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Where was God in the Philippines?
A flood survivor is surrounded by debris on the Philippine island of Leyte.
November 11th, 2013
11:16 AM ET

Where was God in the Philippines?

By Daniel Burke, CNN Belief Blog Co-editor

[twitter-follow screen_name='BurkeCNN']

(CNN) - The disasters are always different and often devastating. But the questions they raise are hauntingly familiar.

In the days since Super Typhoon Haiyan swept through the Philippines on Thursday, survivors are frantically searching for lost family members and international aid groups are springing into action.

Officials say the death toll may rise to 10,000 in the heavily Catholic country. Meanwhile, many people are asking: How should we make sense of such senseless death and destruction? Was God in the whirlwind itself, as the Bible hints, or present only in the aftermath, as people mobilize to provide food, water and shelter?

These questions may not be new, but we keep asking them, perhaps because the answers remain so elusive.

For many Americans, a paradox sits at the heart of their thinking about natural disasters. According to a survey taken after 2011's earthquake and tsunami in Japan, most Americans (56%) believe that God is control of everything.

But more Americans blame hurricanes, earthquakes and other storms on global warming (58%) than on an angry and punishing deity (38%), according to a 2011 poll by the Public Religion Research Institute.

“These kind of questions about God being in control and there simultaneously being suffering are the kind of things that keep seminarians up at night," institute CEO Robert P. Jones said in 2011.

"They’re thorny theological issues."

READ: Typhoon Haiyan: Survivors in Philippines face grim struggle as death toll rises

The Bible's Psalm 107 says that “For (God) commands, and raises the stormy wind, which lifts up the waves thereof. ... He turns rivers into a wilderness, and the water springs into dry ground."

But, as the poll shows, most Americans have moved past the idea that God causes natural disasters, wrote Stephen Prothero, a frequent CNN contributor, in a 2011 column.

"When it comes to earthquakes and hurricanes, our authorities are geologists and meteorologists," Prothero said as he rode out Hurricane Irene on Cape Cod in Massachusetts. "Most of us interpret these events not through the rumblings of the biblical prophet Jeremiah or the poetry of the Book of Revelation but through the scientific truths of air pressure and tectonic plates."

For atheists, storms like Haiyan are proof that God doesn't exist, author and activist Sam Harris said.

"Either God can do nothing to stop catastrophes like this, or he doesn’t care to, or he doesn’t exist. God is either impotent, evil or imaginary," Harris said after Japan's tsunami. "Take your pick, and choose wisely."

God may or may not be in withering storms, but many religious leaders say they sense a divine presence in the aftermath, as people across the world mobilize to lend a hand.

Rabbi Harold Kushner is one of the most famous names in the realm of theodicy, a branch of theology that tries to explain the unexplainable: why a good God would allow bad things to happen.

After Japan's tsunami, Kushner called nature "an equal-opportunity destroyer," making no distinctions between sinners and saints.

But Kushner, author of the bestselling book "When Bad Things Happen to Good People," said he sees God's hand in the resilience of people whose lives have been destroyed and in the "goodness and generosity" of strangers who donate and pray for the survivors.

READ: How to help victims of Typhoon Haiyan 

That still leaves a tricky question, though: Why do humans suffer, sometimes terribly, in the first place?

There's no good answer, says the Rev. James Martin, a Jesuit priest and best-selling author.

"Each person has to come to grips with that," Martin said. "It’s not as if some magic answer can be found. But the idea of God suffering along with us can be very helpful."

Muslims, on the other hand, see stormy trials as tests from God, said Sayyid Syeed, national director of the Islamic Society of North America’s Office of Interfaith and Community Alliances.

"Muslims believe that God tests those he loves, and these tragedies also serve as a reminder to the rest of us to remain grateful to God for all our blessings and cognizant that we must support those in need," Syeed said.

Vietnamese Buddhist master Thich Nhat Hanh, whose native country remains in Haiyan's path, said such storms remind us that our lives are impermanent and the importance of treasuring each moment.

"This is the best that we can do for those who have died: We can live in such a way that they can feel they are continuing to live in us, more mindfully, more profoundly, more beautifully, tasting every minute of life available to us, for them," Hanh said.

