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Arizona firefighter families: `Is God punishing us?'
Prescott, Arizona, welcomes home a procession of hearses of 19 firefighters after a 100-mile procession, returning the bodies of members of the Granite Mountain Hotshots.
July 9th, 2013
11:40 AM ET

Arizona firefighter families: `Is God punishing us?'

Opinion by John S. Dickerson, special to CNN

Prescott, Arizona (CNN) - If you stood next to one in a grocery store line, you could smell the smoke on his fire pants.

They were known as the Granite Mountain Hotshots, but to us they were sturdy, sweaty, smoke-stained neighbors, fathers, friends, husbands, sons and uncles.

They were the strong shoulders and backs who ran into danger to protect us. Just two weeks ago they ran toward the 200-footl flames of the Doce Fire northwest of Prescott, diverting it away from my neighborhood.

On June 30, while battling a fierce wildfire in Yarnell, 19 of these elite Prescott firefighters died. It was the deadliest day for firefighters since September 11, 2001, and it had a devastating effect on our small community.

I’m a pastor, and like many in Prescott, for me the past week has been a chaotic rush of emotion, effort and helplessness. I’ve focused on helping firefighters’ families from my own congregation and counseling others directly involved. I’m doing my best to help our community grieve and support the surviving families.

I went to my church office in Prescott on July 4 hoping for some quiet. I knew nobody would be there on a holiday afternoon. As I pulled into the empty parking lot, I realized that we hadn’t dropped our flag to half-staff. We’d been too busy trying to pick people up.

I set my briefcase on the concrete and made my way over to the flagpole. It was emotional to feel the raw, weathered rope threading between my hands. I watched the gigantic flag stoop lower and lower, until it found a posture befitting the broken heart of our community.

A kaleidoscope of memories rushed through my mind:

The eerie silence as families, firefighters, police, friends and pastors gathered at Mile High Middle School to learn the names of the 19 who perished.

The police officer who had the unimaginable job of knocking on the door of each young wife and fiancée to tell her that her man didn’t make it.

The lone surviving firefighter, Brendan McDonough, still smelling of smoke, anguished by grief, surrounded in a huddle of compassion in a middle school classroom.

The young wife, Stephanie Turbyfill, who came to me for prayer - moments after learning that her husband, Travis, was among the 19.

Chief Darrell Willis, who climbed the mountain in the dark and spent the night next to the deceased men, protecting them, being with them - demonstrating the undying loyalty of a true firefighter.

Jen Lucas, the wife whose husband would have been with the 19 had he not been hiking the Grand Canyon.

The community gathering of 6,000 Prescott folks, giving the grieving families standing ovations, love, words of affirmation and police escorts to protect them from prying reporters.

The 19 purple balloons we released into the heavens, acknowledging our heroes' departure from this life to the next.

In situations like these, we sometimes wonder, “If there’s a God who is good, then why do tragedies like this happen?”

I wondered that in December, following the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. The thought returned on the night of July 2, when I stood before thousands of Prescott residents, attempting to comfort them .

I locked eyes with the families of the fallen firefighters. The shell-shocked young widows. The middle-aged moms who had cuddled and cared for these heroes as growing boys. The little boys and girls who don’t understand that they will never see their daddies again - at least not in this life.

It’s not comforting to me in moments like these to simply declare, “God is in control.” That might be comforting if you’re a spiritual giant or less touched by tragedy. But when you’re at the very center of the storm, it sure doesn’t feel like God is in control, or even watching.

“At times like this,” I told the families, “we might wonder: Is God mad at me? Did God do this because I did something wrong?” That’s a question some have asked me in private. It’s a question we all ask at some point in our lives. And it’s a question that I can answer for you, just as I did for those grieving in Prescott. “God is not mad at you, and He is not punishing you.”

