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Who hears #PrayersForOklahoma?
May 21st, 2013
04:45 PM ET

Who hears #PrayersForOklahoma?

By Daniel Burke, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor
[twitter-follow screen_name='BurkeCNN']

(CNN) - God may not notice the thousands of prayers tweeted for victims of Oklahoma’s devastating tornado - but Ricky Gervais sure has. And he is not pleased.

As of Tuesday afternoon, more than 75,000 people have used the hashtag #PrayForOklahoma, including pop starlets, pastors and politicians, according to Topsy.com, a trend-monitoring site.

For example, the White House tweeted,

But the hashtag and the sentiments it promotes prompted a fierce backlash on social media, led by Gervais, a British comedian, and other prominent nonbelievers.

And while one Oklahoma City pastor says he appreciates the Twitter prayers, some religious scholars say devout petitions require more than moving your hands across a keyboard.

"A prayer is supposed to have a consequence for you," said Elizabeth Drescher, a lecturer at Santa Clara University in California. "It's not an act of magic."

Gervais, an ardent foe of organized religion, was more caustic.

After MTV tweeted that pop stars Beyonce, Rihanna and Katy Perry are sending their prayers to Oklahoma, Gervais responded, “I feel like an idiot now … I only sent money.”

Gervais and other atheists also kick-started a counter-trend, using the hashtag #ActuallyDoSomethingForOklahoma.

“If all people are doing is praying, it is worthless,” Hemant Mehta, an Illinois math teacher who writes the blog “Friendly Atheist,” told CNN. “If they are praying and donating to the Red Cross, that’s more like it.”

Mehta is promoting a group called Foundation Beyond Belief that aims to provide a humanist response to crises like the Oklahoma tornado.

The prayer debate spilled into other social media sites as well, with commenters on CNN’s Facebook page sparring over God’s role in Monday’s destructive whirlwind.

According to Oklahoma officials, 24 people have died, many more are injured, and once-orderly streets look likes foretastes of the apocalypse.

In response to a woman who said she was praying for the victims, Facebook commenter Peter Tongue replied, “If prayer works, there wouldn’t be a disaster like this in the first place .... so please keep your religion to yourself.”

But believers had their say as well.

“God is still in control!” said Wilbur Dugger, a commenter on CNN’s Facebook page. “Everything (God) does is to get our attention. … My sympathy and prayers go out to those who get caught up in his demonstrations of (God) ruling the world.”

The social-media sparring over prayer and God’s will reflect a culture in which traditional notions of religion - and the places where people talk about faith - are changing faster than a Twitter feed, said Drescher, the Santa Clara lecturer.

“We’re watching people re-articulate what it means to be spiritual and religious,” she said.

Just a few years ago, for example, no one knew what a hashtag was. Now the “#PrayFor...” meme appears after almost every national and international tragedy.

But what exactly does it mean? Is the tweeting multitude really folding its hands in prayer, or is it a fleeting expression of existential angst? Or maybe just a trendy thing to say?

“It seems to express hope and anxiety, and maybe even helplessness,” Drescher said.

“At the same time, it evokes this strong response from people who see it as a cop-out, a way of claiming some kind of spiritual space that doesn’t actually have any meaning to the people who are posting the meme or the community they are addressing.”

Traditionally, prayer has required something of the pray-er: an orientation toward reverence, a readiness to act, Drescher continued. “You are meant to do something - and that something may not be an easy thing.”

Slapping a hashtag at the end of a tweet doesn’t meet that standard, the scholar said.

The Rev. David Johnson of St. Andrew’s United Methodist Church in Oklahoma City said the prayerful tweets mean something to him - even if he’s been too busy to read them.

Since Monday, St. Andrew’s has become a Red Cross command post and reunion site for families to find loved ones caught in the tornado’s path. The tragedy has also touched the congregation itself, with homes, and some lives, lost on Tuesday, Johnson said.

Told of the Twitter prayers, Johnson said, “that’s awesome.”

“People feel helpless - like God called them to do something but they don’t know what. That’s where prayer comes in.”

Johnson said his church appreciates the many material donations coming its way: the generator sent by a lady from Arkansas, the food and water sent from neighboring towns. But they also solicit, and are happy to receive, the many prayers recited - or tweeted - on their behalf, he said.

