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May 22nd, 2013
08:34 AM ET

My take: Keep bad theology out of Oklahoma

Editor's Note: The Rev. Ian Punnett is the author of "How to Pray When You’re Pissed at God (Or Anyone Else For That Matter)" and a veteran talk show host. He has been married for 28 years and is the father of two college age boys.

By Ian Punnett, Special to CNN
[twitter-follow screen_name='deaconpunnett']

(CNN) - “God never gives us more than we can handle.”

God, have I learned to hate that cliche.

As a clergy person, as a hospital chaplain intern and as a father, I have come to believe that, at best, that platitude is a classic example of meaningless bumper-sticker theology. It's easily said and only makes sense when it goes by you so fast you don’t have time to think about it.

At worst, however, claiming that God scales a tragedy up or down depending on our ability to handle loss is as heartless as it is thoughtless.

In the deadly aftermath of the tornado that destroyed so much of Moore, Oklahoma, pain is only compounded by the implication that somehow the survivors are complicit in the death of a loved one because of their strength as a person. In this view, if God is only giving me what I can handle, then it would seem my boys would be a lot safer if I were weak.

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Anybody who has stood in the reception line at a child’s funeral likely has suffered through the repetition of this dubious claim and its equally insidious cousin, “God must have needed a new quarterback (or ballerina) up in heaven,” another expression that has hurt more people than it has healed.

Instead of simply saying, “I am so sorry this has happened” or “I am heartsick over what you are going through” or “This is just so wrong,” some mourners attempt to explain the unexplainable by forcing the world into the “Everything happens for a reason” paradigm. Bumper-sticker theology of this type reorders the universe less for the benefit of the grief-stricken and more for the benefit of the person offering it.

Because what could be reasonable about the death of a child? Deadly tornadoes can be understood scientifically, to be sure, but there is nothing reasonable about a tornado wiping out a school full of frightened children.

CNN Belief: Who hears #PrayersForOklahoma?

A tornado is not the finger of God squashing us like bugs on a sidewalk. If weather were God’s instrument of justice and  tornado victims were singled out to reward the good or punish the bad, then meteorologists would be theologians.

In researching  my book "How to Pray When You’re Pissed at God (Or Anyone Else For That Matter)," I spoke with dozens of people who told me that they lost their ability to pray - at a time when they needed it most - when family and friends pressured them into believing that God took their loved one on purpose, and that they were supposed to feel good about it.

In Oklahoma the death toll is 24, and it's expected to rise. I believe that God stands innocently with all the victims. The difference between those who lived and those who died is not the difference between those who had more or less faith, but the random difference between those who turned left and those who turned right.

In our hearts, we might crave the order of a world where God never gives us more than we can handle, but ultimately platitudes are placebos. They only work some of the time and their effectiveness requires the buy-in of the recipient.

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

If a bereaved parent finds peace in believing that God needed a little quarterback in heaven, far be it from me to challenge that perspective.

That said, in the face of tragedy, I believe that the faithful can best serve victims with sympathetic ears and warm hugs in what is called “a ministry of presence.” If they want to cry, cry with them. If they want to laugh and tell stories, smile through the pain, and if they want to yell “Why, God, why?” at heaven, then shake your fist too and leave the question unanswered for now.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Ian Punnett.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Christianity • Opinion

soundoff (631 Responses)
  1. Chad

    "Keep Bad Theology out of Oklahoma"

    100% agree.

    The bible is very clear, NOT all disasters are Gods Judgement.

    “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? 3 I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish. 4 Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them—do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? 5 I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.” - Luke 13

    May 22, 2013 at 11:12 am |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      Yet neither the bible nor any christian method allows for any of you believers to know when god is punishing and when he isn't with such disasters. All christians have nothing more than faith and doubt.

      May 22, 2013 at 11:19 am |
    • Colin

      The World's population was about 190 million at the time the Bible gicves for Noah's flood. How many millions of beautiful little children did God wipe out? I'm thinking around 100 million.

      May 22, 2013 at 11:21 am |
    • Chuckles

      @Chad

      Ran away again I see, thanks for another point in the win column.

      Tell me, how does it feel to come to this blog day in and day out and debate till your face turns blue only to embarrass yourself by quitting time? Tedious?

      May 22, 2013 at 11:21 am |
    • JMEF

      Chad you nutter jesus freak, they are talking about YOU, stay the hell far away from Moore, Oklahoma. The people have suffered enough without the likes of you and Rachel troncing about.

      May 22, 2013 at 11:21 am |
    • lol??

      Cap'n Oblivius declares,
      "................All christians have nothing more than faith and doubt............."

      A little long fer a bumper sticker and yer twitter bwain.

      May 22, 2013 at 11:27 am |
    • Chad

      @Colin "The World's population was about 190 million at the time the Bible gicves for Noah's flood"
      @Chad "The bible gives a date for Noah flood?
      wow, cant believe I missed that.. Chapter/verse?

      ======
      @Chuckles "Ran away again I see, thanks for another point in the win column."
      @Chad "??? um... link?"

      May 22, 2013 at 11:31 am |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Chad,

      "The bible is very clear, NOT all disasters are Gods Judgement"

      I agree – it is only fundies who make this argument.

      Extrapolating then, God is not (always) vengeful, but is capricious and indifferent to human suffering.

      May 22, 2013 at 11:33 am |
    • lol??

      God gives life and the A&A's hate this. They can ONLY kill.

      "Rev 20:5 But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This [is] the first resurrection."

      Everybody gets to celebrate their own resurrection!!

      May 22, 2013 at 11:33 am |
    • Chuckles

      @Chad

      Our thread in the afterlife story. After answering nothing you seem to be on this blog and refuse to go back an answer. I call that running away.

      @Colin et al.

      Wait for it, the chad bait is set, he's waiting to unleash his knowledge of "telescoping" hoping to convince a few people that even though the bible lists all the "begats", it doesn't list everyone. The population number, the amount of children murdered by god, all of that doesn't matter to him as long as he can pretend for a second like he sounds smart.

      May 22, 2013 at 11:34 am |
    • JMEF

      So Chad/Rachel get jesus of his lazy supernatural ass and come down and raise these people from the dead; he could do it right, you moron.

      May 22, 2013 at 11:35 am |
    • Honey Badger Don't Care!

      If the flood occurred in 2348BCE (Answers in Genesis) and the Exodus happened in 1444BCE (AIG) and the Israelites were in captivity for 400 years (AIG) isn’t there a problem?
      That means that in 504 years eight people went from being the only people on Earth to a population big enough to not only rule Egypt but to enslave themselves.

      Hmmmm……

      May 22, 2013 at 11:37 am |
    • In Santa we trust

      Chad, If your god is omnipotent and omniscient then ultimately it is responsible for all that happens – you religious types can't only praise god for good things you must also blame god for bad things. It seems illogical that a god would select certain humans and animals to survive, for example, the tornado when if it had that power why wouldn't it stop the tornado or not create it in the first place. I know you'll say "we don't know god's mind" etc. but you claim to know god's will when it comes to proselytizing.

      May 22, 2013 at 11:40 am |
    • In Santa we trust

      Chad, Regardless of date and population, the bible says that the flood wiped out >99% of people including children and that god did that. Not the loving god you market.

      May 22, 2013 at 11:42 am |
    • JMEF

      Honey Badger...
      The Chad will say that it was probably only a local flood even though his book of myths contradicts this. Chad also explains that after his god created Adam and Eve, he must have nipped over to the land of Nod and created another bunch of people so Cain could pick himself out a comely wife or two to propagate the species. Amazing how Christian apologists can come up with this BS and have people believe it.

      May 22, 2013 at 11:49 am |
    • Chad

      @GOPer " Extrapolating then, God is not (always) vengeful, but is capricious and indifferent to human suffering."

