citizens to carry, concealed or otherwise, arms. It's time for the Supreme Court to show the true meaning from the Founders. The gun lobby has distorted it to the point that modern Americans can't interpret the meaning anymore. I see only one use for weapons in a modern, civilized society...that is to hunt and control the population of game. Period.

      December 19, 2012 at 8:02 am |
    • Whit

      Wrong! Wrong! Wrong! That being said, you speak as if the founding father knew about assault weapons, I don’t think so. The first ten amendments, commonly known as a group as the Bill of Rights, were all ratified at once. The amendments were proposed on September 25, 1789.
      # State Date *
      1 New Jersey Nov 20, 1789
      2 Maryland Dec 19, 1789
      3 North Carolina Dec 22, 1789
      4 South Carolina Jan 19, 1790
      5 New Hampshire Jan 25, 1790
      6 Delaware Jan 28, 1790
      7 New York Feb 24, 1790
      8 Pennsylvania Mar 10, 1790
      9 Rhode Island Jun 7, 1790
      10 Vermont Nov 3, 1791
      11 Virginia Dec 15, 1791 *
      12 Massachusetts Mar 2, 1939
      13 Georgia Mar 18, 1939
      14 Connecticut Apr 19, 1939
      Ratified in 811 days

      The courts have ruled that the 2nd Amendment extends to individuals. Perhaps with these assault weapons that is not the case.

      December 19, 2012 at 8:09 am |
    • Robert

      The lives of children are far more precious than your fanciful "right" to collect machine guns. Americans are finally starting to figure this out.

      December 19, 2012 at 8:15 am |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      We have gun control in Canada and it works mostly. People are not carrying concealed weapons or getting their hands on AR15's or glock's or whatever (at least not legally). We are not seeing on average 32 people dead per day at the hands of someone who happened to be in possession of a gun.
      We are a much more secular country and as pathetic as our government can be, they are at least not blinded to 100 year old rules.
      I understand fully that not everyone who owns a gun is going to use it to kill another human but one death as the result of someone who should not have a weapon, is one death too many.
      In the grand scheme of it, it comes down to what needs to change in order to lessen these types of tragedies?

      Look back over the year: Trayvon Martin, a 17 year old unarmed teen was shot in cold blood. Zimmerman had a weapon within his reach.
      The Arizona, Colorado theatre shooting. Another case where there was potential mental illness and yet the perp was able to obtain weapons that there simply is no need for owning in every day life.
      And now, 20 innocent beautiful children and 7 adults dead at the hands of someone who should never have had access to weapons.
      When do you finally stop and see that changes need to be made?

      December 19, 2012 at 8:46 am |
  8. James Jonathan

    "Guns don't kill people, people kill people." If ever there has been a more idiotic political slogan, I have yet to hear it. Well sir, if ever there has been a more idiotic opinion piece, I have yet to read it. The meaning of the phrase is not one to be taken in literal sense. It tries to focus on the real issue. It is the people behind the act that we need to focus. News flash, people have been killing each other before gun powder was discovered. That same Friday, a man in China went to school and starting attacking people with a knife. Also, how many guns were used on 9/11? None. We need to focus on the humans behind the act. We need to revamp the mental health care that is accessible. We need to pay attention and not bully those with mental problems. Do you realize how easy it is to hurt someone with household items or even a pencil. What do you want to do? Ban everything?

    December 19, 2012 at 7:45 am |
    • Informed Voter

      There have been SIXTEEN mass murders–with assault weapons–so far in the US this year alone.

      How many planes have EVER flown into buildings deliberately? Your comments don't even make sense.

      December 19, 2012 at 7:53 am |
    • Rational Human Being

      Mental health issues need to start being treated the same way cancer is; like a disease that requires medication to correct.

      December 19, 2012 at 7:53 am |
    • Peter

      I'd rather face a madman with a knife than a madman with a gun. Not rocket science.

