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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. Atheist Forever

    For god "so loved the world" that....

    He told everyone they would either worship him (without any evidence) or die a horrendous death and then be tortured for eternity....

    How nice.

    November 12, 2013 at 4:11 pm |
    • Greg

      Hi Atheist Forever,

      I was an atheist for over 40 years.

      Can you make an ant?

      November 12, 2013 at 4:13 pm |
      • LPN

        Give me an earth-like planet, an abiogenisis event, and millions and millions of years and I bet I come up with something pretty close!

        November 12, 2013 at 4:16 pm |
      • baelknight

        I can't make an ant, but I know Cthulu has powerful eye beams.

        November 12, 2013 at 4:16 pm |
      • Hoss

        can people be convinced for stupid reasons......yes

        keep on asking you dumb ant question...i'm sure you'll convince a lot of morons

        November 12, 2013 at 4:16 pm |
      • Seriously?

        Scientists can. Will you claim they are gods? I didn't think so.

        November 12, 2013 at 4:19 pm |
      • Anon

        Fúck your mythological piece of shít desert god.
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6OgAXbyzP5g

        November 12, 2013 at 4:21 pm |
        • Shawn

          It's not that Atheists don't believe in God. They HATE him. Their god is Satan.

          November 12, 2013 at 4:24 pm |
        • Get Real

          Sure, Shawn, just like you HATE Lex Luthor and Gargamel.

          November 12, 2013 at 4:30 pm |
        • Shawn

          What?? You are insane

          November 12, 2013 at 4:33 pm |
        • Anon

          It's like comparing the christian god to Joffrey Baratheon since they're both imaginary and sociopathic pieces of shít.

          November 12, 2013 at 4:40 pm |
      • Jeff

        To Greg:

        Can't make an ant, but evolution can and did.

        November 12, 2013 at 4:21 pm |
      • cm

        LOL.. can you make an ant?.. that is your argument? Awesome.

        November 12, 2013 at 4:23 pm |
      • pg13

        Show some integrity, Greg. Only because you weren't too religious all those years doesn't mean you were an atheist.

        To know how an ant exists, try to pick some books on evolution and try to honestly understand.

        November 12, 2013 at 4:28 pm |
    • Bill B.

      Do you think that people who know a major storm is coming might have a responsibility to move their kids far inland. God did not urge them to stay right near the beach.

      November 12, 2013 at 4:18 pm |
      • Alias

        So it is their fault for being on one ot the smaller islands.
        Right.

        November 12, 2013 at 4:46 pm |
  2. Steve

    God is not responsible for the unfortunately deaths caused by wars or natural disasters. SATAN the devil is. Remember in the Book of Job when he caused a "windstorm" to kill all of Job's ten children. SATAN also motivates wicked humans to do harm to others.

    November 12, 2013 at 4:09 pm |
    • Yo Babby

      Lol, that's funny. Look behind you! A three headed monkey!

      November 12, 2013 at 4:11 pm |
    • Brainwashed christians

      Bullcrap Steve. No such thing as "satan". that is pure mythology and nothing more.

      November 12, 2013 at 4:12 pm |
      • lol??

        The A&A's, experts on mythology, won't quote any of the supposed 1,000s of gods on the topic of typhoons. Have at it.

        November 12, 2013 at 4:18 pm |
    • LPN

      Yes! This for the win!

      I haven't seen the Church Lady in ages! Is Dana Carvey still alive?

      November 12, 2013 at 4:12 pm |
    • saganhill

      You are a gullible person aren't you.

      November 12, 2013 at 4:13 pm |
    • Robert

      All while on a bet with God. Nice to know that God is willing to forgo his infinite love to prove a point.

      November 12, 2013 at 4:14 pm |
    • baelknight

      Satan sure has a bad PR strategy if he's trying to win souls away from GOD by torturing them and setting them on fire and all.

      November 12, 2013 at 4:17 pm |
    • Jeremy

      And the SASQUATCH is responsible for all the missing children in our country. Capitalization is a form of emphasis, but not evidence. What evidence do you have to support your claim, or is my sasquatch claim on equivalent logical grounds?