Stephen Prothero, Jessica Ravitz and Eric Marrapodi contributed to this report.

- CNN Religion Editor

Filed under: Asia • Atheism • Belief • Bible • Buddhism • Christianity • Death • Ethics • Faith • God • Islam • Judaism • natural disasters • Philippines • Prayer

soundoff (3,827 Responses)
  1. snowboarder

    god is in the same place all gods always are. the imagination of the believer.

    November 11, 2013 at 6:57 pm |
  2. Dominique Gabriel Banaga

    Why is it that God is giving us disasters like War, Earthquakes, and Typhoons destroying property, and killing people? (This is especially for the Philippines, Zamboanga Siege, 2013 Bohol Earthquake, Typhoon Haiyan)

    The Answer, people are becoming "MATERIALISTIC." People should realize that the only path to true happiness is from the little things in life, not on a material object.

    Nowadays you will see people on TV lining up just for a piece of electronic equipment and sometimes people will kill each other for it. People will boast that they have strong homes, yet when the typhoon came no one is safe.

    God made this disasters because God wants his people to return to him.

    November 11, 2013 at 6:48 pm |
    • George

      Dom, you're joking, right?

      No one can be that stupid, to believe that a supposedly loving god would cause or allow such suffering and grief to happen.

      November 11, 2013 at 6:51 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      If what you say is true, and I actually believe you are full of sh!t, why can't your alleged god find a much better and clearer way to communicate its desires?

      November 11, 2013 at 6:53 pm |
      • Landru

        Exactly. If he can part the waters for Moses, surely he can speak to the masses through a burning bush or a parted cloud with a few rays of sunshine spiking through.

        November 11, 2013 at 7:02 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      "God made this disasters because God wants his people to return to him."

      If a person did bad things to other people in an effort to get those people to love and respect him, how would that person be viewed? That is how I view any god that does the same. You are not helping your cause Dominique.

      November 11, 2013 at 6:56 pm |
      • Sara

        Yeah, that god is either a jerk or incompetent. It might be kind of fun to think of a god with very limited powers trying to send messages through the weather and crop circles. Would probably make a good short story.

        November 11, 2013 at 7:28 pm |
    • snowboarder

      dom, that has to be the stupidest post I have read today. congratulations.

      November 11, 2013 at 6:58 pm |
    • The mullet

      God wants people to return to him? Why doesn't he just ask?

      November 11, 2013 at 7:00 pm |
    • snowboarder

      do dom, what you are saying is that the beating will continue until morale improves! how stupid do you have to be to fall for that illogic?

      November 11, 2013 at 7:05 pm |
    • Sara

      And it didn't occur to God that openning up the sky and dropping down a few billion feather light gold leaflets while curing cancer might be more effective?

      November 11, 2013 at 7:17 pm |
  3. JFCanton

    Proposition: Anyone who believes that disasters disprove God is as self-absorbed as Neil Peart (who is famous for both properties).

    The trip wire with these arguments is that they depend on a notion of omnipotence that is a good deal stricter than most religious faith requires. Most people already accept the existence of free will of some sort, necessarily diminishing the power of a deity to something less than true omnipotence.

    November 11, 2013 at 6:46 pm |
    • George

      but then, if it's not omnipotent, why call it "god"?

      November 11, 2013 at 6:49 pm |
      • Sara

        Historically most gods were not omnipotent. How could a god i n a pantheistic world be?

        November 11, 2013 at 7:18 pm |
      • JFCanton

        Could still be a heck of a lot more powerful than anything else.

        We have to consider all the aspects of what all-powerful (and omniscient) means. The two properties duplicate each other. Why couldn't there be an initially all-powerful god who made binding rules? Supposing we believe in things that are described as miracles, we're not expecting them to happen on command (else they wouldn't be miracles), so they don't have to be actuated in the present.

        November 11, 2013 at 7:35 pm |
    • Observer

      JFCanton,

      It's the USUAL excuses from the believers: words don't mean what we know them to mean. Redefine words.

      "omnipotence: (of a deity) having unlimited power; able to do anything ". Yep, black is white.

      November 11, 2013 at 6:50 pm |
      • Sara

        I believe the point is that the word 'omnipotent' doesn't actually appear in the bible.