For those of us who believe in a Creator God, Scripture says that He does not make or perpetrate evil. He is not the author of death, but of life. In the end, he will defeat evil and death. Until then, we live in a world infected with evil. The result is tornadoes, hurricanes and, in Prescott, lightning-ignited wildfires that destroy and kill.

When God saw us agonizing in the fallout of evil, He “so loved the world, that He sent His only son,” Jesus Christ, so that whoever believes in Him will be delivered out of the brokenness of this world.

It was Jesus, walking among us, who said, “Greater love has no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.”

He was referring to his death on the cross for us, but his words declare a universal truth: There is no greater love than to sacrifice your life. The people of Prescott will be forever loyal to these firefighters and their families because they laid down their lives for us.

Hotshot crews are taught to always keep one foot in “the black” (the area that has already burned) and another foot in “the green” (the unburnt forest).

Our community will always have one foot in the “black” of our grief. We will also, in time, have another foot in the “green,” the new life and healing that will follow. We will grieve, and we will rebuild.

John S. Dickerson is senior pastor of Cornerstone Evangelical Free Church in Prescott, Arizona, and author of the book,“The Great Evangelical Recession: 6 Factors that Will Crash the American Church…and How to Prepare.” The opinions expressed in this column are solely those of Dickerson. 

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Arizona • Belief • Christianity • Church • Death • Faith • Opinion • Uncategorized

soundoff (513 Responses)
  1. Cthullu

    "Until then, we live in a world infected with evil. The result is tornadoes, hurricanes....."

    No. Tornadoes and hurricanes and wild fires are not evil. They just ARE. What hubris to infer intent on natural phenomena.

    July 10, 2013 at 9:48 am |
  2. laststonecarver

    The brave knights fought the fire-breathing dragon valiantly –
    But it was too clever, and found their weakness, to their demise –
    Their deeds did not unfold un-noticed –
    Those who fought, aye and those who will continue to fight the dragon –
    Give meaning to the phrase – Home of the Brave –

    July 10, 2013 at 7:13 am |
  3. Cora

    To me it is too bad that this kind pastor should open himself up to a bunch of trolls. We Christians need the protection of the people not open "Ya'all come". We should not be so open about how we feel and we should sure not let just anyone join our congregations. We need to be smart, we need to be shrewd we need to be strong. But then, he probably already knows this. Don't understand what his motive was in opening up to trolls. I will never understand that. But I offer him this comfort: God is able. He will offer supernatural strength to those family members who need it. As for the rest of you...wise up and find somewhere else to ventilate your hate.What are you doing here anyways? What a waste of time.

    July 10, 2013 at 12:42 am |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      So, you either wasted a bunch of time reading through the posts to judge that, according to you, some people are wasting their time, or you're just making a snap judgment without examining the post history. Gotcha.

      July 10, 2013 at 12:46 am |
    • tallulah13

      Yes, Cora, by all means keep your religion to yourself. Keep it out of politics and schools. Keep it out of popular culture. Stop putting signs by the side of the road and please stop the street preachers from yelling at indifferent crowds. Stop trying to insert your religion in places where it isn't relevant. Stop trying to tell non-believers what they should believe. Please, please, please keep your religion to yourself.

      July 10, 2013 at 1:52 am |
    • What nonsense, Cora

      "God is able. He will offer supernatural strength to those family members who need it"

      But not to the firemen themselves or the Chinese girls in the back of the plane. God suddenly is unable.

      July 10, 2013 at 1:56 am |
    • Name*Rick

      "For those of us who believe in a Creator God, Scripture says that He does not make or perpetrate evil."

      From Isaiah 45:7
      "I form the light, and create darkness. I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord do all these things.

      Hmmmm...good stuff

      July 10, 2013 at 7:53 am |
    • Saraswati

      @tallulah, I actually find their signs pretty entertaining. I live in a well educated very secular area and a huge anti-evolution billboard some fools thought would be effective was good for a chuckle on the way to work for months. They use private property for this advertising, so it's really up to them. On the other hand, most of the billboards, regardless of content, are a blight on the aesthetics so as a general rule I'd like to keep advertising in magazines, TV and the internet.