      @Chad "that is really atrocious logic, un-biblical as well..

      Christian doctrine claims the the current state of creation is the result of the disobedience of man, not the capricious will of God.
      Christian doctrine claims that God is never indifferent to human suffering. It is simply impossible to make a case, based on biblical doctrine, otherwise.

      May 22, 2013 at 11:58 am |
    • Chuckles

      @JMEF

      Keep in mind, god went over to Nod, made mudmen and women, blew them into existance but made sure these people WEREN'T perfect, because, you know, God right? So Cain gets to walk on over, find a hottie who's all like "Do me! It's for humanity!" and Cain thought that's cool, why the heck not. They propagated for a while, pumping out babies left and right (I mean come on, they have a whole world they need to fill) meanwhile god, who has no problem showing himself to his first couple of humans decides to completely hide himself this time because the last time he wasn't around things worked out (wait...). Once that inevitably failed god was like, "fu/ck it, lets try this again, lets flood this motha down!"

      Obviously it was our fault though right? I mean Adam and Eve did eat a piece of fruit, what di.ckheads.

      May 22, 2013 at 12:06 pm |
    • Joey

      Yes, Adam ate an apple, and god is still taking it out on children to this very day.

      May 22, 2013 at 12:07 pm |
    • sam stone

      "The bible is very clear, NOT all disasters are Gods Judgement."

      Perhaps you should get together with Gopher to discuss this.

      May 22, 2013 at 12:14 pm |
    • JMEF

      Chuckles
      Thanks for filling in the details. I still can't bring myself to talk to snakes just in case they may answer and am terrified of Granny Smith apples in case that was the one, woe betide what the dic.khead would do if you chomped on the wrong type.
      Chad
      Christian doctrine what the hell are you talking about, there are thousands of different interpretations of the doctrine. Ever thought of getting an exorcism to rid you of Rachel?

      May 22, 2013 at 12:15 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Chad,

      "the current state of creation is the result of the disobedience of man"

      Are you referring to the whole "don't learn about good and evil" followed by "gottcha, you went ahead and learned about good and evil, so now you are bad" thing?

      May 22, 2013 at 12:18 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      1 Peter 2

      Amen.

      May 22, 2013 at 12:50 pm |
    • Chad

      @Chuckles "Our thread in the afterlife story. After answering nothing you seem to be on this blog and refuse to go back an answer."
      @Chad "hunh?
      last I saw on that thread, you finally figured out what a circular argument was.. I was so proud.. sniff...

      May 22, 2013 at 1:13 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @Chad

      Then you are apparently learning to read because I literally repeated the same thing 5 times in that thread. If that's all you got from the latest post then I guess I just need to repeat something 5 times in order for you to really let it sink in to your head.

      May 22, 2013 at 1:23 pm |
    • Chad

      hmm.. what would that "thing" be?

      May 22, 2013 at 1:29 pm |
    • Chad

      @GOPer "Are you referring to the whole "don't learn about good and evil" followed by "gottcha, you went ahead and learned about good and evil, so now you are bad" thing?

      @Chad ""now you are bad"? no.. inherited sin is not a biblical notion
      "gotcha" no..

      Here's the thing, if you want to talk about the God of Israel, is needs to be based on the God of Israel as described in the bible.
      Otherwise, who are you talking about? It's a strawman, right?

      May 22, 2013 at 1:44 pm |
    • Joey

      Since you can take different parts of the bible and make god anything you want him to be that seems like a giant waste of time Chad, and as someone who was raised as a Christian we were certainly taught that everyone is born a sinner because of original sin.

      May 22, 2013 at 2:32 pm |
    • Peter

      Chad, since there are 40+ thousand different versions of Christian doctrine, which one would you like to discuss?

      May 22, 2013 at 2:45 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Chad,

      so if not inherited sin, what on earth do you mean by the "disobedience of man" and how that reflects the "state of creation".

      May 22, 2013 at 2:56 pm |
    • Peter

      I guess he thinks we didn't inherit the sin just the punishment.

      May 22, 2013 at 3:09 pm |
    • Chad

      @GOPer

      – to understand the impact of the fall, physically, on the creation: read first 8 chapters of Genesis
      – to understand the impact of the fall, spiritually, on creation: read first 8 chapters of Romans

      May 22, 2013 at 3:27 pm |
    • Joey

      Biblical support for original and inherited sin

      http://www.desiringgod.org/resource-library/articles/what-is-the-biblical-evidence-for-original-sin

      May 22, 2013 at 3:31 pm |
    • JMEF

      Chad
      To understand the Hindu religion read the four Vedas, the Rig, Sama Yajur and Atharva. Oh that's right you don't give a sh.it about any other religion do you. So why do you think everyone should read your first 8 chapters of the BS printed in any of your book of BS? Arrogant pompous disingenuous lying trash that you are. Not ad hominem just fact as held by all of your critics. Saraswati's list is so true.

      May 22, 2013 at 3:52 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Chad,

      "- to understand the impact of the fall, physically, on the creation: read first 8 chapters of Genesis"

      Well thats a 'non-answer'.

      Where did the 'wickedness' of Gen 6:1-5. come from?
      Didn't it get erased by the flood? Otherwise, what was the purpose of the flood?

      May 22, 2013 at 8:50 pm |
  2. macian99

    A reasonable approach, but why not take it one step further and take god out of the equation entirely? After all, the concept of a loving father in heaven came along only to make us feel better: someone protecting us, or some reason something awful happened to somebody else when they weren't protected. If the concept of God no longer works for that, why not just free yourself and stop wasting your Sundays listening to somebody who doesn't know any better answers than you do?

    May 22, 2013 at 11:06 am |
    • OMG

      What is wrong with listening to somebody talk who has devoted their life to helping other people? Is it really that bad to gather with people and sing together, pray for others and enjoy fellowship?

      May 22, 2013 at 11:11 am |
    • Chuckles

      @OMG

      Good question, how often do you go to a Mosque and do that with your muslim brethren?

      May 22, 2013 at 11:18 am |
    • OMG

      re: Good question, how often do you go to a Mosque and do that with your muslim brethren?

      Never. I'm not a Muslim.

      I'm not saying he or she should not go to church. I was wondering why he or she was knocking it.

      Why the resentment?

      May 22, 2013 at 11:21 am |
    • OMG

      * I'm not saying he or she should go to church.

      May 22, 2013 at 11:21 am |
    • lol??

      The A&A's have a father. It's the default situation and the blood tests will prove it.

      May 22, 2013 at 11:22 am |
    • Chuckles

      @OMG

      Ok, looks like I'm going to have to hold your hand on this one. Lets pull on this thread a little more huh. You don't have to be a muslim to attend a service or two at a Mosque, it's open to everyone. You personally haven't gone because you are a christian (presumably) and feel it unneccessary to listen to someone discuss a false god and try and convince others to believe, right? Furthermore you might think it wrong that they worship the wrong god and although it's perfectly legal for them to do what they are doing, is it right?

      May 22, 2013 at 11:26 am |
    • Madtown

      Never. I'm not a Muslim.
      ---–
      For me, this is the worst part of organized religion. It separates equal human beings into groups, apart from each other, and each group thinks their group is the best, and the other groups have it all wrong. If there was to be a world religion that was truly worthwhile, it would be one that united everyone, and divided no one.

      May 22, 2013 at 11:28 am |
    • OMG

      @ Chuckles

      Wrong.

      @ You personally haven't gone because you are a christian (presumably) and feel it unneccessary to listen to someone discuss a false god and try and convince others to believe, right?

      NO. I follow Jesus Christ. I have never been invited to a Muslim service, but I would be willing to go.

      @ Furthermore you might think it wrong that they worship the wrong god and although it's perfectly legal for them to do what they are doing, is it right?