        November 11, 2013 at 7:22 pm |
      • JFCanton

        I'm just doing some logical math here. However we wish to define it, there is a limited amount of potency in the universe. If we have any of the potency at all, then our conception of God is not REALLY omnipotent. In the case of natural disasters, which we obviously cannot control ourselves, we might question why a God would permit them; but the problem is similar to the one with people and free will. If a system is to be living, it has to include destruction on *some* scale, and how do we choose the scale beyond which destruction cannot be permitted?

        In any case, the functions that we actually assign to a God... creator, judge, even protector... can be served without being all-powerful. The omnipotence is an anthropomorphized property of a god: an analogy to kings.

        November 11, 2013 at 7:23 pm |
        • Sara

          If you check the OED, the word can me all powerful or ultimately powerful (as with human leaders).

          But if a god chose to allow underlings to play out their natural or "free" actions for entertainment or something that would still leave it all powerf ul as that was a choice of the god who could have done otherwise.

          November 11, 2013 at 7:31 pm |
    • The mullet

      I like Neil Peart. Their last album was excellent!

      November 11, 2013 at 7:02 pm |
    • doobzz

      Who said natural disasters disprove deities? They provide ample evidence for their nonexistence, but not definitive proof.

      With all those believers praying every time something like this happens, you'd think a deity would reach out at some point in history and reverse a storm, have lava flow back uphill, provide medicine, food and water for displaced believers without the middle man, stuff like that. But not even once.

      November 11, 2013 at 7:21 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      How does the weather have "free will"?

      November 11, 2013 at 7:25 pm |
    • R.M. Goodswell

      Not a Rush fan eh? why is this not surprising at all?

      BTW....give more than a minute into pondering the meaning of omnipotence – look up its definition if you have to....

      The God of the bible has the mental stability of a 5 year old child...rage and anger dominates the bible when ever God shows up....Medieval thinking in both literature and concept....

      November 11, 2013 at 7:39 pm |
  4. Susan StoHelit

    This deserves a repeat:
    MG
    Planet Earth is a dynamic and, at times, dangerous place. Life is beautiful and delicate. Intelligent life makes it all more wondrous, as we are able to philosophize. There are many aspects that seem magical – especially the love of family. It is more than magic, however. It is real.

    There is no god. We live on a spectacular planet with a complex web of life that has evolved as a consequence of the conditions in which this occurred. This is phenomenal – far more phenomenal than magic. To invoke a god to explain all of this beauty and complexity is to take the beauty away.

    Nature is spectacular. It is real, it is delicate and it happened all on its own, with no hand of a god. We are part of the web of life and we are lucky to be intelligent enough to have a large frontal cerebrum that allows us to contemplate our conscience in the midst of this amazing world. We are here for a blip of time, as becomes particularly clear during tragedies such as this. While our cells will be recycled into other forms of life as our bodies return to the Earth, we only live once as the individuals we are today. Life is beautiful. Death is, indeed, terrible... but so are lies. Cherish life. Cherish truth. Help your fellow humans during times of need. But free yourself from the controlling lies that have brought you to a state of delusion. When freed from the plague of religion, you will appreciate life even more.

    November 11, 2013 at 6:14 pm |
    • Woody

      This makes more sense and has more "truth" than all of the Bibles, Korans, Torahs and all of the other "sacred" writings combined. Thank you.

      November 11, 2013 at 6:39 pm |
      • George

        What Woody said. X2.

        November 11, 2013 at 6:53 pm |
  5. ME II

    Regardless of God's involvement, or lack thereof, if you can, please help out:
    https://www.redcross.org/donate/index.jsp?donateStep=2&itemId=prod4650031

    November 11, 2013 at 6:13 pm |
    • midwest rail

      Indeed – the best response to tragedy is to give what you can.

      November 11, 2013 at 6:21 pm |
  6. Answer

    Hey believers.. here is the truth about you.

    These are the answers that you have buried in your self.

    =======

    ~ "Why do you get to question my god when you don't believe?" ~

    ~ "You don't get to question me because you don't "get" my god." ~

    ~ "You can't understand my god the way that I do." ~

    ~ "You don't have the right." ~

    ====== Just let me know how much of that is the truth. Have I revealed too much of your own truth that you can't say it properly or disclose them even in a public forum?