      July 10, 2013 at 7:58 am |
    • arlo

      It's downright criminal that Christians are eagerly trying to convince people of fairytales. The reason tragedies like this happen is because that's how the world works. Things burn including people. There is no invisible intervening superman. He simply does not exist. Once you accept this, the world will make complete sense.

      July 10, 2013 at 8:56 am |
    • Fluffy Kittens and Puppies Are Gosh Darned Adorable

      Cora, god is not able because god does not exist. The bible states that anything you ask for, you will receive. No stipulations. Well, I wonder how many people prayed for a miracle here and god didn't respond. ANYTHING people ask for, eh? Lost your leg in a wood chipper? Ask god for a new one! What? He didn't give you a new one? Well, he works in mysterious ways! Unfortunately, those mysterious ways don't match what the bible says. The bible says ANYTHING you ask for. Not one person who has EVER lost a limb was able to grow a new one through prayer. : )

      Want to have a conversation about being "smart?"

      July 10, 2013 at 10:04 am |
  4. tallulah13

    Those who fight wildfires know better than anyone the dangers they face. This isn't the first, or even the second time that a tragedy like this has occurred. Nature will have its way, whether humans will it or not, and it is a disservice to those brave firefighters to make this a question about faith. No one died because of the wrong prayer, or belief. They died because the wind shifted directions. Sad, but simple as that.

    July 9, 2013 at 11:29 pm |
    • Athy

      You mean god doesn't control the wind? This may come as a shock to the religies.

      July 9, 2013 at 11:36 pm |
  5. Fritz Hohenheim

    The same lame BS you always get from christians when their god is called out. Oh, god works in mysterious ways, there's good to come, in the end they didnt die but get eternal life. BS!
    The answer is much simpler than that: There is no god. What happened to those men was an unfortunate accident. The only thing to mourn here is that those men lost the only life they ever had and will have. Jabbering about eternal life after death isn't doing anybody any good.

    July 9, 2013 at 8:11 pm |
    • ze

      Now after all of that, please explain why you are the subject matter expert on whether or not God exist or not.. and from there expound on why we should listen to you. After that tell us where we came from since you know where we are going, explain the creation of humans, of fire, and everything that came into existence at some point for the fires to even break out that day. I ll be looking forward to your profound insight and wisdom. Since you know so surely God does not exist and that these or some of these men are not in paradise, surely you can answer the aforementioned for me. Thank you.

      Only fools speak about things they do not understand, wise men say I don't know and shut up.

      We can only know from God whether He exist or not. Go to the source oh man, if you never discover Him it doesn't mean the next person wont.

      July 9, 2013 at 9:41 pm |
    • Huebert

      @ze

      "We can only know from God whether He exist or not."

      Did you read that after you typed it? This is the most blatant use of the begging the question fallacy I've ever read.

      July 9, 2013 at 9:46 pm |
    • GreenPlums

      Fritz.....this is a Belief blog. What happened to the men was an unfortunate accident indeed, and God can no more be blamed for this than he can for illness or acts of violence committed by man, however, the pastor provided comfort to those in need, and I imagine he comforted persons of faith, so the "jabbering about eternal life" was.....appropriate.

      July 10, 2013 at 8:00 am |
    • dug

      Ze, As a retired firefighter, I can explain to you the creation of fire. It is called the fire triangle. Heat+Oxygen+Fuel. Take away any one of the three, and no more fire. I guess you would call it a fire square and put a god in there somewhere. Hail Prometheus!

      July 10, 2013 at 11:29 am |
  6. MrHighMighty

    Mr. Dickerson, with all due respect, you yourself are part of the "Great Evangelical Recession" with your watered-down version of Christianity, over-simplified view of the cosmos, and world-centered explanations of God's plan for man and the destruction of sin. Your comparison of these brave firemen to the sacrifice of Christ is damnear blasphemous. Get on your knees in humility, and stop using tragedy to promote yourself and your book. How many in your flock are missing out on the full richness of joy and peace that comes from a unified walk with Christ in spirit and in truth?