      NO. Why are you assuming so much?

      Jesus Christ asks me to love God and love my brothers. I'm not called to judge them. That is for God to do. I need to share love with them.

      May 22, 2013 at 11:41 am |
    • OMG

      @ For me, this is the worst part of organized religion. It separates equal human beings into groups, apart from each other, and each group thinks their group is the best, and the other groups have it all wrong. If there was to be a world religion that was truly worthwhile, it would be one that united everyone, and divided no one.

      Not my church. They ask the opposite of me from what you assume.

      May 22, 2013 at 11:42 am |
    • lol??

      HHHhhmmm, madtown, are you talkin' 'bout the new wurld order and tryin' to rebuild the tower of babylon?? The UN has enuff translators to help on this project. They take in a load of money and help EVERYBODY!!

      May 22, 2013 at 11:42 am |
    • OMG

      @ It separates equal human beings into groups, apart from each other, and each group thinks their group is the best, and the other groups have it all wrong.

      This is exactly what you and Chuckles do, too.

      May 22, 2013 at 11:43 am |
    • Chuckles

      @OMG

      Why do you need an invite? Who's stopping you? Like I said, services are always open to all. I've been to a couple, both in America and in Israel. If you want to go, then go.

      Next, thumbs up! You want to love everyone because jesus tells you to (not because you personally feel thats right, but because a guy 2000 years ago asked nicely). Kudos. The real question is, do you need a god to do this or, and this might sound crazy, can you actually be nice without the need of a god, or a congregation or an old book.

      I know, sounds crazy, but just go with me on this one.

      May 22, 2013 at 11:47 am |
    • OMG

      @ Chuckles
      @ Why do you need an invite? Who's stopping you?

      I don't have a desire to go. But I would be open if giving an invitation. My spiritual needs are being met at Church right now.

      @ do you need a god to do this or, and this might sound crazy, can you actually be nice without the need of a god, or a congregation or an old book.

      If I was perfect – I could love and treat other people well. I'm not.

      I need God. I need help. I get that from fellowship with people who love God and other people. I get help from a collection of books that contains ancient wisdom. Stories, songs, poetry, testimonies and wise sayings. A lot of non-religious people embrace the truths that come from this book. It is an interesting collection of books.

      My question to you: – – – Can you be nice? – – – I look at what you have written to other people (like Chad).

      I am going to trust Jesus Christ about how to treat others. Not you.

      May 22, 2013 at 12:06 pm |
    • Madtown

      OMG
      This is exactly what you and Chuckles do, too.
      -----
      It's perfectly fine that you think this, but it's not at all true. Speaking for myself only.

      May 22, 2013 at 12:16 pm |
    • OMG

      I think I got you and macian mixed up.

      Just sometimes people on here talk about how divisive and narrow-minded religious people are – and in doing so these people appear just as divisive and narrow-minded as the religious people.

      Religious and atheist people are a lot of like. It is interesting.

      May 22, 2013 at 12:20 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @OMG

      So lets see here, you have no need to go and see how other religions operate because, well you just don't need to because apparently all it takes is one service of a different religion to effect you spiritually. Yikes, you might want to delve in a little deeper into why your faith is so shakey.

      Now as to your question, can I be nice? Absolutely, I am everyday. I'm told constantly that I'm too nice by some because I'm more willing to look at an issue from the other persons shoes and not stand my ground as much as I should. I volunteer at a soup kitchen once a week. I donate time and money to different causes and have a lovely group of friends. I've never been in a fist fight nor do I have intend on being and generally my life is pretty happy. Am I nice all the time? No. Who is? However a) I've never asked you to model your behavior off of my actions, nor really anyones actions. If you don't have the mental will power to be nice to someone on your own, that's fine, choose a living person in your life who you admire and strive to be like. The person you are trying to follow now (jesus) was totally cool with subjugation of women, slavery, being a shmuck to people that didn't believe in him and totally condoned all his "dad's" teachings (like it's totally cool to kill someone as long as they aren't part of your community).

      Gaining knowledge from books, stories, songs, etc... is cool but I can freely say I've learned more from JK Rowling and JRR Tolkien about friendship, bravery and goodness than I ever did from reading a history book.

      May 22, 2013 at 12:22 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @OMG

      Also, considering you apparently are only reading my posts to chad, that's in no way a good measure about how I think about christians in general, but then again I guess you want to paint me as the big bad atheist so that makes sense. Chad has proven himself to be a liar and a tool in many different posts. Other believers like fred (who has no problem blaming jews for killing jesus) and Topher (who believes the recent tornado in Oklahoma was because of nonbelievers like myself) have also proven themselves to be horrible people using their religion to justify their hate.

      Not all christians do this, most don't. My deal is hate the religion not the believer. I believe your religion is a horrible, divisive and downright odious philisophical belief that should not be spread. There are parts that are perfectly fine (love thy neighbor, treat others as you like to be treated, etc...) but considering those have been couched from other beliefs anyway, I see no reason why those philosophies can't be taught without all the bulls.hit about god and jesus and what not.

      May 22, 2013 at 12:28 pm |
    • Madtown

      people on here talk about how divisive and narrow-minded religious people are
      -----
      Ok, cool. I'm not an atheist, but I also don't support any particular religion, for the reason I mentioned. I think we're all created equal in terms of human value. Me, you, the primitive South American tribesman........even Topher. Equal as human beings. I have no time for any religious tradition that divides, and pits groups of humans against each other.

      May 22, 2013 at 12:28 pm |
    • OMG

      That is great that you are so nice and generous to others.

      I need and trust in Jesus. Why belittle me because I can't do it as great as you? Maybe I don't have the same means, finances or education to do what you do.

      Maybe I'm broken.

      Why belittle me for not having a desire to go to a Muslim service? Why the need to imagine I have horrible motives behind this?

      Did you know that there are oppressed women, slaves and people with different beliefs that know and trust in Jesus Christ?

      I don't think he was 'totally cool' with it, like you phrase it. His most faithful followers are and were women.

      May 22, 2013 at 1:02 pm |
    • OMG

      @ Madtown

      My pastor says "Anytime you draw a line and say 'Us' and 'Them', God will ask you to love 'Them'".

      May 22, 2013 at 1:04 pm |
    • Joey

      OMG, that is your religion talking. You would be just as nice a person as you are now even if you had never gone to church. However, you religion teaches you that you are broken and can't do anything good unless you believe in god. If you don't believe me then don't go to church for a while and see if you turn into some sort of monster, my guess is you will not.

      May 22, 2013 at 1:12 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @OMG

      @Joey is right. You aren't broken, you only think you are. Nor did I ever say you have horrible motivations for not going to a muslim service. You don't have a good reason why you haven't, but it wasn't horribly motivated, it's just out of laziness I would imagine. I'm simply bringing it up because it's clear so far that you are comfortable enough in your bubble to not have done your own research into other religions. Go to a muslim service, and a hindu one, and a jewish one, and any others that you can find. You'll realize the only division among you and them is that your faith dictates that they are wrong and you are right.

      My education and financial means has nothing to do with why I like to help folks. I do it because I can and I've seen the ugly side of humanity. There are problems that can't be fixed by praying for them to go away or even just throwing money at a dubious charity or a church. A church might donate a portion of those donations to needy people, but churchs are also a business that needs to make sure its congreagation and more importantly the building is maintained first and foremost.

      OMG, I will always go after religion, whether it be christianity or islam or judaism or any other one out there. They are hateful idealogies masquarading as loving philosophies and need to be stopped. How I stop them is by speaking with people like you and trying to convince you that loving you fellow man only stops when you put up idealogical boundaries. Tear those down and you can really start to help others without prejudice.

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

      @Joey

      I don't think I will turn into some monster if I stop going to church. My religion doesn't teach me I'm broken and can't do anything unless I believe in God.