    November 11, 2013 at 6:09 pm |
    • Steve

      Not surprisingly, your rant does not even make sense!!!

      November 11, 2013 at 6:52 pm |
  7. withcauses

    A great organization that gives much needed assistance when disaster strikes, is Giving Center. Visit their website to see how you can help the victims in the Philippines.
    http://www.charityboats.org/causes.html

    November 11, 2013 at 6:02 pm |
  8. withcauses

    A great organization that gives much needed assistance when disaster strikes, is Giving Center. Visit their website to see how you can help the victims in the Philippines.
    http://www.charityboats.org/causes.html

    November 11, 2013 at 6:02 pm |
    • Help is needed

      Help is needed

      CURRENT FOCUS: SUPER TYPHOON HAIYAN

      RECIPIENT: CITIZENS' DISASTER RESPONSE CENTER (CDRC)

      http://foundationbeyondbelief.org/crisis

      November 11, 2013 at 6:27 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      I prefer giving via richarddawkins.net.

      November 11, 2013 at 9:45 pm |
  9. Anon

    Ah Christ-insanity the global Stockholm Syndrome.

    November 11, 2013 at 5:59 pm |
  10. SLB

    Psalms 10:4 – "In his haughtiness, the wicked man makes no investigation;
    All his thoughts are: “There is no God.”

    November 11, 2013 at 5:57 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      'the wicked man makes no investigation'

      ....they are just prepared to accept 'god did it' as the answer to everything and to dismiss and science that might declare otherwise.

      November 11, 2013 at 6:00 pm |
      • cedar rapids

        *any science

        November 11, 2013 at 6:01 pm |
    • R.M. Goodswell

      ok -you got me....I give up – ill join the Church......ahhh ......which one again?

      November 11, 2013 at 6:01 pm |
    • Anon

      It's common sense to reach that conclusion since the Abrahamic god is completely mythical.

      November 11, 2013 at 6:01 pm |
    • Answer

      About time.

      Now get more of your favorites and post them up. Put up a whole wall of gibberish to protect yourself further.

      November 11, 2013 at 6:01 pm |
  11. R.M. Goodswell

    C'mon – it isn't that hard.....its Football season....teams to favor and players to bless...its our lookout till Feb.

    Load the planes and ships and give the Big Guy his alone time!

    November 11, 2013 at 5:51 pm |
    • lol??

      And the myth gods will do what??

      November 11, 2013 at 5:58 pm |
  12. lol??

    How do the mythological gods handle such events if they were made to comfort, love, and restore?? The karma folk will rob victims to give them a little extra evolving.

    November 11, 2013 at 5:45 pm |
  13. ayearningsigh

    One suggestion: C.S. Lewis. You could really benefit from some of his writings because he talks about things exactly like this. He explained it beautifully in Mere Christianity which was a series of talks over the radio during WWII when the question of "where is God" laid heavily on these people. Or Peter Kreeft, he goes into this "if bad things happen then God doesn't exist" ideology.
    But I will leave you with this: The earth is in chaos for the same reason humanity is in chaos–The Fall. Anything and everything that God created *so you can just say everything* was affected–death entered the world. OS affected the earth as well as us on a physical level - you can see this in Genesis when Adam and Eve are banished from Eden. It's not that God doesn't exist, this is just WAY to simple of an "answer" but then again so is Atheism as a whole so, hey, what do you expect, right?

    November 11, 2013 at 5:43 pm |
    • Jill

      ayearningsigh, don't obfuscate the primary prenuptials with rasberries. Often, the pertinent cat presents fabled necessities in the parking chamfer. Realize your net precedent. Triangulate! Save the best for the alligators. Ever the bastille notches the orchestra but Wendy is not green and horses will capitulate. Filter out the log from the turnstile and cry prevalently.

      So there brown stare. Feed your inner walnut and resolve. Subject your lemon to the ingenious door in the presence of snow and animals. Aisle 7 is for the monetary cheese whiz. Faced with the kitchen, you may wish to prolong the sailboat in the cliff. Otherwise, rabbits may descend on your left nostril. Think about how you can stripe the sea.