    Fires, hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes and other natural violence are not caused by evil, but are an integral part of God's design for Earth as the residence for man and as the stage for solving the problem of Satan's rebellion against Him. These natural events are part of the cycles that actually stabilized this planet and allowed for man to take dominion and develop a civilization that could spread the Gospel of Grace and Faith. And these events are a reminder to man that we remain powerless against forces greater than ourselves. By blaming evil for these natural events, you give undue credit to Satan, and fuel for the false arguments of non-believers who ascribe false attributes to God.

    We are all born in a state of depravity and opposition to God, and those firefighters were no more or less deserving of God's wrath than any of us. But tragic events in this world are nothing compared to the coming judgment and wrath of God that we all face as a result of the fall of Adam. Our time on this Earth is very short, but plenty long enough to accept God's remedy through Christ and turn away from our sinful nature. For those who hear Christ knocking at our door and welcome Him in, we know that God uses pain and suffering and sadness to draw us closer to Him, and tragedies like this fire and even death will fade to absolute nothingness when God's final solution comes to pass.

    Our Sovereign and Holy God is most certainly in control of everything, and if you don't feel God is even watching because "you are in the very center of the storm", your confusion is a sign that your faith needs to be strengthened, and you should be thankful God is showing you your need through this event. Get back to the study of Scripture, pray for understanding, and be the humble leader your church needs.

    July 9, 2013 at 7:45 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      Perfect name you've chosen for yourself. You do realize that your god is just your own opinion, right? Did you just think it was coincidence that your interpretations were always the one that he agrees with over other people's? lol

      July 9, 2013 at 7:48 pm |
    • Hmmmmmmmmmmm

      I find it hilarious that people who are so sure of God cannot even agree if he is in control.

      July 9, 2013 at 7:50 pm |
  7. MrCrewel Dude

    Stupid article, dumb religion man, idiot posters!

    July 9, 2013 at 6:34 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      posters – you, I take it?

      July 9, 2013 at 6:36 pm |
  8. Fluffy Kittens and Puppies Are Gosh Darned Adorable

    Lamb, I have a question for you. A very serious one.

    July 9, 2013 at 6:22 pm |
    • Rollo Tomasi

      The answer will be unreadable and not worth reading.

      July 9, 2013 at 7:45 pm |
    • Fluffy Kittens and Puppies Are Gosh Darned Adorable

      I never actually planned on asking him anything. : )

      July 10, 2013 at 10:08 am |
  9. CommonSensed

    Question for the true believers:

    Did your all-powerful god set the fire that killed the firefighters or did your less-powerful evil bad guy do it?

    Answer for the families of the firefighters: You are in our thoughts and we wish you all the best.

    July 9, 2013 at 6:07 pm |
    • Lionly Lamb

      Hi Com!

      Who is the more stupid, firefighters waging war upon forest fires in the middle of nowhere far from any populated area or their leaders sending them out to the wastelands? I am wondering if someone higher up the ;ladder had a grudge against one of them there firefighters,,,?

      July 9, 2013 at 7:01 pm |
    • Akira

      Blame the victims. Nice.

      July 9, 2013 at 7:10 pm |
    • Lionly Lamb

      Hello Akira,

      I did in no way blame the victims, those firefighters who were stupidly assigned to wage war in a desolate wasteland! I blame their leaders for assigning them to go into a secluded area far from any populated place! Such following of deranged orders shows me yes, how dumb firefighters truly are! They will blindly follower their leaders every command to fight and wage war no matter where and when! Change their tactics and put in fire break lines way beforehand and around the populated areas prior to any potential forest fires flair up in the dry seasons. Where is the honor to be found in waging war against wildfires in the wastelands far from any populated areas?