      I say I am broken, because that is my experience. That is what happened in my life.

      Nobody taught me this.

      @Chuckles

      Is it possible there is a group of people that meet to worship God and don't harm others? They come together to share the love they have for their Creator? They believe they are called to help those in need? They try to help the poor, the orphaned and widowed?

      They offer this help with no expectations? It is just a gift they want to give others?

      Is it possible they don't have a hateful idealogy? Is it possible they aren't so worried and upset about what others 'believe' or what 'idealogy' they have?

      Is it possible they are acting out of love?

      Can you write a post that doesn't try to be little me? One that doesn't assume I'm lazy, small-minded or not accepting of others?

      Can you be nice?

      May 22, 2013 at 2:55 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @OMG

      Sorry, at first I was under the impression those were heartfelt questions, then you ended with being snarky. Pity.

      Is it possible for a group of people to meet without wanting to do harm? Sure, it happens all the time.

      Is it possible for people to give gifts with no expectations? Again, sure, look at doctors without boarders, or other more secular and humanist charities. Sadly for you however christian charities all state expressly or imply heavily their purpose is to spread the gospel and hopefully nab a few sinners. Sure, you can pretend that christian churches and charities are helping out of the goodness of their hearts without hoping to convert people (I'm positive individual christians do that all the time) but the organizations have specific intent in mind, it's what separates a christian org from a secular org.

      Now, is it possible for a group to get together and not have hateful ideology? Yes, but you aren't talking about christianity. Christianity does have hateful idealogy. It's right there in your bible. If you don't like it then I reccommend you stop being a christian and become more of a deist because christianity is full of hateful, odious ideology interwoven with some good stuff to placate people like you. Seriously read your bible then tell me again how the actions taken throughout the bible are somehow "good"

      "Can you write a post that doesn't try to be little me? One that doesn't assume I'm lazy, small-minded or not accepting of others?"
      –I'm only stating the facts. If you feel this is belitting you then maybe you ought to rethink the words you've written and the actions you've taken. Are you actively any other things I've stated so far? Probably not. Most christians don't decide on a whim to go to a mosque. Most christians don't feel the need to research other religions. I would hope that after this challenge it makes you want to do these things instead of write them off, sounds like I'm hoping for too much though.

      "Can you be nice?"
      –Sure, to people I respect.

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

      http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org/ng/ep10/ep10_volunteer.html

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

      @OMG

      You do realize that christians can volunteer for secular organizations and atheists can volunteer with christian organizations right?

      Do I really need to hold your hand through this?

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

      I call BS.

      First, you are very snarky toward me, too. Get off your high horse.

      2. You believe only secular organizations can give the right way? I know Christians who think only Christians organizations can give the right way. I think you both are wrong.

      3. Christians are involved in secular charities, too.

      4. Not all Christians are motivated by spreading the gospel and converting sinners. Some might be.

      5. I'm going to trust in those that I have seen dedicate their lives to helping others. They created a community where people like me can go for help. And then in turn help others.

      In my time of need – I didn't find a government, science fiction/fantasy literature or medical group that helped me. It was a Christian one.

      For me to deny Jesus Christ would be stupid. I can't deny Jesus.

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

      "Do I really need to hold your hand through this?"

      And you criticize me for being snarky? That seems hipocritical to me!

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

      @ You do realize that christians can volunteer for secular organizations and atheists can volunteer with christian organizations right?

      You just told me how secular groups are superior to Christian groups.

      By who's standards are you basing this on?

      Yours?

      Gods?

      May 22, 2013 at 4:44 pm |
    • OMG

      Hateful ideaology?

      My pastor encourages me to love others. "Whenever you draw a line between 'us' and 'them', God wants you to love 'them'".

      And also she asks me to give without expecting anything in return.

      She asks me to be different than those motivated by money, approval of others (being told I'm too nice) and fear.

      God has a better way for me.

      And you too.

      May 22, 2013 at 4:48 pm |
    • OMG

      Hateful is following around Chad and making snarky comments and saying things that tear him down.

      You have the hateful ideaology.

      Brag about how nice you are, how generous you are.

      Point your finger down at the dirty Christian how does the same thing you do, but for different and inferior reasons than you.

      I want no part of your hipocrisy, hate and superiority.

      I don't want what you have.

      May 22, 2013 at 4:50 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @OMG

      "First, you are very snarky toward me, too. Get off your high horse."
      –Sorry, I like it up here very much. Also, aren't you the one who's supposed to turn the other cheek?

      "2. You believe only secular organizations can give the right way? I know Christians who think only Christians organizations can give the right way. I think you both are wrong. "
      –There's no such thing as "giving the right way". Both types of organizations give, one organization *cough* christian *cough* just has some strings attached. I find that wrong.

      "3. Christians are involved in secular charities, too."
      –Yes, I've pointed that out a couple of times. Kudos for reading comprehension.

      "4. Not all Christians are motivated by spreading the gospel and converting sinners. Some might be."
      - Also pointed that out too. I'm talking about the organizations and what they stand for. Those are motivated by spreading the gospel. It's the thing that separates a christian charity from a secular one.

      "5. I'm going to trust in those that I have seen dedicate their lives to helping others. They created a community where people like me can go for help. And then in turn help others."
      - Congrats. You do realize you don't need religion for this though right? No? Well let me tell ya, we have very similar communities, though mine doesn't come with all the prayer, the ideology and the crac.kers.

      "In my time of need – I didn't find a government, science fiction/fantasy literature or medical group that helped me. It was a Christian one."
      - Well they probably found you, but potato, potahto. Notice by the way that you became a christian when you were vulnerable and in need. That's my issue in general.

      "For me to deny Jesus Christ would be stupid. I can't deny Jesus."
      - I guess we have different definitions of stupid then ...

      "And you criticize me for being snarky? That seems hipocritical to me!"
      - Criticize? well more like enjoy pointing it out. Also, it's hypocritical...

      "You just told me how secular groups are superior to Christian groups."
      - I did no such thing. That's how you read it, but I can't really dig into your brain and make you better at reading. Wish I could help with that. The only thing I pointed out, again, is the different between a religious org and secular one is the religious org has ulterior motives aside from just helping people. If you're freudian slip automatically jumps to "secular = better" then you might want to tug on that thread a little more and decide if you think have an ulterior motive is wrong when you want to help other folks.

      "By who's standards are you basing this on? Yours? Gods?"
      –Apparently yours, though I do find it strange that after I've mentioned many times that I'm an atheist you still would think I'd base standards off of god like he was real.

      "Hateful ideaology? My pastor encourages me to love others. "Whenever you draw a line between 'us' and 'them', God wants you to love 'them'"."
      - That's nice, but that's not ideaology, the ideology you believe in, Christianity, is also about killing those who don't believe as you do, worship a vengeful (and somehow "loving") god. ignore science in favor of religion and generally have members of the larger group misinterpret your holy book enough to rationalize murdering and hating on large swaths of people.

      Like I pointed out before, if you don't agree with this, read your bible from cover to cover and tell me how all the things god does is somehow "loving". Sure you can pick and choose what you want to follow, but that's not obeying the religion. The ideology of christian has the good and the bad. Sorry to break it to ya.

      "And also she asks me to give without expecting anything in return. She asks me to be different than those motivated by money, approval of others (being told I'm too nice) and fear. God has a better way for me. And you too."
      - First, still not ideology, but whatever. You realize sesame street pretty much says the same thing right? Also, if only god existed, amitrite?

      May 22, 2013 at 5:06 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @OMG Part 2 (so it would seem)

      "Hateful is following around Chad and making snarky comments and saying things that tear him down."
      –Well considering he follows me around, makes snarky comments and comes to this blog more than I do, I think it's pretty even. If you are outraged on Chad's behalf I would reccommend you engage with Chad yourself, he'll probably say you aren't a true christian by the end of it anyways. So good luck with that.