“We’ve seen quite a lot of trauma in the last day,” Johnson said. “Obviously, people are going to ask why God allows tornadoes to happen. That’s just part of this world. God doesn’t promise us that bad things won’t happen, he promises to help us get through it. That’s what prayer helps us do.”

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • United States

soundoff (3,515 Responses)
  1. sly

    "I feel like a fool now ... I only sent money". That's pretty funny – this guy seems like a good comedian.

    May 21, 2013 at 6:05 pm |
    • Trondidit

      yeah, he should go into the comedy business or be a comic or go into the entertainment industry...oh

      May 21, 2013 at 6:50 pm |
  2. Amer_Man

    And there's CNN again, leading the charge for the athiests. I'm sure that feels good.

    May 21, 2013 at 6:01 pm |
    • Skalamoosh

      Exactly. This "Belief" blog is actually 95% people who don't believe in anything but self.

      May 21, 2013 at 6:06 pm |
    • Science

      This too.............COMEDY GOLD ! #

      A Nobel Prize with help from sea slugs..................memory........chadie !

      By Edythe McNamee and Jacque Wilson, CNN

      updated 7:09 AM EDT, Tue May 14, 2013

      http://www.cnn.com/2013/05/14/health/lifeswork-eric-kandel-memory/index.html?iref=allsearch

      You are what chadie !

      May 21, 2013 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse |

      http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2013/05/19/proofs-of-heaven-popular-but-not-with-the-church/comment-page-49/?replytocom=2356182#respond

      May 21, 2013 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |

      From google...........search.

      When Christians become a 'hated minority'. – The Richard Dawkins ...

      http://www.facebook.com/RichardDawkinsFoundation/.../1015158353714515...‎

      Peace

      May 21, 2013 at 6:06 pm |
    • sam

      OUTRAGE!!!1!!

      May 21, 2013 at 6:09 pm |
  3. Jc

    I'm not a religious person, agnostic if you will, but I prayed for Oklahoma. I don't have any extra money to send, and I'm too far away to volunteer, but if I can let god know that I'm paying attention and feeling for those effected, I can't say that it hurts. I love Ricky Gervais, but if he doesn't like the tweets, then don't read them. Simple as that.

    May 21, 2013 at 5:58 pm |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      So you're an Agnostic Theist meaning you can't be 100% certain that a god exists but you believe in one. You don't have to donate but praying doesn't do a damn thing either. God would have to exist in order for prayers to work and given the utter lack of evidence it's safe to say your god is very very unlikely.

      May 21, 2013 at 6:10 pm |
    • Kafir

      Gotta soak up that christian love, eh derp?

      May 22, 2013 at 1:26 pm |
    • sam

      Jc the point Gervais is making is that praying does exactly zero to help, other than make you feel a little better about yourself. If you can't afford to give then so be it but don't pretend that a prayer is nothing more than an action to make you feel better.

      May 22, 2013 at 3:43 pm |
  4. Children die from adult's stupidity

    Why didn't these children have a storm shelter.
    Why didn't they get a warning of the storm
    Why didn't they build the school stronger
    Why do idiots always run this show

    May 21, 2013 at 5:53 pm |
    • m123

      This town was virtually wiped out 14 years ago, don't you think someone would have figured out something to protect its citizens?
      Govt is useless.

      May 21, 2013 at 5:56 pm |
    • derp

      "Why didn't they get a warning of the storm"

      They did.

      There was nowhere for them to go.

      There should be mandatory shelters in schools.

      May 21, 2013 at 6:02 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      stupidity, did you donate? Put your money where your mouth is.

      May 21, 2013 at 6:02 pm |
    • Chris

      Those red states love deregulation, that's why. They presumably have the freedom to put their tax savings to better use than tornado shelters and other wasteful requirements of a nanny state. Like in Waco, Texas where they built two schools and a playground on the perimeter of a fertilizer plant.

      May 22, 2013 at 12:52 pm |
    • bczu

      I guess they didnt pray hard enough for one?

      May 22, 2013 at 1:57 pm |
  5. Bob

    Prayer is a selfish and worthless activity. These people need money.

    May 21, 2013 at 5:53 pm |
    • m123

      You are an idiot

      May 21, 2013 at 5:54 pm |
    • Bob

      @m123, you are a dimwit. Unless you think you have magic powers and you can change the world with your thoughts. Then you are a loon.

