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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. Tim R

    My prayers are working, seems that even the athiests are giving money!

    May 22, 2013 at 4:33 pm |
    • Bobby

      Genius Tim!!

      May 22, 2013 at 4:36 pm |
    • bob

      That answers my prayers as well!

      May 22, 2013 at 4:37 pm |
    • Religious kooks unite

      would have happened even without your prayers. Shows the value of prayer.

      May 22, 2013 at 4:42 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      Would you like to show the cause and effect correlation...show your work.

      May 22, 2013 at 4:43 pm |
    • Chikkipop

      We always do.

      We just don't have big buildings to gather in on every block, where people collect money, most of which goes to the maintenance of the scam they are pulling on their gullible flock.

      May 22, 2013 at 4:43 pm |
  2. nmTim

    God knows everyone's outcome, it's just that from point A to point B (Heaven or hell) you have the opportunity to make the Lord proud of you or you can follow satans temptations along the way and have a helluva bumpy road. The little details is up to us...problem is we don't know what is little to us and what's little to god, which is why we need to check-in (pray) as often as possible. NO God is not Santa, where you just ask for whatever you want, he's a good parent that doesn't give a trophy to every soccer kid no matter if they win, lose or draw. He gives according to what he thinks is best for the kingdom. It's crazy that people think God is someone that is supposed to spoil them like a brat, and it's even crazier that people pray for stupid things that have nothing to do with what it is they need to survive...no, getting free tickets to Disneyland does not qualify as necessary.

    May 22, 2013 at 4:33 pm |
    • JWT

      Thor is the only god that matters.

      May 22, 2013 at 5:43 pm |
  3. Steph

    Know know what would be really refreshing? If celebrities would stop feeling like they are required to use their celebrity to fix what they perceive to be wrong with the world. Here's an idea, just do your job, entertainer/singer/comedian/actor/artist. I really don't care what 99% of you think about, anything, other than what you earn your money to do. How about you stick to that, and I won't stick my nose into your value judgements either. If someone wants to pray, send money, beat a drum, write a limerick, or go on a hunger strike in support of others, let them! Don't make snide comments about it just because it's something that you personally don't agree with.

    May 22, 2013 at 4:31 pm |
    • Tim R

      Steph, Well said! I couldn't agree more.

      May 22, 2013 at 4:35 pm |
    • gabriel

      indeed, steph

      May 22, 2013 at 4:39 pm |
    • Chikkipop

      Know what would be really refreshing, Steph!?

      If folks like you could get it into your heads that celebrities, or anyone else, have just as much right - and good reason - to comment as anyone else!

      Not only that, but it would be nice if you could understand that lots of us don't just criticize something "because we personally don't agree with it"! We criticize it as a matter of principle; no one should pray!

      Your thinking is so common, and so wrong.

      May 22, 2013 at 4:39 pm |
    • toothball

      So YOU can do it, but others can't?

      May 22, 2013 at 4:41 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Of course, if the celebrity agrees with your cause then they are wonderful and most welcome. Hypocrite!

      May 22, 2013 at 4:44 pm |
  4. mikepavek

    How sad and bitter are you when you vehemently oppose someone else for praying?

    May 22, 2013 at 4:30 pm |
    • ME II

      Technically, he was offering a more practical approach, i.e. #ActuallyDoSomethingForOklahoma.

      May 22, 2013 at 4:32 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      you really did miss the point. Try reading the article!

      May 22, 2013 at 4:33 pm |
    • Duggerdog

      We oppose stupidity. Pray does nothing for children crushed under tons of debris, and an all powerful God should have prevented this. However, this was a so-called "Act of God". How ironic.

      May 22, 2013 at 4:35 pm |
    • Believer

      Couldn't have been said better

      May 22, 2013 at 4:36 pm |
    • toothball

      These darned natural disasters... it's always tough trying to explain where God's omnipotence begins and ends... Sure he can create a Universe of infinite complexity, but he can't stop a funnel of wind. That's just beyond his power...

      May 22, 2013 at 4:38 pm |
  5. MCFx

    First of all Ricky Gervais is an idiot and no respectable news organization should print more that two sentences on him. Second, the people who are praying (Christians) are the very same people who give more in TIME AND MONEY not only during national disasters but on a yearly, monthly, weekly, daily, and (many times) hourly basis.