      Regale the storm to those who (6) would thump the parrot with the armband. Corner the market on vestiges of the apparent closure but seek not the evidential circumstance. Therein you can find indignant mountains of pigs and apples. Descend eloquently as you debate the ceiling of your warning fulcrum. Vacate the corncob profusely and and don’t dote on the pancreas.

      Next up, control your wood. Have at the cat with your watch on the fore. Aft! Smarties (12)! Rome wasn’t kevetched in an autumn nightie. (42) See yourself for the turntable on the escalator. Really peruse the garage spider definitely again again with brown. Now we have an apparent congestion, so be it here. Just a moment is not a pod of beef for the ink well nor can it be (4) said that Karen was there in the millpond.

      Garbage out just like the candle in the kitty so. Go, go, go until the vacuum meets the upward vacation. Sell the yellow. Then trim the bus before the ten cheese please Louise. Segregate from the koan and stew the ship vigorously.

      And remember, never pass up an opportunity to watch an elephant paint Mozart.

      November 11, 2013 at 5:46 pm |
      • Akira

        This remains one of the best literary posts of all time.

        November 11, 2013 at 6:02 pm |
        • George

          I have to agree. Jill, you are a Rembrandt among rutabagas, a Shakespeare among caterpillars, a Turing machine among kettles...

          November 11, 2013 at 6:58 pm |
    • ME II

      "...It's not that God doesn't exist, this is just WAY to simple of an "answer" but then again so is Atheism as a whole so, hey, what do you expect, right?"

      Except that it can be that simple. If God does not exist then these disaster make perfect sense. They are random acts of nature, or more specifically, seemingly random fluctuations in normal weather patterns, perhaps exacerbated by global warming.

      November 11, 2013 at 5:51 pm |
    • Madtown

      Christianity is not the "only way", it's the way YOU PREFER. Many of God's human creations in this world have never heard of Jesus.

      November 11, 2013 at 5:51 pm |
      • ayearningsigh

        http://www.peterkreeft.com/topics/suffering.htm

        November 11, 2013 at 6:28 pm |
    • Charm Quark

      a.........h
      The fall happened because god also created a serpent to talk the air head Eve into taking a bite and then got p!ssed because the serpent he created suckered the people he created and that was the fall. That sounds even dumber than most of the other god myths. Lets face it, if Adam and Eve were thinking straight they would not need to be banished, but would have lit on their own just to get away from such an as.shole of a god. Aren't myths fun?

      November 11, 2013 at 5:58 pm |
      • Charm Quark

        lit out

        November 11, 2013 at 6:00 pm |
      • ayearningsigh

        http://www.peterkreeft.com/topics/suffering.htm

        November 11, 2013 at 6:26 pm |
  14. SLB

    "Where was God?" An atheist might say... But why would an atheist ask that question if he doesn't even believe in God?
    Maybe the atheist should think more scientifically, and ask: "what has the humanity done to this planet?" And think about a material solution to the problem.

    November 11, 2013 at 5:40 pm |
    • Answer

      You don't read the various replies that are already on the table.

      You people are just pathetic.

      November 11, 2013 at 5:42 pm |
    • Answer

      Just go ahead you religious freak and post a bible quote already.

      November 11, 2013 at 5:43 pm |
      • Alias

        Aggerssive today, are we?
        Well maybe you should find the wisdom and inner peace the bible can bring.
        Stop there. Don't go so far as to think their god has to exist for that to happen, but the book has a lot of wisdom that you are clearly lacking.

        November 11, 2013 at 5:47 pm |
        • Answer

          I reach inner peace everyday by using my mind. I can explore the world world of thought and be at peace.

          You want me to adopt your pathetic bible .. good luck.

          November 11, 2013 at 5:51 pm |
        • Observer

          Alias,

          Yep. Apparently he lacks the wisdom to believe in unicorns, talking non-humans, dragons and people turning into salt. But, of course, you have that wisdom.

          November 11, 2013 at 5:57 pm |
        • Alias

          You two are sure givinb athiests a bad name today.
          Go home to your mommies.

          November 11, 2013 at 9:58 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      '"Where was God?" An atheist might say... But why would an atheist ask that question if he doesn't even believe in God?'

      because he is asking it of those believers that proclaim an ever loving deity interjects in everyday human affairs.