      May 21, 2013 at 5:58 pm |
    • OMG

      Bob's going to fix the world with his money.

      May 21, 2013 at 6:26 pm |
    • Tully

      Obama is on his way out, along with all Dems, and with them, the atheists. Like a breath of fresh air, a new broom sweeps clean. God Bless The USA !

      May 21, 2013 at 7:09 pm |
    • ..and for the good news;there is no Satan either !

      Hey Tully.Sorry to break it to you but..Atheism is growing day by day,thanks to the internet and it's exposure of religious hypocrisy and dangerous stupidity.Information is the enemy of religion,not the big bad atheists.Oh yeah,and enjoy eight years of Hillary.Don't forget to donate some money and-Have a nice day!

      May 21, 2013 at 7:32 pm |
    • Joe Wepley

      How much exactly does it cost to replace a child who has died in a tornado? Who helps these people spiritually? When they have to get up tomorrow morning and dig out of all that devastation, do you think they will call up the red cross to see how much money was donated yesterday? Or maybe, if hundreds of thousands of people said something to the effect of "we're thinking of you in your time of crisis, and we're pulling for you," don't you think it might make the situation a little better than if people just ignored it?

      May 21, 2013 at 8:23 pm |
    • bczu

      Tully, on his way out? He just got in! And Elizabeth Warren will be the next President! Republicans, "hey we are the Christian choice, just disregard us cheating on our wives, getting back alley abortions for our mistresses, and telling the poor to go shove it" Its what jesus would do....he hated the poor. Wait...

      May 22, 2013 at 2:00 pm |
    • yoyo

      Tully you just gave me some hope today.

      May 22, 2013 at 2:29 pm |
    • jason

      "and for the good news;there is no Satan either !"
      Who needs satan when you have dick Cheney. So don't be astonished when a republican christian tells you that it has a living gis

      May 22, 2013 at 3:46 pm |
  6. Colin

    Bereaved Parent: God, you killed my little girl. The tornado ripped her out of my arms and dashed her against a tree. Why, oh Lord? I have been a good person all my life. I have kept your commandments and attended church every Sunday.

    God: It’s all part of my grand plan for you. Your small mind cannot comprehend such matters.

    Bereaved Parent: Try me. You killed my little girl! You expect me to turn up at church next week and acknowledge and praise your infinite love and compassion. I think you owe me an explanation. She was only five years old!

    God: I was moving in mysterious ways.

    Bereaved Parent: What the hell does that mean?

    God: Well, I kill thousands of small children all over the planet every day, and if I say I am “moving in mysterious ways,” for some reason people stop asking questions and go back to worshipping me. My most common method is starvation, but I also use wars, preventable disease and miscellaneous acts of violence.

    Bereaved Parent: I can’t believe what I’m hearing.

    God: Yeah, it’s pretty rare that I speak so frankly. Look, if it makes you feel any better, tell yourself it was Satan’s work. Satan sent the tornado, I just sat back and did a quick miracle to save that cute little puppy you are seeing on TV. I did the same thing with the cross I miraculously left standing at Ground Zero, having allowed Muslim terrorists to murder 3,000 innocent people.

    Bereaved Parent: But you’re God! You just said you’re omnipotent, you could have stopped Satan.

    God: Ok, you’ve got me there. Look kid, the truth is, I don’t exist. I never have. Wasn’t it obvious to you that you made me when I seemed to love all the same things you love and hate all the same things you hate? Haven’t you noticed that all cultures that have ever existed have had their own gods and that these gods all seem to favor that particular culture, its hopes, dreams and prejudices? What, do you think all gods exist? If not, why only yours?

    Bereaved Parent: That’s a shame, because I intended to give you a free pass. I was going to still believe in you, despite every part of my intellect telling me you are nonsense, simply because I have nowhere else to go. The cold hard truth of my daughter’s death – and my own mortality – is pretty tough to face. And look at it from my perspective, I have been taught my whole life I must never question you, so I accepted it when they told me it was wrong to doubt.

    God: Well, look at it from my perspective. How long would I last if I positively promoted free thought, healthy skepticism, and independent inquiry? You people would see right through me in a minute.

    Bereaved Parent: Ok, I have to go now. My wife needs me. We have a little girl to bury.

    God: Good luck. I’ll say a prayer for you. Hey, even I need a god sometimes.