    These "praying" people will be in Oklahoma long after Gervais and his photo-op minded Hollywood-heads are long gone. They will be praying side-by-side WITH those who have lost loved ones trying desparately to give them hope to live on. They will be WITH the orphaned children reading them bed time stories trying to quench the fiery memories of that night. And you can bet your $1000 check, Ricky, that their quiet donations don't happen because a PR company informed them that this was the perfect tragedy to get your name out.

    May 22, 2013 at 4:29 pm |
    • toothball

      I have faith that this is true and that you are not just making it all up based on no evidence whatsoever.

      May 22, 2013 at 4:30 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      Action is what achieves anything; praying has no effect external to the person praying.

      May 22, 2013 at 4:33 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      "Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven." (Matthew 18:19)

      "And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive." (Matthew 21:22)

      so based on your Bible which you believe to be the word of God, why didn't all you Christians just pray for the hurt to be healed and the dead to be resurrected? It has to happen right? according to the Bible, you are GUARANTEED to get what you ask for. We didn't need the first responders at all.

      What a joke your bronze age voodoo is!

      May 22, 2013 at 4:35 pm |
    • Seyedibar

      Gervais is no idiot. He has an IQ of 142, $80 million in the bank, and a regular contributor to charitable causes. How's that compare against your own life?

      May 22, 2013 at 4:36 pm |
    • Believer

      In Santa We Trust don't you think that it is possible that God answers peoples prayers through the actions of over people?

      May 22, 2013 at 4:40 pm |
    • MCFx

      mothball, I have faith that you have the an IQ high enough to be able to google what has been statiistically proven time and time again. In fact, even religious liberals have statistically given more in time and money than their liberal athiest counterparts.

      May 22, 2013 at 4:43 pm |
    • FT

      Ricky Gervais is a comedian. You have all the right to not find him funny. He's anything but an idiot. While his thoughts are printed and his shows are successful, you, on the other hand, are limited to the CNN comment section. BTW, praying christians do not give any more time and money. You have no proof of that, and what you hear in a church doesn't qualify as truth. Prayers on hashtags are only meant for people to feel good.

      May 22, 2013 at 4:49 pm |
    • steve

      I'm Christian, this doesn't offend me. Ricky is funny, he is also the biggest twitter troll out there. Do you really think Ricky friends are all atheist. His mother wasn't etc..

      May 22, 2013 at 4:52 pm |
    • Chikkipop

      I don't have much faith that you'll ever understand that atheists don't have the same means as believers, because there aren't buildings on every block in every town where they gather to pass the hat. As nonbelievers organize & become more numerous (which is happening), you'll see the same effect.

      Consider this: According to Daniel Chen, an economist at Duke University, some 90 percent of the money that Mormons give to charity goes to other Mormons, while 80 percent of evangelical Christian charity goes to other evangelical Christians. At the other end of the scale are Catholics (at 50 percent), but even Jews, who are the least discriminating in their charity, reserve 40 percent of it for their fellow Jews. Chen found that this roughly mirrors the differing expectations of support that people expect from their co-religionists if they are ill. Giving money in these cases is less charity and more a kind of social insurance. By way of contrast, blood donations involve making a sacrifice for an anonymous stranger—an act that seems not to be stimulated by religion.

      Also, research using a >behavioral measure< (the actual opportunity to help) has shown no reliable difference between groups of different religious and non-religious outlooks (Batson and Flory, 1990)

      For example, Smith, Wheeler, and Diener (1975) gave out questionnaires to undergraduate students. After filling out a questionnaire indicating their religiosity they were asked to volunteer to help mentally retarded children. They found no relationship between volunteering and religious or non-religious preference (Batson, Schoenrade, and Ventis, 1993). Annis conducted two studies in 1975 and 1976 measuring helping by whether or not students would attempt to help a lady who had fallen off a ladder. No significant difference was found between religious groups and fewer than 50% attempted to help at all.

      Atheists are good WITHOUT believing nonsense!