      December 19, 2012 at 7:56 am |
    • ChairmanMetal

      Well, if we are to be armed so as to protect ourselves from our own government, then it must be nukes that we need. Heaven help us all, with your kind of logic ruling the day. Those from whom I most feel a need for protection are the likes of you. I fear I will end up in the cross-fire while you are defending yourself from someone else just like you.

      December 19, 2012 at 7:58 am |
    • geotigg

      @James Jonathan ... I don't know if you heard about the 23 children in China who were STABBED on the very same day that 20 children in Newtown were shot. But if you haven't you MIGHT be interested to know that NONE of the Chinese children died.

      You are correct in stating that we need to focus on helping those with mental health issues and, assuming we allow ObamaCare to stand, we will. What you cannot DENY, however, is that these two tragic attacks demonstrate that a crazy man with a knife isn't nearly as dangerous as a crazy man with an assault rifle.

      December 19, 2012 at 8:01 am |
    • Robert

      The children in China were scarred physically and emotionally. They needed surgery. But they are alive. That is the difference. You cannot stand in a doorway and kill twenty people with a knife in half a minute.

      December 19, 2012 at 8:17 am |
    • Foster

      James let's use a similar slogan "nukes don't nuke people" people nuke people .

      December 19, 2012 at 8:20 am |
  9. Dean Edward

    CNN has an article writer that, indeed, does reflect the anti-religious point of view that CNN tends to uphold on a consistant basis. Stephen is a student of religion in much the same way a someone studies a topic in a sterile clinical setting. He comes to the table with a secular and anti-religious bias and dissects religion in a very one dimensional manner. Unfortunately for him, and his readers, spirituality is a multidimensional topic that cannot be properly dealt with in his mindset. Understanding the ways of The Eternal One is not a matter of clinical analysis, therefore Stephen will always fall short of a proper understanding of things spiritual. In truth, all that transpires in this earthly dimension of reality is governed over by The Divine Unity. Any dissonance experienced is due to the fact that many are approaching spirituality from an improper perspective. Everything is from God, and there is nothing in existance that is without God. He creates good and evil, and give us the free will to choose one or the other.

    December 19, 2012 at 7:44 am |
    • JWT

      "and there is nothing in existance that is without God"

      Yet I have no god.

      December 19, 2012 at 7:48 am |
    • myron

      Lol in other words the columnist is a rational thinker. Thank you for crystallizing the difference between religious belief and rational thought.

      December 19, 2012 at 7:48 am |
    • ROO

      Anti-religious point of view? So which view should we accept? Just one? Yet if it isn't your preferred religious view, suddenly there's a problem. Isn't it how all religions view each other? Even Christianity war against itself, splitting into many denominations unable to agree on their own doctrines. Please. Don't add more confusion to this issue my interjecting religion into it.

      December 19, 2012 at 7:59 am |
    • Dean Edward

      Rantionality devoid of spiritualty is not reality.

      December 19, 2012 at 8:04 am |
    • ROO

      Dean, reality does not depend on spirituality to continue. Spirituality is a concept of the human mind. Not outside it.

      December 19, 2012 at 8:09 am |
  10. Jason

    Why did god cross the road? because he doesn't exist.

    December 19, 2012 at 7:42 am |
    • Dean Edward

      I am sorry to inform you, Jason, that aside from attaching yourself to your Creator...it is only you that will cease to exist in a very short time.

      December 19, 2012 at 8:02 am |
    • S Kopfter

      Once upon a time, a very long time ago and very far away, lived a little boy named Dean Edward who lived in a tiny little box in his tiny little mind with a tiny little hole in it through which he could look outside his tiny little box and say tiny little things to people walking by outside in the clean, fresh air.
      "Those people are swinging their arms too freely," thought Dean Edward to himself, and he hatched a tiny little plan to act like a tiny little prick to all the free and happy people walking outside in the clean, fresh air.
      Then he huffed.
      And he puffed.
      And died from a tiny little bit of asphyxiation in his tiny little brain.

      The End.

      December 19, 2012 at 8:39 am |
  11. lol??