      July 9, 2013 at 7:25 pm |
    • Hmmmmmmmmmmm

      You finally figured out that they were well away from populated areas, and that your notion of fire-lanes everywhere was idiotic. Now the next clue-in. Know what happens when you ignore a large brush fire that is driven by winds? It gets larger and gets to populated areas. They tried the "let it burn" thing in Yosemite, and it was a major disaster.

      Just admit it: you have no freaking clue what you are talking about.

      July 9, 2013 at 7:49 pm |
    • Ken Margo

      @lion.........................You bring moron to whole new level. You must be a Repub or an azz backward tea partier. Ok expert how long do you let it burn? Suppose it burns enough to head toward an populated area? What about the air quality? What about wildlife? what effect will the fire/smoke have on the ecology system? There might be a home out there? You show a lot of courage from the keyboard.

      July 9, 2013 at 7:50 pm |
    • Akira

      Lionly Lamb, I've read your posts. You are blaming the victims. You are extremely derisive in your take of what firefighters do, and completely dismissive of the risks they take.

      I hope you never have need of their services. After all, you don't need them to show you how "dumb firefighters truly are!"

      You don't have a clue.

      July 9, 2013 at 8:20 pm |
    • ze

      Well actually it may have been human caused, if not combination of natural elements. Is that common sense enough for you? Learn about the religion you want to spout off about before you spout off about it. My dear you have come across so foolish.

      July 9, 2013 at 9:46 pm |
  10. Dyslexic doG

    humans are just one more animal on this planet. Highly evolved I grant you but still just flesh and bone. When we are subjected to too much heat or cold or impact, our bodies cannot continue to function. That's it. Creatures die in their billions on this planet every day and billions more are born. It's nature. No need for a magic sky fairy to be in control of it all. No need for believers in the magic sky fairy to proclaim his power when something good happens and then dodge responsibility when something bad happens. It's just nature.

    As an ex firefighter I feel terrible for the families and friends of these great men. They will live on in our memories, but they have gone. We all go.

    July 9, 2013 at 5:28 pm |
    • Lionly Lamb

      Sired Dyslexic hello there,

      "Magic sky fairy" LoL. Where did you steal that from? Your idol and mentor Dawkins? Or maybe another self-professed person who would rather put the blame on God when the reason suits them and declare God and all of His first born Sons to be merely human fantasies? Your spreading of bull is what makes you out to be a cowardly lion, in that you have no real philosophy to stand upon! Try medications! You'd be surprised what a little blue pill will bring you!

      July 9, 2013 at 5:39 pm |
    • Fluffy Kittens and Puppies Are Gosh Darned Adorable

      One cannot blame that which does not exist, thus negating your argument.

      July 9, 2013 at 5:57 pm |
    • CommonSensed

      @LL: Um, wow, fail. You tell this person to take medication when you're hooked on your opiate of religion to function and deride those who don't use your drug and want to push that drug on everyone else?

      Funny.

      Fail, but funny.

      July 9, 2013 at 6:04 pm |
    • Lionly Lamb

      Help me! I am a duplication of insanities!

      July 9, 2013 at 6:38 pm |
    • Lionly Lamb

      Commonly Sensed,

      You would be shocked as to the percentage of folks taking psychiatric medicines. It's in the millions! Honestly! I am not being a fool and I try as I do with much humbling for I am but a son of a man who finds sanctity within the bedlam ways of wanting to believe in Christ's proverbial teachings and am sometimes awash in my thoughts and made clairvoyant by thoughts of others who seem bitterly opposed to any and all forms of the meekly religious views of Christ Jesus. I try not to use Christ as a bartering chip whenever I am the loner within the wolves of dispassion and sneering coventries.

      July 9, 2013 at 7:15 pm |
    • Akira

      DD, as an ex firefighter, perhaps you can explain to LL how unpredictable fire is in nature and the effect wind has on it. Lionly Lamb seems to think that these firefighters were inept, and deserved to die.