      May 22, 2013 at 4:59 pm |
  6. Skippy

    Fairy Tale Theatre

    May 22, 2013 at 4:28 pm |
    • Science

      And money behind the angels..............the RCC and angels will not help.

      May 22, 2013 at 4:31 pm |
  7. God

    I'm sorry guys, my internet was down. I didn't see any of those tweets until the next morning

    May 22, 2013 at 4:28 pm |
  8. Runostic

    Nothing fails like prayer.

    May 22, 2013 at 4:22 pm |
    • Believer

      Nothing fails like a human being who only believes in himself and spews hatred.

      May 22, 2013 at 4:30 pm |
    • MCFx

      Tell that to the parents of the children that miraculously survived where the others didn't.

      May 22, 2013 at 4:31 pm |
    • ME II

      @MCFx,

      Seriously?!?!

      Tell that to the parents who's children didn't survive. Or are you saying they were less deserving of saving?

      May 22, 2013 at 4:35 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      @MCFx, you're the worst kind of pitiful.

      May 22, 2013 at 4:36 pm |
    • toothball

      Agreed. I read that the parent's of those that didn't make it were non-believers.

      May 22, 2013 at 4:42 pm |
    • Chikkipop

      Believer: "Nothing fails like a human being who only believes in himself and spews hatred."

      Let's see; how does "Believer" know that the person he's responding to "only believes in himself", and why does "Believer" think being critical of a bad idea is spewing "hatred"!?

      Could it be complete ignorance about what it means to doubt popular myths & to think critically? Believers are fed lies about what an atheist is; they all repeat the same nonsense. If you don't believe, you're self-centered & you're a hater.

      Believers don't understand that others can have genuine problems with beliefs lacking in any reason or evidence.

      How strange that people who imagine a magical being is looking out for them & listening to their prayers would call a doubter self-centered! The doubter, meanwhile, would never be so self centered as to believe he had a hot line to a magical father figure who listens to his "prayers".

      May 22, 2013 at 5:22 pm |
  9. Eastern Orthodox

    Lord, have mercy! Kyrie, eleison

    May 22, 2013 at 4:21 pm |
    • Seyedibar

      "Kyrie, eleison" originated in Attis worship. Attis was "the Christ" and "the messiah" almost 1700 years before the myth of Jesus was invented.

      May 22, 2013 at 4:24 pm |
  10. John

    And once again, the venom of poision-pens is published. So many people, so much hate.

    May 22, 2013 at 4:19 pm |
    • Seyedibar

      Criticizing philosophy is fine. For instance, most people hate the KKK, but by your standards, publicly hating the KKK is hate speech.

      May 22, 2013 at 4:27 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      What's a pen? That enclosure for animals? Why would you have a poison one?

      May 22, 2013 at 4:38 pm |
  11. amanda

    Why do I care what some moron athiest thinks? i don't.

    May 22, 2013 at 4:18 pm |
    • gorp

      You cared enough to comment.

      May 22, 2013 at 4:18 pm |
    • toothball

      I agree. God must have really wanted those 24 innocent people dead. We should not question why.

      May 22, 2013 at 4:19 pm |
    • God

      Why do I care what that moron Amanda thinks? I don't.

      May 22, 2013 at 4:25 pm |
    • FT

      Why do I care about what some religious moron think? God loved these 24 victims so much that it wanted them in "heaven" close to him. Very egotistic this god.

      May 22, 2013 at 4:32 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      Amanda
      If you didn't care what he thought, you would not have stooped to calling him a moron....think about it.

      May 22, 2013 at 4:36 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      it must have taken you all of 5 minutes to type that much. You must care!

      May 22, 2013 at 4:38 pm |
  12. achepotle

    I am giving money to the charities that are preaching the words of the Gospel to the survivors. What they need now more than anything...more than any other type of aid..is prayer and to accept Jesus as Saviour. I think other First Responders should stand aside until Faith-based first responders can get in and see what needs to be done to save the victims.

    May 22, 2013 at 4:14 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      are you being ironic?

      May 22, 2013 at 4:16 pm |
    • gorp

      This is true. If there's one thing that Oklahoma has never heard of, it's Jesus.

      May 22, 2013 at 4:16 pm |
    • Duggerdog

      You need to stand aside and see a shrink. What a ridiculous statement.