      "You have the hateful ideaology. "
      - I think you need to look up with idealogy means, because I don't know what you're talking about.

      "Brag about how nice you are, how generous you are."
      - If stating facts is bragging, then yeah I guess I can toot my own horn a little bit. Then again you asked what I, as an atheist, do to help people. When I tell you what I do apparently it's bragging.

      "Point your finger down at the dirty Christian how does the same thing you do, but for different and inferior reasons than you. I want no part of your hipocrisy, hate and superiority. I don't want what you have."
      - I wondered when the christian persecution complex would rear its ugly head. There it is! Even when I speak about the charities and not the actual people you still seem to think I'm targeting the person. What a shame.
      Also, Hate? Only towards the religion. Superiority? Well that depends on if you are feeling inferior to me, but hey, I guess pointing out your insecurities will make you feel that way.

      If you don't want what I have (A good life, great friends, stable job, etc...) that's fine. I guess we all want something different.

      Oh, and it's still hypocrisy, not hipocrisy.

      May 22, 2013 at 5:13 pm |
    • OMG

      @ Notice by the way that you became a christian when you were vulnerable and in need. That's my issue in general.

      We can't all be as great as you. We can't all give so genuinely as you. We can't all have people telling us we are 'too nice'.

      Some of us experience failure and hit bottom. We put all our faith in trust in human things, and it failed us.

      Sorry you have an issue with me failing and needing God.

      --

      How come I say "I belong to a group that tries to give without receiving."

      You have to point out that you know of groups that do it better.

      And that we are actually doing it with bad motives.

      I know Christians that do that kind of thing. You are just as bad as them. Nice.

      How can you know that. Guess what: YOU CAN'T KNOW THAT. You don't even know what city or state we are in. You have never met any of us. You are just stereotyping.

      It is not a contest.

      Or maybe it is. And you are winning. Good job. I'm sure God or whatever powers this universe is impressed with your good deeds and your once a week volunteer gig at the soup kitchen.

      May 22, 2013 at 5:29 pm |
    • OMG

      – and you bring up the 'persecution' card (not me).

      I don't feel persecuted by you. You can't persecute me. You have no power over me.

      May 22, 2013 at 5:37 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @OMG

      "We can't all be as great as you. We can't all give so genuinely as you. We can't all have people telling us we are 'too nice'."
      - Your words, not mine, but sure I don't really expect everyone to help out once a week.

      "Some of us experience failure and hit bottom. We put all our faith in trust in human things, and it failed us."
      - and you think I've haven't experienced this because......?

      "Sorry you have an issue with me failing and needing God."
      –Still onl yhave an issue with the religion. I just find it sad that you needed a god to help you out. My sadness for you in no way equals hate, it just means I pity you.

      "How come I say "I belong to a group that tries to give without receiving. You have to point out that you know of groups that do it better."
      -Never said this, if that's what you got out of it, that's not my fault.

      "And that we are actually doing it with bad motives."
      The charity has ulterior motives which I find wrong, do you see the difference here? 1. You, individually might not have an ulterior motive 2. Ulterior does not mean bad 3. I find it wrong, not bad.

      "I know Christians that do that kind of thing. You are just as bad as them. Nice."
      –Considering I'm not doing that, you are only projecting, it sounds like you want me to be the type of person you can dislike. Sorry to disappoint.

      "How can you know that. Guess what: YOU CAN'T KNOW THAT. You don't even know what city or state we are in. You have never met any of us. You are just stereotyping. "
      –What exactly are you referring to?

      "It is not a contest. "
      - I agree, who said it was?

      "Or maybe it is. "
      –Oop, there it is.

      "And you are winning. Good job. I'm sure God or whatever powers this universe is impressed with your good deeds and your once a week volunteer gig at the soup kitchen."
      - Uh, yeah, I'm not looking for people to be impressed by me or give me something in return. I'm doing it more out of a guilty concious. Whatever the reason is, I'm doing it for me and for the needy, not some unknowable third party observer that will give me a pat on the back at some unknown date.

      "and you bring up the 'persecution' card (not me)."
      –And when did I do this? You were the one to say I pointed my finger at the "dirty christian" (your words). Sounds like someone is feeling persecuted here.

      "I don't feel persecuted by you. You can't persecute me. You have no power over me."
      –Well spotted, I'm not trying to persecute you, doesn't stop you from feeling that way, but I can't really help that now can I?

      May 22, 2013 at 5:53 pm |
    • OMG

      Sorry – I get sensitive when people get overcritical of my religion.

      I re-read some things and see you weren't attacking the individuals as much as you were attacking the insti+ution.

      All of the criticism is earned.

      But there are some generally good Christians. With good motives. Just like you.

      Just like there are good Muslims, Jews, Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormons, Catholics, atheists and agnostics. I know this because I have lived, loved and shared a life with them all.

      Nobody (not even secular organizations) have a monopoly on being charitable.

      Peace out!

      May 22, 2013 at 5:56 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @OMG

      Indeed, many good moral people come in all shapes and sizes. That's my point. It would seem the only thing that separates them is their religion and it's enough to cause active dislike between what would normally be two very good people.

      I dislike the insti.tution and I think it's wrong.

      May 22, 2013 at 6:05 pm |
  3. Madtown

    A tornado is not the finger of God squashing us like bugs on a sidewalk. If weather were God’s instrument of justice and tornado victims were singled out to reward the good or punish the bad, then meteorologists would be theologians.
    -----
    Great article. Read and learn, Topher and other knuckleheads here.......

    May 22, 2013 at 10:44 am |
    • Topher

      What was I supposed to learn here?

      May 22, 2013 at 10:46 am |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      It'd be like praising a surgeon on his skills and poor success rate when he uses a chainsaw and a crowbar to operate on a tendon.

      May 22, 2013 at 10:47 am |
    • Tea Party Patriot

      But the tornado is the finger of God, here to punish the gays and illegals in Oklahoma.

      May 22, 2013 at 10:48 am |
    • Madtown

      What was I supposed to learn here?
      ---–
      Care to take back your statement from yesterday, that this tornado was a by-product of "man's sin" and "the fall"? No? Didn't think so. Knucklehead.

      May 22, 2013 at 10:51 am |
    • sam stone

      "god's instrument of justice"? that would imply that god is just.

      May 22, 2013 at 10:51 am |
    • Topher

      And he answered them, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”

      Luke 13:2-5

      May 22, 2013 at 10:52 am |
    • sam stone

      Learn? You?

      That is priceless. Thanks, Gopher

      May 22, 2013 at 10:53 am |
    • Science

      Hey HS........topher too !

      hey faith...............numbers for article below.............Laws of Association..............chadie too

      About 50,100,000 results (0.36 seconds)

      When religious beliefs become evil: 4 signs

      By John Blake, CNN

      http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2013/04/28/when-religious-beliefs-becomes-evil-4-signs/

      May 22, 2013 at 10:56 am |
    • Science

      Topher is that good for the country....................to be associated with evil ..........the red hhor-y thingy ?

      May 22, 2013 at 11:02 am |
    • Topher

      Sooo ... basically none of you have anything to offer.

      May 22, 2013 at 11:03 am |
    • Topher

      What evil?

      May 22, 2013 at 11:04 am |
    • lol??

      Watch out, the A&A's are ripe for causing more suffering with more do-gooder fantasies as their bwains naturally pine away for a kinder and simpler life in the garden.

      May 22, 2013 at 11:04 am |
    • midwest rail

      Yep, there it is – the childish w instead of r – just like faith.....

      May 22, 2013 at 11:05 am |
    • Science

      Still playing in the sand box lol??............topher too ?