      November 11, 2013 at 5:53 pm |
      • Answer

        @cedar

        The religious person always thinks that a non-believer has right to offer any questions of their god.

        "Why do you get to question my god when you don't believe?"
        "You don't get to question me because you don't "get" my god."
        "You can't understand my god the way that I do."
        "You don't have the right."

        ~Self defense mechanisms in place to protect the psyche – the god the believer has created in their own mind. The want to protect their precious self delusion. Questioning a believer is the same as rejecting the person who is a believer because their god is really their own self.

        November 11, 2013 at 5:58 pm |
      • Answer

        ~correction

        "has NO right"

        November 11, 2013 at 5:58 pm |
  15. God

    Where were all of you...huh? I'm invisible I have an excuse.

    November 11, 2013 at 5:38 pm |
  16. Phil

    The Bible doesn’t teach that God is behind the natural disasters we see today. God’s judgments as described in the Bible are quite different from natural disasters.

    1-God is selective. The Bible says: “Man sees what appears to the eyes; but as for Jehovah, he sees what the heart is.”—1 Samuel 16:7.

    2-Jehovah reads the hearts of individuals and destroys only those he deems wicked.—Genesis 18:23-32.

    3-God sends warnings first, thereby giving those who listen to him the opportunity to escape.

    Natural disasters, on the other hand, strike with little or no warning, and they kill and maim indiscriminately. To some extent, mankind has made such disasters worse by damaging the natural environment and by building in areas prone to earthquakes, floods, and extreme weather.!!!!

    November 11, 2013 at 5:36 pm |
    • Answer

      Then join your god the next time a known storm is coming.

      November 11, 2013 at 5:39 pm |
    • Bob

      Actually, Phil, within and beyond disasters, your nasty "god" causes and demands killing throughout your book of nasty AKA the bible. Just to cite a few examples of many, apart from your own quote pickings and choosings:

      Numbers 31:17-18
      17 Now kiII all the boys. And kiII every woman who has slept with a man,
      18 but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.

      Deuteronomy 13:6 – “If your brother, your mother’s son or your son or daughter, or the wife you cherish, or your friend who is as your own soul entice you secretly, saying, let us go and serve other gods … you shall surely kill him; your hand shall be first against him to put him to death”

      Revelation 2:23 And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.

      Leviticus 25
      44 “‘Your male and female slaves are to come from the nations around you; from them you may buy slaves.
      45 You may also buy some of the temporary residents living among you and members of their clans born in your country, and they will become your property.
      46 You can bequeath them to your children as inherited property and can make them slaves for life, but you must not rule over your fellow Israelites ruthlessly.

      Note that the bible is also very clear that you should sacrifice and burn an animal today because the smell makes sicko Christian sky fairy happy. No, you don't get to use the parts for food. You burn them, a complete waste of the poor animal.

      Yes, the bible really says that, everyone. Yes, it's in Leviticus, look it up. Yes, Jesus purportedly said that the OT commands still apply. No exceptions. But even if you think the OT was god's mistaken first go around, you have to ask why a perfect, loving enti-ty would ever put such horrid instructions in there. If you think rationally at all, that is.

      And then, if you disagree with my interpretation, ask yourself how it is that your "god" couldn't come up with a better way to communicate than a book that is so readily subject to so many interpretations and to being taken "out of context", and has so many mistakes in it. Pretty pathetic god that you've made for yourself.

      So get out your sacrificial knife or your nasty sky creature will torture you eternally. Or just take a closer look at your foolish supersti-tions, understand that they are just silly, and toss them into the dustbin with all the rest of the gods that man has created.

      Ask the questions. Break the chains. Join the movement.
      Be free of Christianity and other superstitions.
      http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/

      November 11, 2013 at 5:42 pm |
      • Redeemed

        Actually, the only "OT" commands that still apply are the 10 commandments. If you bothered to read those (Exodus 20:3-17), you would notice that none of them include burnt offerings or sacrifices. Jesus came to fulfill all 10 so that we are no longer saved by them or any other ceremonial law, but rather our faith in Him and what He has done for us.

        Also, you would notice that God clearly states that the penalty for sin is death. Before the death and resurrection of Jesus, this blood atonement was necessary for every sin committed by every individual in order to be reconciled with God, hence, the burnt offerings and sacrifices.