      May 22, 2013 at 4:18 pm |
    • Lisa

      Their homes are destroyed, family members dead or missing, pets and livestock gone, jobs gone, etc. and you believe that they need prayer more than any other type of aid? Then you're all set, since prayer doesn't take you an ounce of effort, and cost you nothing in physical aid.
      "I'll pray for you," is a worthless sentiment when people are needy.

      May 22, 2013 at 4:24 pm |
    • ScienceNeedsNoMagic

      ThroughTheBlack and Sawmills: You are right, you have to read the whole Bible to see it contradict itself. You have to read the whole Bible to understand that much of it was written several hundred years later. You have to understand that the "church" threw away many chapters.
      Just because someone has studied the Bible, but sees the lack of logic, lack of evidence, stolen stories from earlier religions, scientific explanations for Biblical "miracles" and then decides the bible is hogwash. They must not "get" the Bible and are unqualified to make statements about it.
      That's like saying "I chose to believe story "X" on Fox News even though there is no evidence or logic to the story, but because I believe in Fox News." and that if I don't believe the story, I'm not qualified to comment about the ridiculous claims of the story.

      May 22, 2013 at 4:25 pm |
    • toothball

      (Pretty sure he's making a joke...)

      May 22, 2013 at 4:26 pm |
    • TP

      Are you serious? Asking anybody to accept anything during a moment of crisis/duress is a form of manipulation. Why can you just help the needy and walk away? You have to fold in an agenda? That's quite troubling.

      May 22, 2013 at 4:35 pm |
    • FT

      Really? What if all the dead children are christians who believed in JC, but the survivors are Muslims, Jews, Bhuddist? They are laughing at your JC.

      May 22, 2013 at 4:55 pm |
  13. Mart

    Its a weeping angle don't look away, don't even blink

    May 22, 2013 at 4:12 pm |
    • ScienceNeedsNoMagic

      Way over most of their heads Mark!

      May 22, 2013 at 4:14 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      Awesome reference... 10pts for Mart

      May 22, 2013 at 4:17 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      also... I wish I thought of it first.

      May 22, 2013 at 4:22 pm |
    • AJ

      First, Any cash contribution for the people effected isappreciated – Atheist, Christian, Muslim – WHATEVER!.

      Second, Atheists should check your facts about "contributors". People of faith give a lot more of their hard earned cash in situations like this, along with what are hopefully real prayers, and not typed sillyness.

      Lastly, To Dyslexic doG – you shouldn't ridicule the bible when its obvious you don't understand it – like the difference between the old testatement law, and the new testament which set christ believers free. I hope someday you spend some time with some Christians who can explain some fundamental things about the bible and Christ – and maybe you won't write such offensive posts. Its your right – but boy, is it uninformed.

      May 22, 2013 at 4:25 pm |
    • Lisa

      Scariest episode ever!

      May 22, 2013 at 4:26 pm |
    • Opinion-man

      Huh? What's a "weeping angle"? Is that like a "right angle"? Could you punctuate your comment so the rest of us can understand it?

      May 22, 2013 at 4:26 pm |
    • Lisa

      Oh, we know what he meant, spelling error and all!

      May 22, 2013 at 4:33 pm |
    • HEY!!!

      Great comment! I should have thought of that!

      May 22, 2013 at 4:52 pm |
  14. ScienceNeedsNoMagic

    Jesus is returning to take His people home.
    It's been 2000 years, and he's been "Just around the bend all that time."
    The Bible warns us of disasters (getting more frequent) as a sign that it's getting SOON.
    Disasters are getting more frequent because the planet is getting overpopulated perhaps? Also, could our destruction of our environment have nay impact?
    In the meantime we r here to represent Jesus by loving others in His name.
    Why can't can't we love others in our own name? Am I not worthy?
    Giving to charity is the Christian way.
    Christianity did not invent morals, ethics or charity.
    Non believers may laugh now but not for long.
    Since I don't believe, I have until the end of my life. Jesus never told anyone to become a Christian.
    When all is said and done, they will see every time the spirit spoke to them and how they pushed it back untill they believed what they wanted to.
    Since God Is love, He doesent force Himself on you.
    But you seem to want to push him on me.
    Youtube search for "Cosmic Conflict" and see the Bible's take on this
    I didn't know God had a website. Why doesn't the Bible provide the Bible's take on this?