      July 9, 2013 at 7:17 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      @Akira
      thanks for your comment. wildfire fighters roll the dice every time they fight. fire is very unpredictable and no matter how experienced you are, you are always in danger. when a fire builds up enough heat it creates its own wind to drive it. nature at it's most awesome!

      July 9, 2013 at 7:24 pm |
    • Thinker...

      Wait... did lionly just say "all of his firstborn sons"? Does anyone else wonder exactly how that works? Or who the secondborn kids were?

      July 10, 2013 at 9:16 am |
  11. jazzguitarman

    I admit I don't understand this Pastor's POV. While he says it is a good idea in situations like this not to say "God is in control" he clearly believes some type of so called ‘god’ is in control.
    Then he goes on to say ‘“God is not mad at you, and He is not punishing you.” Well if this ‘god’ is in control than why would he allow such things to happen? Since the Pastor cannot answer that question he avoids it. His entire POV is folly.

    July 9, 2013 at 4:53 pm |
    • Lionly Lamb

      Hi Jazzy,

      Pastoral preachers are in this world nowadays as leaning posts for the emotionally disparaged lots whose intelligence ratings are rather low on the IQ pole. While I "fantasize" on Godly "serpitudes", I am not ever so right in my eviscerations of socialized ambiguities. I challenge myself daily to see things differently and I am always learning of new words and trying to use them in many variable ways to keep my mind functional instead of it becoming a wasteland of demented verbal duplications. I am but nowadays a person seeking the words of others in order to be elevated with the raptured aspirations of other folks seeking the same thing I am which is understanding others and in them being understood of my wordage usages.

      July 9, 2013 at 5:57 pm |
  12. bostontola

    "we live in a world infected with evil. The result is tornadoes, hurricanes and, in Prescott, lightning-ignited wildfires that destroy and kill."

    Pastor Dickinson saying this is a symptom of bad religion. Attributing evil to natural disasters is nuts. When a person chooses to do a reprehensible thing, I'm ok calling that evil, but why have people think every bad thing that happens is evil? Was the meteorite that triggered wiped out the dinosaurs evil?

    July 9, 2013 at 4:22 pm |
    • Lionly Lamb

      From Boston to LA,

      The instinctual natures of passive religions who bases evil within naturalisms are yes unworthy of proclaiming godly wraths upon our civilizations' congruencies. We are an obfuscating lot ever being critical of all mannerisms contrary to our human conditionings. Where would mankind be if not for diversities?

      July 9, 2013 at 4:37 pm |
    • Lionly Lamb

      Foppish diarrhetoric oozes from my dirty cave onto the Belief Blog. Feculence! Feculence! I defenestrate myself!

      July 9, 2013 at 4:47 pm |
    • Lionly Lamb

      Lionly Lamb wanna be

      Your trashiness eviscerates your stupidity and is sheer lunacy you dimwitted pole bean!

      July 9, 2013 at 5:12 pm |
    • Lionly Lamb

      Foppish word-farts are my mastrbatory substitute sine flaccidity reigned supreme in my life.

      July 9, 2013 at 5:19 pm |
    • craig

      Our world is has calamity after calamity because of original sin, the earth is suffering from our disobedience, hence terrible things happen, people die, people are injured. Sin is evil , so the calamities are a result of evil, brought on by mankinds disobedience. We all suffer because of it, no one is immune.God does not cause it, it is a direct result of the reap what you sow theory. It does not change the fact that it is a tragedy.

      July 9, 2013 at 5:30 pm |
    • jazzguitarman

      Craig, why do I get the feeling you're blaming the death of these firefighers on gays (e.g. SSM being legal).

      If there is a so called god he is powerless. If he is all powerful he is sick.