    May 21, 2013 at 5:52 pm |
    • remon

      The ending needs work

      May 21, 2013 at 5:55 pm |
    • m123

      Cute, does your mommy know you are using her computer?

      May 21, 2013 at 5:55 pm |
    • OMG

      Not smug enough. Come on, are you even trying anymore?

      May 21, 2013 at 6:34 pm |
    • ..and for the good news;there is no Satan either !

      Me thinks the irony shall not be grasped or totally ignored,by the all knowing ones

      May 21, 2013 at 7:41 pm |
    • DEZZY

      Colin,

      This is pretty God. I mean good.

      May 22, 2013 at 12:52 pm |
    • Chris

      Clearly you don't believe in God – perhaps you believe in attribution? Where did you cut and paste this from? Because I know I've read it before.

      May 22, 2013 at 12:55 pm |
    • Colin

      Oh Chris, I can assure you I wrote it. I have posted it before.

      May 22, 2013 at 1:22 pm |
    • Tim

      Colin: That was really good. Never mind the closed-minded that are criticizing you for revealing some deeper truths. They probably couldn't find a deeper truth with both hands.

      May 22, 2013 at 2:50 pm |
  7. who you calling big nose?

    Two hands working accomplish more than one million hands clasped in prayer.

    May 21, 2013 at 5:40 pm |
    • remon

      two hands working do more than an infinite number of idiots pretending their imagination is magical

      May 21, 2013 at 5:47 pm |
  8. HeavenSent

    Galations 6:7 "Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap."

    All sinful towns will get their turn.

    Amen.

    May 21, 2013 at 5:31 pm |
    • midwest rail

      And the B.B.'s most condescending twit weighs in.

      May 21, 2013 at 5:41 pm |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      Really??? What exact sin did those innocent children commit?? How fucking hateful are you that you would think innocent children deserve to suffer at the hands of your imaginary friend??? What did this town do that was so wrong???
      Have some damn compasion for a change!

      May 21, 2013 at 5:43 pm |
    • CommonSensed

      LOL – your god is a pretty sick bastich if you believe that.

      I'll stick with being a good human and ditch all the mumbo jumbo.

      May 21, 2013 at 5:47 pm |
    • HumanKindForever

      That is the sickest thing I have ever heard. The Oklahoma tragedy is proof there is no fairy in the sky.

      May 21, 2013 at 6:02 pm |
    • Kafir

      Hey is that you, Pat Robertson?

      May 22, 2013 at 1:43 pm |
  9. I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

    Why is it not building code in 'tornado alley' for all residences, schools and workplaces to contain a tornado shelter?

    Either a basement, or a properly designed concrete enclosure would suffice.

    This town looks like most of it was built late in the 20th century. There is no excuse for not planning for tornados in mid-west building construction – particularly when the same region is hit three times in ~14 years.

    May 21, 2013 at 5:24 pm |
    • OMG

      I've heard the soil is basically clay – it is very, very expensive to have a basement that doesn't crack or cave in.

      May 21, 2013 at 5:28 pm |
    • midwest rail

      I wonder if it's more expensive than the 2 billion plus price tag for the destruction.

      May 21, 2013 at 5:30 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      So don't build a full basement – build a small shelter. We have the civil engineering ability to design a structure that will withstand EF5 – either below ground or above ground.

      You don't need to build the whole house that way – just a big closet with enough room for the likely number of occupants.

      May 21, 2013 at 5:36 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      A quick Google search shows many different residential shelters – basically a steel box that you bury underground, all for about $5k.

      How is this too expensive when constructing a new home?

      May 21, 2013 at 5:42 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Perhaps I should start a twitter campaign to pray for 'tornado alley' building codes to include storm shelters?

      May 21, 2013 at 5:48 pm |
    • Neuchacho

      There's not much you can build that is going to withstand a E3-5 tornado. The better question is why would anyone choose to live in Tornado alley, knowing there aren't any shelters to that code? Would you blame the government if you built your house at the base of an active volcano? It's just dumb, bad luck.

      May 21, 2013 at 6:19 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      "There's not much you can build that is going to withstand a E3-5 tornado."

      Certainly not 'stick built' – as in traditional nailed and framed construction. Hurricane proof construction techniques do exist (everything has to be bolted together) and shelters can be designed to withstand EF-5 tornados. Underground is preferable.