        Good news: Jesus paid the price ONCE AND FOR ALL with His blood. By His wounds we are healed!

        November 11, 2013 at 6:06 pm |
        • Observer

          Redeemed,

          SInce Jesus NEVER mentioned gays, there's no reason for Christians to pick on them, right?

          November 11, 2013 at 6:11 pm |
      • james

        bob; you are missing a few points from "The Book", the law applied only until Jesus died and then the law was fulfilled when he was nailed to the stake. Before that I see no problem with his ideas, principles and laws for if the Jews had lived up to them we would have had no need for any of these discussions and to learn what else the Bible really teaches go to jw.org if anyone really cares and their questions are sincere but for the others you may want to go back to see where Phil learned so much accurate knowledge about the God of the Bible even using His Name

        November 11, 2013 at 6:25 pm |
        • Observer

          james,

          Was that the SAME God in both testaments? Is it the SAME "unchanging" God that gave people a LONG list of excuses to kill people?

          November 11, 2013 at 7:06 pm |
      • Wendy

        james and 'Redeemed', as I see it, Bob actually speaks to your OT issues in his post, and very directly, I think. Maybe you should actually read it. I have to agree with Bob here: why EVER put that crazy stuff in there??? There is no excuse for animal sacrifice as the OT demanded it -not now, and not at any time in human history. Also, take a look at the NT stuff in there. It's pretty damning for Christian dogma.

        November 11, 2013 at 7:04 pm |
        • james

          sorry i did not look back sooner but as I said if you are serious about your questions they can all be answered with a free home Bible study with Jehovah's Witnesses when they come to visit or if you have not had the pleasure go to jw.org and you can have a qualified minister, teacher sent to your home to help you learn what the Bible really teaches. Please check it out and keep an open mind and heart to see how all your Bible questions will be answered and make the Word of God make sense, all of it, even the parts that seem unexplainable. I will look back in the A.M. and hope you are serious and sincere.

          November 11, 2013 at 11:22 pm |
        • dillonb1950

          What you really mean is that the JW's have manipulated the questions and scriptures and answers in a way that SEEMS to
          make sense but upon further knowledge and deep reflection actually make no sense at all......now that's what u really mean. Don't be afraid to tell the real truth on here...we can take it.

          November 11, 2013 at 11:27 pm |
        • Over It

          james,
          " a qualified minister, teacher sent to your home to help you learn what the Bible really teaches"

          I know a man (yes, this "minister" must be male) who did that for close to 20 years. He quit when he finally let it sink in that The Bible is a collection of myths, legends, fantasies and superst.itions. I know how they are "qualified". Yes, they do have The Bible practically memorized and can talk a good game, but in the end, my intensely "qualified" "minister" friend discovered that The Bible is nothing regarding evidence for any god or its wishes. It was a sad experience too, since he lost his brainwashed family over it.

          November 11, 2013 at 11:48 pm |
        • james

          sorry to hear about your friend but Matt. 24:13 comes to mind here and minister is just a term for servant and our sisters are really good teachers and ministers. I know how the critics feel and I really feel bad for them for i was as they are but after years of research and attending other religions this is The Only One that can explain the scriptures and show that they do make sense when you get the whole picture and if we are wrong then I will really feel bad for this planet and the population on it but as it is this is the only hope for all or any of us.

          November 12, 2013 at 9:28 am |
      • Mortimer

        Yes, you are correct that Christianity is predicated on the Old Testament. And, sadly, though few realize it, Jesus was among the very first to insist that those who do not believe in God are damned to eternal torment.

        November 12, 2013 at 3:01 am |
    • Madtown

      God’s judgments as described in the Bible
      -----–
      .........are really just man's opinions about what he believes God's judgements to be.

      November 11, 2013 at 5:42 pm |
    • ME II

      It is completely unlike, say, a global flood or city being burned.

      November 11, 2013 at 5:43 pm |
  17. oldbones24

    God told Job that good and bad happens to everyone. I think the words were "it falls where it may." The earth is as it was meant to be and God does not need to control it because it has a life of it's own, just as God does not need to control our every burp. He put us here to care for each other and the earth and he gave us a brain that gives us scientists and technology to predict these disasters. My question is 'why couldn't everyone on that island be evacuated before the storm hit?' Everyone pulling together to do THAT would be God like.