    GE is one of the nicest people you'll ever meet.

    December 19, 2012 at 7:38 am |
  12. Gary Fennimore

    The LORD did ALLOW this horrific tragedy to take place. Take for example the blameless man JOB, he tragically lost all of his 10 children and his possessions in literally one day and yet the LORD allowed it. Why? Every human on this planet is responsible for each act of violence and carnage because collectively we defied our CREATOR from the beginning (sin). The LORD is still in control of everything, including consequences. However, the LORD will not diminish the horrific results of our collective defiance. The question should be phrased "Why did each of us, in sin, defy our LORD who from the beginning only created perfection? Why did we allow this tragedy to even have taken place in GOD's once perfect creation that each of us has corrupted?

    December 19, 2012 at 7:37 am |
    • Rational Human Being

      Yeah, this kind of proves the point we are all trying to make. The faithful just don't get it.

      December 19, 2012 at 7:38 am |
    • Rational Human Being

      It also upsets me to an enormous degree that this is somehow excusable. It isn't.

      December 19, 2012 at 7:40 am |
    • Use your head

      "The most preposterous notion that H. sapiens has ever dreamed up is that the Lord God of Creation, Shaper and Ruler of all the Universes, wants the saccharine adoration of His creatures, can be swayed by their prayers, and becomes petulant if He does not receive this flattery. Yet this absurd fantasy, without a shred of evidence to bolster it, pays all the expenses of the oldest, largest, and least productive industry in all history". –Robert A. Heinlein

      December 19, 2012 at 7:42 am |

      The bible says "God is love". If that is true then there can be no eternal damnation, and the rest of your arguments are just the blatherings of delusion.

      December 19, 2012 at 7:56 am |
    • Jude

      God is love but if you reject love then the void is filled with the opposite of love...evil.

      December 19, 2012 at 8:03 am |
    • Really??

      God is love? Isn't he all things? So he is just as much hate as he is love, as much evil as he is good. Don't blame me....your god was created that way.

      December 19, 2012 at 8:06 am |
    • Rational Human Being

      @ Jude
      Yes because the only thing that can fill your heart without god is evil. Wow.

      December 19, 2012 at 8:07 am |
    • ROO

      He doesn't "allow". According to your bible god creates evil, so nothing happens outside god's will. If evil exists, it's because it was his will.

      I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things. (Isaiah 45:7)

      There can't be free will if god is in control of everything:

      The LORD Almighty has sworn, "Surely, as I have planned, so it will be, and as I have purposed, so it will stand. (Isaiah 14:24)

      "No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him..." (John 6:44)

      All the peoples of the earth are regarded as nothing. He does as he pleases with the powers of heaven and the peoples of the earth. No one can hold back his hand or say to him: "What have you done?" (Daniel 4:35)

      "For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it" (Romans 8:20)

      "In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps." (Proverbs 16:9)

      So according to the bible, god determined the steps of the shooter. There can't be free will according to your bible. You either have to accept god decided all these events to happen demolishing free will, or there is no god yet free will.

      December 19, 2012 at 8:41 am |
    • Robert Brown

      “I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.” (Isaiah 45:7)
      People in that day worshiped the sun, moon, stars, etc. This is Gods response, they are not Gods I created the light. “creat evil” He created beings capable of evil. Also, the wages of sin is death, which sounds pretty evil to me, but it is also justice in its truest form.

      December 19, 2012 at 8:49 am |
    • sam stone

      Gary: Your god is a vindictive little pr1ck

      December 19, 2012 at 8:50 am |
    • sam stone

      "the wages of sin is death", but after taxes are taken out, you're just left with a sort of tired feeling

      December 19, 2012 at 8:54 am |
    • ROO


      No part of that text says he creates "beings capable of evil". That's something you added. It simply says evil.
      Which still doesn't diminish any other parts of the biblical texts displaying deterministic actions of god that diminishes
      free will. Creating beings capable of evil still doesn't dismiss the fact that the texts show god determining what that person would do, regardless of what they plan. That's not free will. Which means he controls evil as well.