      I'm a Dinosaur – Ultrasaurus The Ultra Cool Dinosaur

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WuFT_wGBrIA

      May 22, 2013 at 11:08 am |
    • lol??

      Is my stalker tellin' me I have a copycat?? I guess she's useful fer sumpin'.

      May 22, 2013 at 11:10 am |
    • Doobs

      Gopher doesn't learn. He just memorizes random bible verses and believes whatever he hears from the pulpit. He's like a three year old who can recite the state capitals. It's amusing, but it's meaningless because the child has no understanding of what he's saying. He's just repeating what he's heard to please his parents.

      Learning requires investigation, validation, an open mind, and demands what is real and evident. He can't or won't do that.

      May 22, 2013 at 11:10 am |
    • lol??

      Science is always gud fer anuther Saturday morning cartoon. Must have had those in the garden, too. Or so they fantasize.

      May 22, 2013 at 11:12 am |
    • lol??

      Doobs, you still remember all 57 state capitals??

      May 22, 2013 at 11:15 am |
    • Topher

      Sooo .... nothing. It's OK. Just admit it.

      May 22, 2013 at 11:26 am |
    • Joey

      Matthew 21:22 : "And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith"

      John 14:13: "Whatever you ask in My name, that will l do, so that the Father may be glorified by the Son."

      Those verses say that if you have faith and ask god for something he will give it to you, no matter what it is.

      May 22, 2013 at 11:42 am |
    • Topher

      And?

      May 22, 2013 at 11:45 am |
    • sam stone

      "Gopher doesn't learn. He just memorizes random bible verses and believes whatever he hears from the pulpit"

      Makes him feel all godly.

      May 22, 2013 at 12:16 pm |
    • sam stone

      "Sooo ... basically none of you have anything to offer"

      Like you, Gopher? You are a snivelling toady.

      A coward who runs like a little child when the questions get too tough

      Go ahead, Gopher, quote some more comic book passages.

      May 22, 2013 at 12:24 pm |
    • midwest rail

      Can't be a copycat if it's the same person....

      May 22, 2013 at 1:05 pm |
  4. lol??

    "................Bumper-sticker theology of this type reorders the universe less for the benefit of the grief-stricken and more for the benefit of the person offering it................." Proudly made in America by A&A's for American A&A's. Stealthy business.

    May 22, 2013 at 10:43 am |
  5. Topher

    I agree with the t.itle and I agree those little sayings are annoying. But there's no "good" theology in the rest of the article. If you are facing a horrible situation like what many are going through in Oklahoma, I'd suggest reading the book of James.

    May 22, 2013 at 10:37 am |
    • sam stone

      Wow, a book....that will sure help those who lost their houses and loved ones.

      Spot on, Gopher

      May 22, 2013 at 10:55 am |
    • Roger that

      Here's a little nugget from James. How many times a day does this scripture fail?

      James Chapter 5

      13 Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise.
      14 Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.
      15 And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.
      16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.

      May 22, 2013 at 10:56 am |
    • OMG

      re: How many times a day does this scripture fail?

      Where does it fail?

      May 22, 2013 at 11:06 am |
    • Roger that

      OMG,

      If the Bible is infallible, including the scripture above, then not one Christian should have the need for health insurance or healthcare. Right?

      May 22, 2013 at 11:09 am |
    • LinCA

      @OMG

      You said, "re: How many times a day does this scripture fail?
      Where does it fail?
      "
      Every time prayer fails to cure an illness. Every. Single. Time.

      May 22, 2013 at 11:12 am |
    • Brother Maynard

      OMG sez:
      "Where does it fail?"
      You're kidding right ? I'll prove it ( and you ) fail.
      You're walking down the street, you turn to cross the street. A bus hits you and you have internal injuries. Where do you go?
      To the hospital ? With that nasty pratice of medical SCIENCE?
      or
      To church ? So that 'elders' can anoint you with oil ?

      May 22, 2013 at 11:18 am |
    • Rupert

      @OMG
      Where does it fail?

      Right about here:
      16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.

      May 22, 2013 at 11:28 am |
    • Rupert

      @OMG
      Where does it fail?

      Or here:
      15 And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.

      May 22, 2013 at 11:29 am |
    • OMG

      @ Roger that
      @ If the Bible is infallible, including the scripture above, then not one Christian should have the need for health insurance or healthcare. Right?

      Who said that?

      Where does it say that God promises to heal us, that we won't get sick or die?

      @ LinCA
      @ Every time prayer fails to cure an illness. Every. Single. Time.

      Are you serious? Where does it say that prayer will 100% cure an medical illness?

      @ Brother Maynard
      @ To the hospital ? With that nasty pratice of medical SCIENCE?
      or
      @ To church ? So that 'elders' can anoint you with oil ?

      You don't have exclusive access to SCIENCE. Christians trust in, support, finance and inovate science, too.

      There are doctors, astronauts, chemists and surgeons who happen to be Christian.

      THESE CHRISTIANS ACTUALLY KNOW MORE ABOUT SCIENCE THAT YOU DO!
      – – – – How does that feel? – – – –

      I, along with most people I know, go to a MEDICAL hospital for MEDICAL healing.

      We go to church for SPIRITUAL healing.

      If you came to my church with an illness, we will take you to the hospital.

      DO YOU ACTUALLY BELIEVE THAT ALL RELIGIOUS PEOPLE ARE THAT DUMB?

      Come on!

      May 22, 2013 at 11:32 am |
    • OMG

      @ 15 And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.

      Can you put this context????

      The word “sick” in this verse is “Astheneo.” Sometimes this word denotes a physical illness and sometimes a spiritual one. See, for example, other places where this same word is used and how it is translated:
      1. Acts 20:35 – weak (widows, orphans, infirm)
      2. Romans 4:19 – weak in faith
      3. Romans 8:3 – weak (through the flesh)
      4. Romans 14:1,2 – weak in the faith; weak (immature)
      5. Romans 14:21 – made weak (offended)
      6. 1 Corinthians 8:9-12 – weak (in faith); weak (conscience); weak brother; weak conscience

      READ THIS IN CONTEXT. Look what it says before and after.

      It is not talking about a medical sickness.

      May 22, 2013 at 11:36 am |
    • Joey

      Now in the correct place,

      Matthew 21:22 : "And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith"

      John 14:13: "Whatever you ask in My name, that will l do, so that the Father may be glorified by the Son."

      Those verses say that if you have faith and ask god for something he will give it to you, no matter what it is.

      May 22, 2013 at 11:44 am |
    • Joey

      The fact that religious people go to the doctor doesn't show they are dumb, it shows that they don't really believe what the bible says.

      May 22, 2013 at 11:45 am |
    • OMG

      @ Joey
      @ Those verses say that if you have faith and ask god for something he will give it to you, no matter what it is.

      If you take them out of context and remain ignorant to what it says before and after that, than yes, it seems to say that.

      If you read the meaning and look at the situation. Look at what else Jesus says, you see that God does not give something to you, no matter what it is, because you have faith. If you do that, it actually demonstrates you don't have faith!

      If we could do that, if we just pray or muster up the right amount of faith to get what we want – we would be controlling God – pulling his strings.

      God does not just fullfill our selfish desires. Maybe some gods do, but not Our Heavenly Father.

      His way is better than our way.

      May 22, 2013 at 11:50 am |
    • OYG

      OMG,

      Keep your god to yourself.

      May 22, 2013 at 11:52 am |
    • Joey

      Also, I am sure there are verses that say you won't always get what you pray for which would just be another biblical contradiction to add to the already long list.

      May 22, 2013 at 11:52 am |
    • OMG

      I'm sure you are right.

      No need to investigate or anything.

      May 22, 2013 at 12:08 pm |
    • Joey

      Investigate the bible? I already spent 25 years being brainwashed, I can't handle any more.