      There's no reason why every newly built residential property in a high-risk area for tornados shouldn't have a pre-fabricated, buried shelter.

      May 21, 2013 at 9:01 pm |
  10. Colin

    God is a very accurate shot, the way he sterred that tornado over the top of those poor little children.

    May 21, 2013 at 5:16 pm |
    • OMG

      You got a sick mind. Ask for help (you can't fix your sick mind with your sick mind).

      May 21, 2013 at 5:41 pm |
    • fred

      Finally a scientist that still believes God did it.

      May 21, 2013 at 5:43 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      OMG, If your god is omniscient and omnipotent, who else caused the tornado? Who else could have stopped it?

      May 21, 2013 at 5:44 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Did your omniscient God not either steer, or through inaction permit, the tornado to hit the school?

      At least the Buddhists' first noble truth is that suffering exists and the Greco/Romans throught the Gods deliberately capricious. Christians believe in 'loving God' who is simultaneously vengeful or at best indifferent.

      May 21, 2013 at 5:47 pm |
    • fred

      In Santa we Trust
      You seem as confused as Colin when it comes God.
      Pain, death and suffering are part of a fallen world not part of Gods will for man. The Bible is clear it is Gods desire that none should die but that all come to the glory of God. The words get even stronger in that all things work to the good of those who believe.
      Your thoughts are limited to the physical whereas God says all this will pass away but the word of God remains forever.

      May 21, 2013 at 5:51 pm |
    • OMG

      When tragedy strikes – why do atheists get happy and start blaming God? They make jokes – and seem to celebrate. Ugly.

      Why does Colin feel the need to come in here and spread his sickness? Get help you poor soul.

      May 21, 2013 at 5:53 pm |
    • remon

      blaming God? You mean the person YOU SAY is responsible for everything in the universe? Gosh, aren't they terrible for pointing this out during a tragedy. Gosh. I guess you are denying that your God is responsible for anything at all.
      Thanks for proving prayers are useless and that your god does not exist. I knew you could do it.

      May 21, 2013 at 5:58 pm |
    • Colin

      Sarcasm not ur strong suit, hey OMG....

      May 21, 2013 at 5:58 pm |
    • OMG

      We don't control him with our prayers. That wouldn't make him a God, he would be our slave.

      I pray for the knowledge of God's will for me and others, and the power to carry that out.

      God answers all prayers. Sometimes that answer is no or not yet.

      May 21, 2013 at 6:02 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      I'll be watching, but not holding my breath, to see believers chastise their fellow believers for saying this was the work of their god. Look out Topher!

      May 21, 2013 at 6:03 pm |
    • OMG

      Colin –
      That was more smug than sarcastic.

      May 21, 2013 at 6:03 pm |
    • HumanKindForever

      Adam had to bite into that damn apple.....John and Mary's 5 year old might still be alive today...

      May 21, 2013 at 6:05 pm |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      When tragedy strikes – why do atheists get happy and start blaming God? They make jokes – and seem to celebrate. Ugly.

      >>>Not so much blaming your god as we are questioning the fact that IF it existed, what good reason would it have had to allow this tragedy to happen??? Do you not see how this works-you can't claim that your god is in control and is loving if terrible things like this happen? Those children didn't deserve death; those families don't deserve the turmoil created...it doesn't make sense to the rational mind and it sure as hell doesn't make your god look very loving.

      Why does Colin feel the need to come in here and spread his sickness?

      >>>Colin: You're sick?

      OMG: Don't read his posts if you can't face the reality within them but most of us here have an appreciation for what he has to say.

      May 21, 2013 at 6:05 pm |
    • HumanKindForever

      Adam had to bite into that damn apple.....John and Mary's 5 year old might still be alive today...

      I am sure it is fully explained in the Bible

      May 21, 2013 at 6:06 pm |
    • Colin

      "God answers all prayers. Sometimes that answer is no or not yet." Or, put another way, praying is useless becuase there is no god and most times the thing you asked for will not transpire. But on the odd occassion it does, spectacularly witless morons like me wil lthink a sky-fairy read my mind and heard my prayer. It's a pity I am too fvcking stupid to realize I am deluding myself, but that's how I'll probably spend the rest of my life.