    May 22, 2013 at 4:10 pm |
    • Gary

      Religion is the perfect subject for idiots to discuss. It requires no actual knowledge about anything. Just a twisted, confused mind is all you need.

      May 22, 2013 at 4:18 pm |
    • Steven

      Too bad all of God's followers are constantly trying to force him on you.

      May 22, 2013 at 4:20 pm |
    • Chad Fletcher

      Posts like this makes my head hurt.

      May 22, 2013 at 4:26 pm |
    • steve

      Gary
      Religion is the perfect subject for idiots to discuss.

      Look what you just did

      May 22, 2013 at 4:38 pm |
  15. Dyslexic doG

    Women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the Law says. If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church. – 1 Corinthians 14

    Know your place Christian women. Every word of the Bible must be obeyed right?

    What a joke!

    May 22, 2013 at 4:09 pm |
    • paul

      you liee

      May 22, 2013 at 4:32 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      I think you mean The Babble lies.

      May 22, 2013 at 4:47 pm |
    • fintastic

      "Every living substance that I have made will I destroy." (Genesis 7:4)

      God repeats his intention to kill "every living substance ... from off the face of the earth." But why does God kill all the innocent animals? What had they done to deserve his wrath? It seems God never gets his fill of tormenting animals.

      May 22, 2013 at 5:01 pm |
    • Russ

      Dyslexic doG.....you're good! I There are so many prime examples in the bible that these bible thumpers fail to mention because it doesn't fit their needs. Basically the bible boils down to a couple of good catch phrases for it's followers and even then most of them don't abide by it. I agree totally with Ricky Gervais. Put your money where you mouth is not your worthless prayers.

      May 22, 2013 at 6:48 pm |
  16. Tonya

    Ummmm. yes He does notice all prayers, Tweeted or not. Why would someone even say this in a new story?

    May 22, 2013 at 4:09 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      Oklahoma is the Bible belt so I guarantee you most of the people killed in that tornado were praying for their lives. Why did your God slaughter them?

      May 22, 2013 at 4:11 pm |
    • ScienceNeedsNoMagic

      A lot of good the prayers of the dead victims did. But you did say "notice". You didn't say "answer" or "cares about" or "responds" to.

      May 22, 2013 at 4:12 pm |
    • Earthling

      Why would anyone believe in the obvious nonsense that religion claims is truth?

      May 22, 2013 at 4:13 pm |
    • toothball

      Prove it.

      May 22, 2013 at 4:17 pm |
    • Seyedibar

      and Santa knows if you've been naughty or nice.

      May 22, 2013 at 4:28 pm |
    • fintastic

      And you know this how??

      May 22, 2013 at 5:02 pm |
  17. Matt

    Prayer doesn't work. People are suffering and need real help. Real money. Real rebuilding. Real action. Stop the madness please and realize only we can help each other...our shared humanity is all we have in this world.

    May 22, 2013 at 4:08 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      Amen!!!

      May 22, 2013 at 4:09 pm |
  18. saved-man

    Actually I'm a Christian and this Gervais guy is right on one thing. We don't just need to pray but we can honor God with donating and lending a helping hand. Gervais must understand that true Christians are doing that. These hollywood people who are called Stars they are not true Christians if they are going around singing and dancing to secular music. A true Christian is one who truly believes God's Doctrine not man's Doctrine or the Doctrine of the Devil. Read your bible and you will truly see that Jesus is the only way.

    May 22, 2013 at 4:07 pm |
    • Eric

      The Bible is a book written by man and therefore man's word...sheesh...

      May 22, 2013 at 4:28 pm |
    • LinCA

      @saved-man

      You said, "We don't just need to pray but we can honor God with donating and lending a helping hand."
      That's aiding and abetting the perpetrator of this horrific crime. Do you normally honor murderers?

      May 22, 2013 at 4:28 pm |
    • Lisa

      I guess you mean they are not members of your church, your denomination, if they dance to "secular music."
      There are millions of Christians who follow the bible to the letter, and listen to secular music.