      May 22, 2013 at 12:12 pm |
    • OMG

      I'm sorry if you actually were brainwashed. I saw a story about how they brain wash in the middle east, it was horrible stuff.

      I'm new to the faith. I haven't encountered anything like brainwashing.

      May 22, 2013 at 12:17 pm |
    • Joey

      When you take a child and put him in church, and teach them that they are sinners who deserve to be punished for all of eternity unless they believe in god, that is brainwashing. I repeat, if you have a child and take them to Sunday School they are being brainwashed.

      May 22, 2013 at 12:25 pm |
    • OMG

      I'm sorry you have such bad parents. Or went to such a bad church.

      Not all teach this: "they are sinners who deserve to be punished for all of eternity unless they believe in god"

      Sorry for your hurts.

      May 22, 2013 at 1:08 pm |
    • Joey

      Which branch of Christianity doesn't teach that all humans are sinners deserving of hell? That is the whole dam point of the religion. We are all sinners who deserve hell, but luckily for us Jesus died on the cross for our sins, and if we believe in him we can live forever in heaven after we die.

      May 22, 2013 at 1:15 pm |
    • OMG

      The branch that follows Jesus Christ.

      He never said what you are proposing. That brain washing cult pretending to be a church that your parents sent you to was wrong.

      May 22, 2013 at 2:59 pm |
    • Joey

      The brainwashing cult I was taken to by my parents is called the Episcopal Church and they certainly follow Jesus.

      May 22, 2013 at 3:28 pm |
    • OMG

      Have they sold all their possessions and donated the proceeds to the poor?

      Are they still brainwashing people? How did you get unbrainwashed?

      May 22, 2013 at 3:30 pm |
    • OMG

      brainwashing – to effect a radical change in the ideas and beliefs of (a person), esp by methods based on isolation, sleeplessness, hunger, extreme discomfort, pain, and the alternation of kindness and cruelty

      Can you explain how they brainwashed you? Can we prosecute them? Because it is illegal and we need to save the other kids that your parents and friends are abusing.

      We need to stop this evil!

      May 22, 2013 at 3:32 pm |
  6. Heretic

    Jesus sent the tornadoes because the people of OK didnt pray enough. Sounds legit.

    May 22, 2013 at 10:36 am |
    • OMG

      Yea, too bad what Jesus REALLY said is the opposite of that.

      May 22, 2013 at 11:12 am |
    • Like OMG!

      @OMG
      Yea, too bad what Jesus REALLY said is the opposite of that
      ----------------------------

      Can you quote him please? Did he hold a press conference, or was this event prophesied in the bible?

      May 22, 2013 at 11:31 am |
    • Jonathan

      God allows for misfortune to fall on the righteous and the unrighteous alike, for all are guilty of sin and live in an imperfect world tainted by that sin.

      Where was God when this happened? He was watching the storm gather its strength. He was comforting those that called out to him in fear when the cloud touched the ground. He was moving through his people, calling them to respond to the need created by this disaster.

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

    This is all part of God's plan.

    May 22, 2013 at 10:36 am |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      What, to punish Oklahomans for not building storm shelters in elementary schools?

      May 22, 2013 at 10:42 am |
  8. palintwit

    Everyone relax, Sarah Palin has proven there’s no such thing as climate change

    Pack up your temperature sensors, your climate-modeling supercomputers, your tree and ice core sample equipment. Sarah Palin has spoken on climate change, and she says it’s snowing in Alaska, ergo “global warming my gluteus maximus.” And you know it’s science because she used the Latin word for “ass.”

    Palin only ever backs winning horses like John McCain, Bristol and Levi’s marriage, and her own gubernatorial career, so if she says climate science is a non-starter then by god, we’re just going to throw in the towel.

    May 22, 2013 at 10:33 am |
  9. I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

    I thoroughly agree with Rev. Punnett's position that plat!tudes in the face of grief are irresponsible and serve only to benefit those offering the plat!tude.

    As such, I applaud the article.

    However ... the article does not address the reason why people offer the "bad theology".

    There is simply no way to simultaneously synthesize the notions of a loving caring God and an omnipotent God in one ent!ty.

    Logically, you can only construe either a caring (but impotent) God, or a vengeful (or at best indifferent) and omnipotent God.

    May 22, 2013 at 10:26 am |
  10. Dwayne

    Gotta have that pitbull. Gangsta priest is rather appropriate.

    May 22, 2013 at 10:25 am |
    • Brother Maynard

      Hmmm.. that actually looks like a Boston Terrier to me
      🙂

      May 22, 2013 at 10:59 am |
    • Joey

      100% chance that is a Boston Terrier.

      May 22, 2013 at 11:19 am |
  11. Brother Maynard

    "In this view, if God is only giving me what I can handle, then it would seem my boys would be a lot safer if I were weak."

    Wow !!! Read this artical closely believers. This is a huge step to questioning the existance of god
    Actually, if I had just read this with out knowing the author, I would have swore it was written by a non-believer.

    May 22, 2013 at 10:12 am |
  12. Joey

    Is there such a thing as good theology?

    May 22, 2013 at 10:00 am |
    • Bob

      Not really. Only wrong theology.

      May 22, 2013 at 10:24 am |
    • Joey

      Considering you can you the bible to justify just about anything, I don't see how you could have wrong theology either.

      May 22, 2013 at 11:46 am |
  13. Two theological words

    Be kind and compassionate

    May 22, 2013 at 9:55 am |
    • Bob

      The Golden Rule suffices to reach that conclusion. No sky creature invention required.

      May 22, 2013 at 10:23 am |
  14. H Hinson

    Thanks, Ian Punnett. This needed to be said. Folks – "I'm sorry" is all that's needed. You can't improve on that, but you CAN stick your foot in your mouth and cause more hurt.

    May 22, 2013 at 9:39 am |
  15. chill

    There's no denying that some find comfort in a belief in God, especially after something traumatic. Even if you believe the theist is ignorant for his/her belief, why disrespect and trivialize that which brings them comfort?

    May 22, 2013 at 9:32 am |
    • CS2013

      Because the thing that gives them comfort is also responsible for the devastation.

      May 22, 2013 at 10:07 am |
    • LinCA

      @chill

      You said, "Even if you believe the theist is ignorant for his/her belief, why disrespect and trivialize that which brings them comfort?"
      There is no time like the present for education.

      To move forward as a country and to prepare our children for their future, we need to get rid of these silly superstitions. In a world that is more and more reliant on science and technology, we can't afford to have a populace that still believes you can get two of every animal on a boat, or that two people populated the entire world in less than 10,000 years. We can't afford to have large parts of the population believe that the effects of global warming are somehow signs of the end times.

      We need far more people that have a grasp on reality, and far fewer that live in a fairy tale.

      May 22, 2013 at 10:17 am |
    • derp

      Because it is in an atheist's agenda to forcefully remove that comfort. They want you to feel alone, because they too are lonely.

      May 22, 2013 at 10:21 am |
    • LinCA

      @derp

      You said, "Because it is in an atheist's agenda to forcefully remove that comfort."
      No force. No agenda.

      Everyone is free to remain blissfully ignorant, if they wish. They are free to believe in their imaginary friend. Everyone is free to waste their Sundays on chanting and swinging their dicks for their delusion.

      May 22, 2013 at 10:29 am |
    • HeavenSent

      To all the unbelievers,

      2 Thessalonians 2:11

      And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:

      Amen.

      May 22, 2013 at 10:33 am |
    • chill

      @CS2013 Maybe your right, but I don't see how that translates into disrespecting or trivializing the beliefs of someone who believes different than you.