      May 21, 2013 at 6:06 pm |
    • fred

      GOPer
      Wrong idea about God. God is not a respecter of man but has out of the goodness within created everything we know in order that we will find eternal unity or life eternal. It is all a gift to those that truly desire the presence of God. This existence is very short relative to eternal unity so perspective on individual death can be lost in the moment of tragedy. God does not live or exist in our fallen world but the fallen world is part of the eternal plan for the creation which has not changed since Genesis. A new heaven and a new earth is the kingdom of God and eternal rest for those God has chosen. Children of God are children of God and a tornado does not change anything in the kingdom of God.

      The tornado has great temporal impact in this fallen world. I don't think anyone knows how God is weaving that tragedy into His eternal plan on an individual basis.

      May 21, 2013 at 6:08 pm |
    • Colin

      TP – thank you

      May 21, 2013 at 6:08 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      God is a very accurate shot, but, as with an American or Israeli strike against know terrorists (sinners?), there is collateral damage. Those fortunate souls get a free ride to heaven.

      May 21, 2013 at 6:12 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      fred, If you believe that your god created the universe and all in it, then it created the talking snake and the forbidden fruit and satan etc. etc. If you also believe that your god is omniscient and omnipotent then it would have foreseen the consequences. Only got itself to blame for all the woes of the world.

      May 21, 2013 at 6:20 pm |
    • OMG

      Get on your knees and try praying for God's will for you and the power to carry that out.

      If anything – you'll be practicing humility. Humility is a great thing for a human being to possess.

      Better than pride and righteousness.

      May 21, 2013 at 6:20 pm |
    • fred

      In Santa We trust
      no, a fallen world is existence outside of the presence of God in your life. If you are and remain in the presence of God nothing can cause you harm from an eternal perspective. The problem continues to be the inability of atheists to separate the ways of man from the ways of God in their own minds and hearts. God says I will wipe away every tear, I will work all things for the good of those who believe for my kingdom is not of this world. The trouble of this world is often likened to pain of child birth which is forgotten in the Joy newborn. God never promised a Disney land ride on earth but said keep your hope in Christ and promise.

      May 21, 2013 at 6:29 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @fred,

      "I don't think anyone knows how God is weaving that tragedy into His eternal plan on an individual basis."

      Because the very notion of a loving but omniscient God is absurd.

      May 21, 2013 at 9:07 pm |
    • Chris

      "Because the very notion of a loving but omniscient God is absurd."

      You might want to look up the definition of omniscient.

      May 22, 2013 at 12:59 pm |
  11. Satan

    Praying hey? Isn't that where you think silent thoughts like "God, please help the people in Oklahoma." and the being that created the entire Universe reads your mind and intervenes to alter what would otherwise be the course of history in small ways to answer your prayer?

    And to think, we atheists think you Christians are a little nutty.....

    May 21, 2013 at 5:15 pm |

    • Satan is an atheist?

      May 21, 2013 at 5:21 pm |
    • Colin

      Yes, he never really believed in himself...

      May 21, 2013 at 5:43 pm |
  12. I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

    All we need now is someone like Pat Robertson telling us that the tornado was God's judgment for states moving forward with marriage equality bills. (Even if Oklahoma isn't one of them.)

    Or Westboro Baptist telling us the tornado was God's judgment for repealing don't ask don't tell or permitting women in the military.

    May 21, 2013 at 5:15 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      If we could rule out an act of God we might focus on an interaction between Oz and our Universe.

      May 21, 2013 at 5:17 pm |
    • sam

      Can't believe we haven't heard from any of those guys yet. We should start a betting pool on who's to blame. I'm betting it's BECAUSE GAY MARRIAGE!

      May 21, 2013 at 5:24 pm |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      Gay marriage or maybe the legalization of marijuana in varying states or perhaps the availability of the morning after pill or maybe just the pill itself...does Oklahoma have a legal abortion clinic? Or could it be as OMG claims god is busy in Hong Kong curing people of heroin addiction?

      May 21, 2013 at 5:40 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Our very own village idiot Topher has already declared this is some god's work because of man's sinful ways. Of course, he cannot even begin to explain why god kills innocent children. Mysterious ways indeed. . .

      May 21, 2013 at 5:48 pm |
    • HumanKindForever

      Better yet, one of the innocent children had a joint in their backpack. Senseless

      May 21, 2013 at 6:08 pm |
  13. Bill Deacon

    Who is Ricky Gervais?