      May 22, 2013 at 4:30 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      I have read the bible many times over and have come to the realization that it is the same as all religious works...products of men's imaginations in response to their own ignorance.

      May 22, 2013 at 4:32 pm |
    • Iconoclast

      @saved-man – Who are you to judge whether a person is a true Christian or not? You should be ashamed. Now wash my feet, kiss Hank's backside, and donate money to the relief effort for those devastated by that tragedy.

      May 22, 2013 at 4:32 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      Lisa
      I know you do not know anyone who follows the bible to the letter. How many times have you been to a stoning?

      May 22, 2013 at 4:33 pm |
    • Earthling

      "True Christians", people who are "not true Christians" – hah. Perfect example of the "no true Scotsman" fallacy. Your religion, like all religions, is built on fluff and fantasy, with no basis in reality.

      May 22, 2013 at 4:51 pm |
  19. Ralph

    Why does sweet baby jesus and his father murder so many people? We pray, and they murder. What must we do?

    May 22, 2013 at 4:07 pm |
    • Richard Jones

      Pray harder.

      May 22, 2013 at 4:10 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      the Bible is full of tens of thousands of murders. God seems to like it.

      May 22, 2013 at 4:13 pm |
    • Al

      Maybe you should stop praying to the eight pound, six ounce, newborn baby Jesus, in his golden , fleece diapers, with his curled-up fat, and start praying to the hippie-hair bare-foot Jesus.

      May 22, 2013 at 4:30 pm |
    • Iconoclast

      If you can thank him. You can blame him.

      May 22, 2013 at 4:34 pm |
    • fintastic

      "All flesh died that moved upon the earth." Genesis 7:21-23

      God drowns everything that breathes air. From newborn babies to koala bears - all creatures great and small, the Lord God drowned them all............... I'm not seeing the love....

      May 22, 2013 at 5:06 pm |
  20. Dyslexic doG

    "Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you." (Matthew 7:7)

    "Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven." (Matthew 18:19)

    "And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive." (Matthew 21:22)

    so based on your Bible which you believe to be the word of God, I want all you Christians to pray for something right now. It has to happen right? according to the Bible, you are GUARANTEED to get what you ask for.

    Obviously the poor Christians in Oklahoma must not have been praying.

    What a joke your religion is!!!

    May 22, 2013 at 4:06 pm |
    • ScienceNeedsNoMagic

      Or too many people have been praying for tornadoes!

      May 22, 2013 at 4:13 pm |
    • ThroughTheBlack

      Sorry, your perception that God is Santa Claus is incorrect. Please continue studying your Bible and you will understand! Satan uses the Bible against believers. It is the oldest trick in the book:-)

      May 22, 2013 at 4:18 pm |
    • Sawmills

      The verse in Matthew is talking to Christians, and says "believing, you shall receive." Seriously though, in order to make comments such as that you have to have an understanding of the whole Bible! You can't take one verse out to prove that Christianity is a joke, you need to read in context.

      May 22, 2013 at 4:18 pm |
    • ME II

      @ThroughTheBlack,
      If Satan uses the Bible, then how do you know your interpretation is correct?

      May 22, 2013 at 4:24 pm |
    • Sawmills

      To MEII, that is a very good question, and many people are tricked by the devil into following/interpreting the Bible the wrong way! For example, the wars against other religions and peoples hundreds of years ago. In answer to your question, most of God's commands are commands! He says what he wants and doesn't want plain as day, and even focusing solely on those direct commands, one will have a foundation and the right mind to be able to discern a meaning. Please do not try to work out the Bible on your own, as the devil can work most effectively when there isn't someone to correct you.

      May 22, 2013 at 4:31 pm |
    • Earthling

      @sawmills

      Truly, by reading the whole bible, one may gain the most complete understanding of its complete lack of consistency and total irrelevance to anything based in reality. Bronze age fairy tales have no bearing on current events. This is the twenty-first century. Try to keep up.

      May 22, 2013 at 4:59 pm |
    • fintastic

      @sawmills..........."many people are tricked by the devil into following/interpreting the Bible the wrong way!"

      This is truly laughable....

      May 22, 2013 at 5:09 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.