      December 19, 2012 at 9:01 am |
    • Robert Brown

      I hope you have some idea of the word context. Assuming you do, your quotes from Isaiah and Daniel, do not support your idea. Gods ultimate plans are determined and nothing will stop them. He uses humans to accomplish his ultimate plans. But to say that God is responsible for the acts of every human is ridiculous.
      For God so loved the world, not just me or you, but the whole world. Here is where free will comes in, Matthew 11:28, Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
      I agree with your quote from John, God has to draw you, in Isaiah 55 he puts it like this, If you are thirsty come and drink. God gives you the desire, he draws you, if you want him you can come to him. If you aren’t thirsty you can’t come drink. If he hasn’t already he will give you the thirst, the question is will you drink of the waters of life, that is freewill. You can reject him, but you will be given the opportunity to choose.

      December 19, 2012 at 9:36 am |
    • ROO


      Determinism demolishes free will. I don't say a god is responsible for the acts of anyone, because there is no evidence to support the claim that one exists. That would explain free will. I simply quote what your scriptures say about its concept of a god. If god determines the outcome, then he determines what people will do. Jesus words made it very clear no one can choose on their own to come to him unless god makes the decision to draw them. They aren't using free will to make that decision themselves. This is because the texts show "saved" people as chosen before creation, before existence. If they were not picked, they aren't drawn by god. If someone rejects him, then it is because they weren't chosen by him. If they are chosen, then they will believe. God decides the "thirst" & desire.The bible even show believers good works are chosen by god in advance. Believers don't willfully decided that either. Romans show some people are created for one purpose (like immortality), some for another (damnation) just because god wants to, not because its fair. Paul even asks the question who then can go against what god wills and the only explanation given is that god is the potter who does whatever he wants to his pottery and no one can question it. Which doesn't give justification for the reason why some are random chosen while others aren't. If he planned & decided this from the beginning before anything exited, then that is deterministic. Which is why your "idea" falls apart. Free will without a god explains why such events occur. A god who controls decides all future events before they happen determines the outcome. Not free will.

      December 19, 2012 at 10:18 am |
  13. myron

    Hey deanmackinnon ... I guess you just plainly missed the whole point of the article. However not surprising, blind faith types like you are exactly that ...blind .... and totally unwilling to even consider what reality might be beyond the stories that were drilled into your head since birth. You might just be missing the entire point of life. Also the twisted view you have of your fellow humans maybe gives a glimpse of what you actually feel on the inside hmmmmm? Without your god holding your leash with punishment of hellfire for your stunted and immature soul, I guess you would be out committing atrocious acts ... beacause hey why not, right? I do not believe in your, or anyone's, god but yet I have tried to act for the most part to be considerate of my fellow humans with whom I share this fleeting life. Also contrary to your self loathing view the grand majority of the people I have known in my life (and I have met many, probably much more than you) are the same more or less.

    December 19, 2012 at 7:36 am |
  14. Jon

    The god of Abraham is not all powerful. It cannot impart wisdom unto us. We have to gain that ourselves.

    December 19, 2012 at 7:36 am |
  15. Katie Haire

    Excellent article. I completely agree with you, and hope that you continue to do this type of writing. Religion has been used to help people cope, which is fine, but shouldn't be used as an EXCUSE for what has happened. There is no excuse, and somethings will need to change.

    December 19, 2012 at 7:34 am |
    • lol??

      Yup, cutsie katie, network with your Hindu pals and da prez with his hopey & changey. Hinduism is all about changey. Enjoy the caste system. England does.

      December 19, 2012 at 7:53 am |
    • Michael

      @lol?? – What are you smoking? At no point did Kate issue anything even related to Hindu and yet you went off like a nickel bottle rocket. It has become intuitively obvious, even to the most casual observer, that you eschew rational thought and intelligent discourse, preferring instead to utter rhetorical obfuscations.

      jlHtaHbogh naDev vlSovbe', P'taK !!