    May 21, 2013 at 5:10 pm |
    • derp

      Actor, comedian, has a show on HBO and hosts the Golden Globe awards.

      Do you get out from under your rock much, or are catholics still not allowed in this century.

      May 21, 2013 at 5:12 pm |
    • OMG

      He created and starred in the original "The Office".

      He is very, very funny. His Tweet needs to be taken as a joke – it is what he does.

      May 21, 2013 at 5:13 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Bill,

      is that an honest question there, or just trolling?

      Or do you ask 'just who is Ricky Gervais to be permitted an opinion'?

      May 21, 2013 at 5:18 pm |
    • Pole dancing for Jesus

      How do I use Google?

      May 21, 2013 at 5:29 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      It says in the article
      "... Gervais, a British comedian, and other prominent nonbelievers."
      and
      "Gervais, an ardent foe of organized religion, was more caustic."

      May 21, 2013 at 5:41 pm |
  14. Ted Jones the crusader not for khrist

    God did not feel the children were worth sparing.

    May 21, 2013 at 5:06 pm |
    • OMG

      Death is not the final outcome.

      There is more to this world than meets the eyes.

      You just need to wake up!

      Good news.

      May 21, 2013 at 5:07 pm |
    • Ted Jones the crusader not for khrist

      There might be but God saw it fit the children were crushed and torn to death. Your God is not about good news....if I had to pick a God it surely would not be your failure of one.

      May 21, 2013 at 5:15 pm |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      OMG: Death is rather final. No evidence to support your claims.

      May 21, 2013 at 5:36 pm |
    • OMG

      Life is hard and it is a struggle. God gives me hope and helps me through my life. I hope you have something like God to help you through your life.

      May 21, 2013 at 5:46 pm |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      "Life is hard and it is a struggle. "

      That it most definitely is but I am quite able to handle my life and be a good loving person without the need to cling on to a god. What I have is nothing like your god-I have my wonderful husband; I have some amazing friends; I have one the best kids I know of; I have some great family and my career is where it should be at this point. Since I walked away and realized how unrealistic a god of any form is, my life is enhanced-a greater appreciation for how volatile our earth is; a greater appreciation for the time spent with those I love-this is all I get with them; a greater appreciation of the unique beauty our universe has to offer.

      May 21, 2013 at 5:55 pm |
    • ..and for the good news;there is no Satan either !

      OMG.Atheists,like myself,are quite content replacing god with logic,reason and infinite wonder at the world we are fortunate enough to experience-if only for a very short time.Quite content not to be shackled to_ pretending to know what we do not know

      May 21, 2013 at 6:05 pm |
  15. TP

    Did the money fix Haiti? Did it get to Haiti? What about New Jersey? I won't even mention Hurricane Katrina. Money is not the answer! God is! You can give all day, but who will make sure those people actually get help?

    May 21, 2013 at 5:04 pm |
    • required

      How much money did it take to form a universe?

      May 21, 2013 at 5:09 pm |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      So in other words you work for McDonalds and have a wife and 8 kids to feed and can't afford to donate but you want to believe you're doing some good by praying for them. Praying is not going to pay for the funerals of those innocent children; praying is not going to buy the material's needed to rebuild the homes or schools; praying is not going to put clothes or food in these people's lives; praying is not going to replace their lost vehicles. They need money more than prayer but good try, at least you feel good about your decision no matter how silly it is.

      May 21, 2013 at 5:31 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      When is your god going to start to help? In fact why didn't your god prevent the disasters?

      May 21, 2013 at 5:33 pm |
    • KyleDasan

      Tell you what. You go ahead and "pray" for the victims, and I'll go ahead and send the Red Cross
      $100 to help with what they're doing.

      I'll bet you that the $100 gets more use out of it than the prayer...

      May 21, 2013 at 5:49 pm |
    • CommonSensed

      Where was your god during the tornado? Same place he was during Newtown?

      May 21, 2013 at 5:50 pm |
  16. Reality

    Free Will and Future are inherent to all the thinking beings in the Universe. This being the case, it is not possible to alter life with prayers. Statistically, your request might come true but it is simply the result of the variability/randomness of Nature..