      @LinCA I agree that people should be educated on facts and I agree that it is important for science and technology to be uninterupted in their ambitions, but I can't understand belittling someone for their beliefs. This has nothing to do with whether or not you can fit two of every animal on a boat or that two people populated the earth. We are talking about the beliefs that bring comfort and peace in traumatic times. There is a time and place to argue facts. I never believe it is appropriate to be disrespectful when arguing those truths especially during times of adversity.

      May 22, 2013 at 10:35 am |
    • LinCA

      @chill

      You said, "but I can't understand belittling someone for their beliefs."
      It is these widespread beliefs that are causing this country to fall behind. It is the immediate focus on this fairy tale in the aftermath of a natural event that overshadows all rational discussion. It is the religion based denial of scientific explanations that delays, or prevents, real solution from being sought.

      You said, "This has nothing to do with whether or not you can fit two of every animal on a boat or that two people populated the earth."
      It has everything to do with these delusions.

      You said, "We are talking about the beliefs that bring comfort and peace in traumatic times."
      The comfort that you speak of probably only comes to those that are not affected by any doubt. Those that already question these superstitions may be subjected to far more anxiety because the religious explanations make no sense, whatsoever. By showing how irrational these beliefs are, they may find comfort in knowing that there isn't a god out to punish or get them.

      You said, "There is a time and place to argue facts."
      This, more than any other, is the time for facts. We have to start facing the fact that global warming is very likely causing climate change. Climate change is very likely increasing both the occurrence and severity of storms like this one. The delusional belief that there is some imaginary friend watching over the survivors does nothing but divert attention from real solutions.

      A tragedy like this should be used to point our how silly these beliefs are. It serves as an example of how futile religion is in preventing disasters. The same areas get hit with these tornadoes, no matter how fervently the believers pray. Religion, and the infantile beliefs it is based on, has had its chance to show its mettle. It failed miserably. It is high time to face that fact.

      You said, "I never believe it is appropriate to be disrespectful when arguing those truths especially during times of adversity."
      The Easter Bunny doesn't exist. Pretending that it does, doesn't help anyone. It may be a rude awakening at first, but it will help rationally evaluate the real world. If only we can get past the delusion.

      There will, eventually, be more comfort in knowing that we did what we could to minimize the risk associated with these storms.

      May 22, 2013 at 11:03 am |
    • chill

      For the sake of not repeating what you said I will respond by paragraph of what you wrote.

      1) Hardly. We can both be thankful that the people studying and researching the sciences involved with whatever event aren't saying "God did it" so the research is still there to say that the scientists are doing everything they can to prevent or minimize the risks. The immediate focus on the fairy tale is that it brings comfort not answers. Obama talks about prayers for OK cause it brings comfort to some.

      2) It has nothing to do with these delusions. See I can say the opposite and we both have merely stated an opinion.

      3) agreed

      4)Telling someone who lost a loved one that climate change is causing this is much different than telling them we're praying for you or thinking about you in this time. I don't think I need to explain the difference.

      5)mostly agree

      6) If the Easter bunny brings comfort to those who've experienced something traumatic, however silly, I'm not going to say, "Easter Bunny? you must be delusional, and that Easter Bunny is a D!ck."

      7) That comfort will only go so far. Ask someone with terminal cancer if the "we're doing everything to minimize the risks" is sufficient? For me and you maybe, but for some, there is comfort in what they believe. Why take it away from them?

      May 22, 2013 at 12:22 pm |
    • derp

      @ the derp that used my derp.

      "Because it is in an atheist's agenda to forcefully remove that comfort. They want you to feel alone, because they too are lonely"

      I don't know why you would think atheists are lonely. We have lots of friends. Real friends, not imaginary sky wizard friends.

      May 22, 2013 at 12:28 pm |
    • derp

      @ the derp who think he owns the derp on an anonymous blog

      Oh im sure you have friends but that wasnt what i meant entirely.

      p.s : if you want to own the derp, get a wordpress account.

      May 22, 2013 at 12:55 pm |
  16. rosereads

    Reblogged this on RoseReads and commented:
    Amen.. to this one.

    May 22, 2013 at 9:28 am |
  17. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    This will not keep folks like Pat Robertson or the Westboro Baptist Church from claiming the tornadoes were a result of God's wrath for our transgressions. Just like some whack jobs claimed Hurricane Sandy was an attempt to wipe out the modern Sodom and Gomorrah (NYC).

    May 22, 2013 at 9:25 am |
    • HeavenSent

      Acts 10:34

      Then Peter opened [his] mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons:

      Amen.

      May 22, 2013 at 10:23 am |
    • HeavenSent

      Acts 10:34.666

      Then Peter opened [his] mouth, and said, please jesus deposit your holy load in my facial orifice.

      Amen.

      May 22, 2013 at 12:25 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Tom as phony heavensent is a pervert.

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

      Revelation 22:14 Blessed [are] they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.

      Revelation 22:15 For without [are] dogs, and sorcerers, and w h o r e mongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.

      Amen.

      May 22, 2013 at 12:54 pm |
  18. MSki

    Nice to see someone attempting to bring an adult perspective back on a serious matter.

    May 22, 2013 at 9:19 am |
    • HeavenSent

      +

      Revelation 22:14 Blessed [are] they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.

      Revelation 22:15 For without [are] dogs, and sorcerers, and w h o r e mongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.

      Amen.

      May 22, 2013 at 12:56 pm |
  19. derp

    "Keep bad theology out of Oklahoma"

    s if there were such a thing as good theology.

    May 22, 2013 at 9:04 am |
    • HeavenSent

      derp, it's due to unbelievers that we see Jesus' wrath. The worse and more frequent the disasters, the closer Jesus is to returning.

      May 22, 2013 at 10:28 am |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      What kind of azzhole announces his "triumphant return" by increasing suffering and death? What a petty, vindictive little pr!ck your god is.

      May 22, 2013 at 10:30 am |
    • HeavenSent

      Cptn, it's not the Christians fault that you have it backwards.

      May 22, 2013 at 10:34 am |
    • sam stone

      "it's due to unbelievers that we see Jesus' wrath."

      then jesus is a punk

      May 22, 2013 at 10:36 am |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      It's the christians' fault for judging such an azzhole as "good" and "holy."

      May 22, 2013 at 10:42 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Yes, Sweet Jesus – Meek and Mild, The Lamb of God, The Redeemer, the personification of compassion and sacrifice, is coming to rain down fiery death on all who don't believe in His magic powers.
      Untold devastation shall be unleashed upon the Earth and the heretics, heathens, pagans and atheists will suffer unfathomable torture in this life and the hereafter!

      Smile! God loves you.

      May 22, 2013 at 10:45 am |
    • HeavenSent

      ++

      Revelation 22:14 Blessed [are] they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.

      Revelation 22:15 For without [are] dogs, and sorcerers, and w h o r e mongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.

      Amen.

      May 22, 2013 at 12:57 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Doc Vestibule, only unbelievers worry about Jesus' return. Christians delight in knowing that it will happen soon. End of days is your generation Doc, starting in 1948.

      May 22, 2013 at 9:29 pm |
  20. Science

    Keep it out of the country ?...............Please donate $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ to the storm victims !.......Thanks

    https://www.facebook.com/RichardDawkinsFoundation/posts/10151583537145155

    Peace

    May 22, 2013 at 9:03 am |
    • HeavenSent

      science, is compassion just a word that you don't know how to spell?

      May 22, 2013 at 10:29 am |
    • Science

      Hey HS........you too !

      hey faith...............numbers for article below.............Laws of Association..............chadie too

      About 50,100,000 results (0.36 seconds)

      When religious beliefs become evil: 4 signs

      By John Blake, CNN

      http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2013/04/28/when-religious-beliefs-becomes-evil-4-signs/

      May 22, 2013 at 10:53 am |
    • HeavenSent

      Again science, my mentioning the emotion of compassion hit a flat line.

      May 22, 2013 at 9:19 pm |
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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.