      December 19, 2012 at 10:34 am |
  16. D

    Maybe YOU, Mr. Prothero, should simply keep your opinions to yourself. By expressing your views, you will also be offending some of the devastated parents whose only consolation are some of the very things you are telling them you don't want to hear. Guess what, nobody care what you don't want to hear.

    December 19, 2012 at 7:29 am |
    • S Kopfter

      And there did come out from underneath every rock a pestilent host of hypocrites to flail one another in the light of day."
      – Verse 89, Revelations 2

      December 19, 2012 at 7:35 am |
    • Whit

      I happen to care and there are many others who care. The Newtown organization United cares because they want to change the laws. The culture and climate we live in is called a society and in such a social order the member of the group make the rules that govern its existence. The drunken love affairs American have with assault weapons threaten our social order. WE AS RESPONSIBLE MEMBERS OF THIS GROUP MUST DISCUSS THE NATURE OF SANDY HOOK ELEMENTARY SCHOOL AND MAKE NECESSARY CHANGES.

      December 19, 2012 at 7:50 am |
    • sam stone

      His job is to express his opinion. Your hissy fit is duly noted

      December 19, 2012 at 8:55 am |
  17. Rational Human Being

    When I die, and I find out that I was incorrect (which is unlikely), then I will be very disappointed. Not only do I not believe in god, but if it were true I would be very disappointed. We need to figure out how to live more amenably with one another, without fantasies created by desert tribes getting in the way.

    December 19, 2012 at 7:28 am |
    • lol??

      Well dudette, according to the evolutionists you've had 400,000 years to get it right. What's yer stinkin' problem?

      December 19, 2012 at 7:48 am |
    • Rational Human Being

      Most of us have, unfortunately the small majority that haven't tend to have a large impact.

      December 19, 2012 at 7:51 am |
    • Jude

      you yourself are being disrespectful by calling ones faith a "fantasy" Why do you need to be so condescending? I personally feel your couldnt be more wrong. however I would rather pray that God softens your heart and opens your eyes to the truth before its too late for you. I guess in my fantasy I care deeply about others and in your reality you care mostly about being right.

      December 19, 2012 at 8:12 am |
    • Rational Human Being

      @ Jude
      Well you cannot deny that there is no evidence to support your position, so it is a fantasy. I don't wish to degrade the beliefs of those that would not try to influence policy or the way societal issues are solved. Religion is incredibly detrimental to progress, so i would see it stricken from the public sphere altogether.

      December 19, 2012 at 8:23 am |
    • Rational Human Being

      People also need to stop considering faith a positive trait. Suspension of rational thought should not be sold as a virtue.

      December 19, 2012 at 8:25 am |
    • JD

      @Rational Human Being
      How can you say there is no evidence of a god? How can you possibly look at this amazing sophisticated planet and the marvel imperfection of the human body or life in general and not see is had to be created? Its hard for you to imagine a god because you haven't see one, but its not hard for you to believe all of this just sprang up by accident from nothing... Yeah, I get your logic now...

      December 19, 2012 at 8:50 am |
    • sam stone

      JD: Logic may indicate a "creator".....faith is what turns it into a "god"

      December 19, 2012 at 8:59 am |
    • Rational Human Being

      @ Jude
      It hardly sprang up from nothing. It is the aggregation of elements dispersed by supernovas. It is a logical progression that once the planet formed and the conditions were correct, life was able to form. This is why it took so long to do. If you believe that the planet is only 10,000 years old, then you clearly don't see my point. Is it a coincidence that the percentage of elements that make up the universe are in the same proportion in the human body? Hydrogen, Helium (inert, so not entirely relevant in the human body sense, but worth noting), Oxygen, Nitrogen, Carbon. So no designer necessary.