    So put down your rosaries and prayer beads and stop worshiping/revering cows or bowing to Mecca five times a day. Instead work hard at your job, take care of aging parents, volunteer at a soup kitchen, donate to charities and the poor and continue to follow the any good rules of living as gracious and good human beings.

    May 21, 2013 at 5:02 pm |
    • KyleDasan

      Do I HAVE to help aging parents? You haven't met my in-laws. Even my wife thinks they're crazy and need to be put in a home, so they could trouble the orderly for "A warm glass of SHUT THE HELL UP!"

      May 21, 2013 at 5:57 pm |
  17. required

    God is the best and he made everything, so yes, pray to God.

    May 21, 2013 at 4:59 pm |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      hahaha

      May 21, 2013 at 5:31 pm |
  18. OMG

    Oh, an atheist bragging about donating to charity.

    Stay classy, Ricky!

    May 21, 2013 at 4:53 pm |
    • OMG

      Just throw money at the problem – that'll fix it.

      May 21, 2013 at 4:54 pm |
    • Joey

      Oh look, some Christians bragging about doing nothing (a/k/a praying).

      May 21, 2013 at 4:55 pm |
    • OMG

      Expressing grief or sorrow through a Twitter hash tag – very human. Lots of humans seek conscious contact with our creator.

      And prayer works. We have proof!

      May 21, 2013 at 5:02 pm |
    • derp

      "And prayer works. We have proof!"

      Citation?

      May 21, 2013 at 5:13 pm |
    • OMG

      God is healing heroin addicts in Hong Kong.

      May 21, 2013 at 5:22 pm |
    • OMG

      citation:

      http://www.rejesus.co.uk/site/module/jackie_pullinger/P2/

      May 21, 2013 at 5:23 pm |
    • derp

      There is nothing in that citation that proves any activity of a a supreme being.

      Point out where there is any "proof" that god has anything to do with it.

      Jackie Pullinger is to be commended for her efforts. But there is absolutely no verifiable proof that anyone other than JP has a hand in it.

      May 21, 2013 at 5:29 pm |
    • sam

      Calm down there, crazycakes. You're going to hurt yourself.

      May 21, 2013 at 5:31 pm |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      "God is healing heroin addicts in Hong Kong."

      That explains why he didn't give a damn about the innocent children being crushed to death last night...You Delusional Fool!

      May 21, 2013 at 5:34 pm |
    • OMG

      Read or listen to one of Jackie Pullinger's testimonies.

      May 21, 2013 at 5:58 pm |
    • derp

      "Read or listen to one of Jackie Pullinger's testimonies"

      I have done charity work here locally in the name of sasquatch.

      Thanks for proving that sasquatch is just as real as your god.

      May 21, 2013 at 6:07 pm |
    • HumanKindForever

      Heroin addicts switch one crutch for another. Just shows how week believers really are. Nothing better than a dope addict. I guess that is why you can put faith in the cloud fairy. I think there are a bunch of parents not really agreeing on the whole fairy in the clouds concept.

      May 21, 2013 at 6:13 pm |
    • ..and for the good news;there is no Satan either !

      OMG.Do you know god?Have you spoken to him?I'm going to guess the answer is yes,so say hello for me and I,as a boastful atheist,will now donate $20(Canadian),to the secular organization-the Red Cross for tornado relief.Have a good day praying and talking gobblety goop.

      May 21, 2013 at 6:17 pm |
    • OMG

      These heroin addicts have been s@xually and physically abuse as children. Some are forced into prostutution at a very young age. Jackie is loving these people. You are judging and placing yourself above them.

      God bless Jackie. God bless you, too.

      May 21, 2013 at 6:30 pm |
  19. Science

    This too.............COMEDY GOLD ! #

    A Nobel Prize with help from sea slugs..................memory........chadie !

    By Edythe McNamee and Jacque Wilson, CNN

    updated 7:09 AM EDT, Tue May 14, 2013

    http://www.cnn.com/2013/05/14/health/lifeswork-eric-kandel-memory/index.html?iref=allsearch

    You are what chadie !

    May 21, 2013 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse |

    http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2013/05/19/proofs-of-heaven-popular-but-not-with-the-church/comment-page-49/?replytocom=2356182#respond

    May 21, 2013 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |

    May 21, 2013 at 4:52 pm |
  20. derp

    Nobody!!!

    May 21, 2013 at 4:48 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.