      July 9, 2013 at 6:24 pm |
    • Peter

      If one company sends another into bankruptcy, taking all its business, wouldn't this act be seen as either good, or evil depending on which company you're with? All too often, one man's misfortune is another man's fortune, eh?

      July 9, 2013 at 11:50 pm |
  13. Ken Margo

    Why would god punish firefighters? You're kidding right? Firefighting isn't like planting flowers, It's a dangerous job. Unfortunately sh'it happens. Would you feel that way if only two died?

    July 9, 2013 at 4:16 pm |
    • God

      I was drinking all night with Flying Spaghetti Monster, and it seemed a good idea at the time.

      July 9, 2013 at 4:25 pm |
    • Lionly Lamb

      For Firefighters' hierarchies to be "prepared" should they not utilize their technical prowess and know how to figure out just where the potential hotspots for a fire to break out and build a few fire breaks around the potentiality of a forest fire being started? Why build fire breaks after the facts when one could prepare before an inevitability comes to bear?

      July 9, 2013 at 4:27 pm |
    • Lionly Lamb

      Oh god God,

      Don't you know imbibing a drink in an all nighter can produce ill affects on the brain yards by killing off a few brainy cells? LoL

      July 9, 2013 at 4:29 pm |
    • Ooph

      Apparently LaLa has never been out west to see how big the wildlands are, and how absurd it would be to try to fire-break all of them.

      Oh, and there are no trees in that part of Arizona, you idiot. It's the scrub-brush fires that run fastest, especially with wind.

      July 9, 2013 at 4:32 pm |
    • Lionly Lamb

      Hello Ooph,

      The potency averages of fire potentialities along with vital measuring of probable outcomes of fire possibilities could be dampened by creating even a few fire break lines around communities long before such fires become a reality. Instead of all the firefighters all sitting on their butts waiting, they could put their spare time creating and/or establishing fire break lines wherever the potential is worse around probable communities being in the fires way.

      July 9, 2013 at 4:45 pm |
    • Lionly Lamb makes a total fool out of himself

      "all the firefighters all sitting on their butts waiting"

      You have no idea what firefighters do. Seriously

      Oh, and if they are way out in the field somewhere cutting hypothetical fire lines, duh, just how long do you think it will take to get to the fire at your house?

      July 9, 2013 at 4:51 pm |
    • Fluffy Kittens and Puppies Are Gosh Darned Adorable

      I've never read more than five words into a post made by lamb. It isn't worth it.

      July 9, 2013 at 5:01 pm |
    • Lionly Lamb

      You sired myself,

      Hypothetical "jargonating" is what we do best and in MY jargon is a is nothing but possibilities for potential outcomes in a better way to be prepared before a forest fire becomes a reality. With all the manpower that firefighters have, why the hell can't they make preparations beforehand by a simple way in establishing fire break lines around populate areas? These idiots who are in command are nitwits!

      July 9, 2013 at 5:08 pm |
    • Yawn

      That fire wasn't in a populated area. Your idiotic idea would have had no effect on this.

      July 9, 2013 at 5:15 pm |
    • Lionly Lamb

      Hello Yawn

      If the fire wasn't in a populated zone, then what the hell were they fighting it for? I think it's rather lame for forest fighters to put their lives on the line in areas of unpopulated places. Their nitwitted orders to fight fires in desolate areas is plainly a stupid idea!

      July 9, 2013 at 6:06 pm |
    • Akira

      Blame the victims because the fire doubled back due to wind? I cannot think of when I have been more disgusted with a poster/posts. If you have nothing decent to say, Lionly Lamb, say nothing at all.

      My sincerest sympathy to the families of those who perished. I am so sorry for your loss.

      July 9, 2013 at 7:03 pm |
  14. Fluffy Kittens and Puppies Are Gosh Darned Adorable

    Children, you can comment elsewhere on something you actually have the ability to discuss.