      December 19, 2012 at 9:10 am |
    • ROO


      Nothing here show there had to be a creator. And in fact there is no creator showing itself for one, and no indication to think otherwise. Nearly 99% of all species has gone extinct. The earth itself can be volatile for survival. The universe is inefficient. The accelerated expansion of the universe will ensure the death of the universe, proving no real purpose for its existence in the first place. That also includes our galaxy which will collide head-on with Andromeda galaxy. What then was the purpose for the existence of our galaxy in the first place? If you think the universe was created, then it was created for no reason.

      December 19, 2012 at 9:14 am |
    • Rational Human Being

      Oops that was meant for JD

      December 19, 2012 at 9:22 am |
    • Michael

      @lol?? – You have no idea of what you're talking about. To wit: "according to the evolutionists you've had 400,000 years to get it right" ... You're off by almost an entire order of magnitude. Bear in mind that consideration of the supernatural requires language and concepts. I could flip the coin and state that you've had upwards of 3,500 years to get it right and yet there is more that question the validity of your religious dogma than ever, those driven by curiosity and the thirst for knowledge and evidence brought forth by scientific method, not blind faith to that which can never be proven.

      December 19, 2012 at 10:41 am |
  18. JD

    You lost me in the first sentence when you said "There may or may not be a God". You need to work on your religion. I will pray for you.

    December 19, 2012 at 7:28 am |
    • ROO

      You need to use rationality with yours. There is no evidence verifying the claims of existence for any deity. Its all based on assertion. That's nothing more than gullibility. Why would one accept a real santa claus based solely on stories? Same thing here. No need to accept claims of magical beings no one has ever observed. Otherwise, the leprechaun must be real too.

      December 19, 2012 at 8:06 am |
  19. me

    testing 1 2 3

    December 19, 2012 at 7:24 am |
  20. deanmackinnon

    You say in your article you do not believe we should be talking of Children rising from the dead... First, let me tell you why I hold to Jesus: There is no other hope. Who else offers us scandalous grace – in the light of the fact that we can never be good people – we are bent toward wrongdoing. When scores left Jesus, he asked his disciples, "are you going too?"...Peter says, "where else are we going to go..?" (loose paraphrase, look it up). That is exactly why I hold to Jesus...there is no other hope – ESPECIALLY beyond the grave. If it's one thing these families need, is hope. Resurrection is our hope. Without resurrection, those children are lost – those parents would live utterly hopeless...Regardless of how you phrase your intuitions, you cannot kill the hope of resurrection, nor can you stop it when it comes to fruition. Thank God for that!

    December 19, 2012 at 7:20 am |
    • Rational Human Being

      Who says the universe owes anyone hope? Maybe this life is completely pointless. i don't think it is, because I derive purpose from the advancement of science and pursuit of discovery. I derive purpose from the relationships I build and the lives that I have an impact on and am impacted by. Why must there be an afterlife and a celestial supervisor? I believe Christopher Hitchens said this (or something close to it): "I find a sunset moving and beautiful not simply because of the array of stunning visuals that it provides, but because I know it will end, and this makes it all the more magnificent." This is how I feel about life.

      December 19, 2012 at 7:33 am |
    • Rob

      I can't stand it when people need to quote a book to have an opinion.
      I think you should read the article again, then wait 10 minutes and come up with a thought that is yours.

      I feel sorry for you

      December 19, 2012 at 7:35 am |
    • Rational Human Being

      @ Rob
      Opinions require thought, thought is derived by thinking. Religious people have difficulty with that.

      December 19, 2012 at 7:41 am |
    • lol??

      I feel sorry for the people that read the owner's manual for their shiny new BMW. YUCK, YUCK, guffaw!

      December 19, 2012 at 7:44 am |
    • Chandima

      I am a Buddhist and according to my religion "all compounded or conditioned phenomena (all things and experiences) are inconstant, unsteady, and impermanent".

      December 19, 2012 at 7:51 am |
    • stewarttony

      "loose paraphrase, look it up". Yep, that pretty much sums up modern religion. It isn't the existence or otherwise of a God, but man's butchering of the concept for his own purposes that is the problem, and always has been.

      December 19, 2012 at 8:18 am |
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
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.