    November 11, 2013 at 5:35 pm |
    • Redeemed

      AMEN!

      November 11, 2013 at 5:40 pm |
    • Get Real

      oldbones,

      Why couldn't they evacuate everyone from the "island"?

      1. The Philippines consists of 7,107 islands.
      2. There is a population of around 98 million.
      3. Technology, as good as it has become, could not predict exactly where in the archipelago the storm would center in on.
      4. How and where do you evacuate 98 million people in a couple of days?

      November 11, 2013 at 5:48 pm |
      • dillonb1950

        hahahahahaha...and REDEEMED says... AMEN to her post......hahahahah...the blind believing in the blind......twits.

        November 11, 2013 at 11:31 pm |
    • Joey

      Evacuate everyone in the Philippines, is that a joke?

      November 12, 2013 at 12:39 pm |
  18. Alias

    One more time, tragedy does not disprove god.
    I am an atheist, and tere are a LOT of good reasons to think the bible is fiction.
    However, natural disasters do not prove anything. If the god of the bible does/did/could exist, then no amount of pain or suffering in this life really matters. What difference does a few decades of joy or pain matter compared to a freakin eternity of bliss or torture?
    Put another way, If we are willing to accept that it is wise to get vacinated against horrible diseases, then we are willing to endure a little pain now to avoid much more pain later. Extrapolate a little from there if you can.
    Or just be your usual selves and acuse me of saying something I didn't and argue against that. Whatever.

    November 11, 2013 at 5:29 pm |
    • Answer

      Tragedy teaches you to be less stupid.

      November 11, 2013 at 5:31 pm |
      • Alias

        Things I Learned Today:
        Large earthquakes make people smarter.

        No wonder California is doing everything so well.

        November 11, 2013 at 5:36 pm |
    • Nathan

      I believe in God, but finally a post that actually makes some sense from one of the naysayers. Tragedy doesn't disprove that God exists (logically this can never be done). It does disprove that a God exists who is omnipotent and 100% committed to ensuring that His people do not suffer, which idea contradicts the scriptures in many, many ways regardless.

      November 11, 2013 at 5:36 pm |
    • Youtube - Neil DeGrasse Tyson rebukes Richard Dawkins

      Natural tragedies prove that the world is not "just right" for life, that it was not "designed." With respect to God, the lack of evidence is the same as that for unicorns, which should equally be ignored. The stories of the Old Testament are nothing more than examples of an immoral and uncaring God, and the numerous revisions of the New Testament through the centuries, where text has been added or deleted as needed, shows that it should be disregarded as well.

      November 11, 2013 at 6:56 pm |
      • lol??

        Your unicorn beliefs don't mean what you think they mean.
        from wiki,
        "..................Unicorns are not found in Greek mythology, but rather in accounts of natural history, for Greek writers of natural history were convinced of the reality of the unicorn, which they located in India, a distant and fabulous realm for them......."

        November 12, 2013 at 3:42 am |
    • Mortimer

      Alias, if your theory is correct, then God just wants to make the innocent suffer before he'll allow them into heaven. Swell. They can look forward to spending eternity with a sadist.

      November 12, 2013 at 3:29 am |
      • Alias

        No, by your logic you would not allow anyone to imunize you or your child because you don't want to suffer.

        November 12, 2013 at 4:59 pm |
  19. Answer

    Here are some of the highlights of your religious beliefs on your god's action in the Philippines:

    1) If a god was behind the storm that was sent to the Philippines .. then it had a purpose to kill you (specifically) because

    (a) you weren't faithful enough
    (b) you held the wrong faith

    2) If your god couldn't protect you then
    (a) it doesn't care
    (b) it doesn't exist
    (c) you want to think of this as "love", a "test"

    The excuses you want to give yourself are always the same.

    ~ "We can not know the mind of god." "He is testing us." "We have sinned." "We aren't faithful enough."

    Do go on enjoying the prison of your own excuses.
    2)

    November 11, 2013 at 5:28 pm |
  20. noillusion

    There is no God, but there is godliness.

    November 11, 2013 at 5:27 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.