    July 9, 2013 at 4:15 pm |
    • Return of Revenge of the Four Cuddly Kittens of the Apocalypse

      Oooooooooo, how dare you blaspheme thusly and verily, yea, and befoul the world with the filthy lie that puppies are adorable! Everyone knows we kittens, even supernatural doom-kitties like us are the ONLY adorable beings in the universe! Even Austin's famous Demon Squish-Kitty is far more adorable than those lowly satanic frolicky puppies with their waggy tails and their licky tongues and that wonderful puppy-breath and . . . NO! I will not succumb to the adorableness of puppies! I won't I won't I won't!

      All tongues will bow! All knees shall confess that Kitties are LORD!

      July 9, 2013 at 4:24 pm |
  15. Tom, Tom, the Other One

    Firefighters die because they put themselves in dangerous and uncertain situations. It is great that there are people willing to do this for our benefit. They will occasionally die. We must see that they are trained and equipped as well as possible, and so make it less risky for them. God (imaginary) does not look out for them.

    July 9, 2013 at 4:08 pm |
    • lol

      nope

      fart

      July 9, 2013 at 4:10 pm |
  16. lol

    i like eggs http://fxcuisine.com/Default.asp?language=2&Display=64&resolution=high

    July 9, 2013 at 4:07 pm |
  17. Fluffy Kittens and Puppies Are Gosh Darned Adorable

    In case you miss this on the previous page.

    fred, it would appear that you have a skewed opinion. You will now be corrected.

    By your own admission, anything in imaginary god's presence is good. The bible states that imaginary god is everywhere. Please reference the following:
    Psalm 139:7-12
    Amos 9:2-3
    Jeremiah 23:23-24
    Genesis 28:15-16
    Deuteronomy 4:39
    Joshua 2:11

    Those scripture clearly outline the impossibility of being outside of imaginary god's presence. Was lucifer, the imaginary angel also in god's presence? How would he turn evil if in the presence of the imaginary god when you state that evil only exists outside of imaginary god's presence? If its presence exists everywhere, then what you claim is not possible.

    Also, you claim that imaginary god did not create evil. You are incorrect. As Colossians 1:16 states, and I quote:

    "For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him."

    Therefore, evil is also a construct of imaginary god. You have made an incorrect assertion based on your opinion which clearly stands outside of the collection of books from which you gather your "information." I would also like to acknowledge that something that I did not address previously. The bible contradicts itself in stating that people have hidden themselves from imaginary god, or that imaginary god was unable to see certain things.

    You may visit the following and educate yourself:

    http://www.rationalchristianity.net/contra0.html

    July 9, 2013 at 4:01 pm |
    • Fluffy Kittens and Puppies Are Gosh Darned Adorable

      You may be confused by the link that I posted. What you will see are examples of the horrendous attempt to rationalize away these kinds of contradictions. You cannot rationalize your own system of belief when it places a noose around its own neck.

      July 9, 2013 at 4:03 pm |
    • lol

      lol @ fred kid need a shrink

      July 9, 2013 at 4:06 pm |
    • lol??

      "...........Therefore, evil is also a construct of imaginary god................"

      Nope. It's choice that many relish, though. They studied at the Frankfurt School of frankfurters.

      July 9, 2013 at 4:13 pm |
  18. bostontola

    My house and neighborhood was saved by fireman. You may not know what it is like to see the entire horizon ablaze at night. My kids were scared and we had to evacuate. When I came back I was amazed to see the burn line so close to homes (not mine). Those firefighters did exactly that, they fought. After that, you feel differently about firefighters. I always liked and respected them, now I am humbled by them. My heart goes out to all the people affected by this tragedy (tears in my eyes).

    July 9, 2013 at 4:00 pm |
  19. Lucifer's Evil Twin

    Nobody gets out of this life alive...

    July 9, 2013 at 3:49 pm |
  20. lol??

    Everybody gets their own resurrection.

    July 9, 2013 at 3:39 pm |
    • lol

      wat

      July 9, 2013 at 4:08 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.