      November 12, 2013 at 4:23 pm |
    • Jdubba

      You are 100% cuckoo for Coco Puffs if you think that there is some mythical devil that sent the Typhoon to hurt people...and you're even more crazy if you think there is an invisible man in the sky controlling everything. If you can't prove something exists, it doesn't until you can. Heck, at least the dinosaurs unknowingly left remains and skeletons that prove their existence millions of years ago. All we have from your beloved inviso-lord is a bunch of silly self perpetuating stories written by people, that base their entire validity on faith and fear, not fact, science and logic. Oh, I forgot, according to you, the earth and all that we know is only 5,000 years old so we'll call that Quantum silliness from here on out.

      November 12, 2013 at 4:39 pm |
  3. wanalawn

    There is no such thing as god. I know, there will be a ton of excuses on why he didn't help. No matter how many times prayer doesn't work, or children die from disease, or natural disasters happen they always go back to their 'wonderful' god using some logical fallacy.
    As long as you believe their is a creator you must obey, you will never be free.

    November 12, 2013 at 4:09 pm |
  4. mason

    Theology...the study of Nonsense....

    November 12, 2013 at 4:08 pm |
    • lol??

      When you run out of gods you morph into one. It's the default.

      Jhn 10:34 Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods?

      November 12, 2013 at 4:24 pm |
  5. Stephen

    Simple. Nowhere because he doesn't exist.

    November 12, 2013 at 4:07 pm |
  6. ShakeMyHead

    Still boggles my mind that in the year (almost) 2014 we still think tragedies are caused by supernatural fairy tale beings. Thankfully I'm still young enough I may live to see the day where people will HOPEFULLY stop with all this supernatural shenanigans. RIP to the dead of a horrible tragedy, that is unfortunately for us part of what comes from living on this rock.

    November 12, 2013 at 4:06 pm |
    • Fitzroy

      Yup. I hear ya.

      November 12, 2013 at 4:07 pm |
  7. Larry Peterson

    Why are there two versions of Genesis? Joshua made the sun stand still because it doesn't move anyway. Where was God when Eve took the bite? Isn't he omnipresent? And Eve talking to a snake doesn't make you question? The first thing that Adam and Eve noticed were they were naked-since they had no experience with clothes,how did they know? I can go on and on citing biblical contradictions-the most important to me are Why does the bible encourage punishment for imaginary sins-like witchcraft? Why wasn't Adam given dominion over disease? Is it legal to kill someone who works on the Sabbath? Can you stone an errant child to death? Would you people do such things?
    The biggest problem is the existence of evil. Why didn't God stop the planes going into the twin towers? Either God is unaware or incapable of stopping such evil-either way, he is not God. If he can stop evil,but doesn't he is not the God promised in the Bible. If he is powerless to stop evil,he is not omnipotent or ever present. The problem of evil existing in the face of God has been the thorn in theology. It is 2013-hopefully we will evolve enough to ignore primitive thinking!

    November 12, 2013 at 4:05 pm |
  8. justa

    And the thumpers emerge.

    November 12, 2013 at 4:03 pm |
  9. JonathanL

    In this existence we are not special.
    We obey the laws of physics and all other
    laws are bound by these. Nature, existence, is indifferent
    to factors like "who may be where", and whether it is
    being destructive or being calm and gentle.
    The typhoon is a phenomena which is not
    evidential of any sensitivity to a human condition.
    My best advice is to get out of the way of
    dangerous phenomena and do not depend on your
    beliefs and prayers to change the path of a storm
    or a falling rock.

    November 12, 2013 at 4:03 pm |
  10. Sashatree

    IT'S CALLED GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE. GET USED TO IT. THESE SUPER STORMS ARE ONLY GETTING TO GET WORSE. UNLESS WE INTERVENE NOW TO STEM GREENHOUSE GASES AND CO2 EMISSIONS ON A GLOBAL SCALE, WE'RE ALL GOING TO DIE. LISTEN TO SCIENCE - IT'S ALL THAT MATTERS. GOD IS AN IMAGINARY CRUTCH THAT PEOPLE LEAN ON. NOTHING MORE.

    November 12, 2013 at 4:02 pm |
    • Hoss

      post hoc ergo propter hoc
      you need to read the scientific literature on climate change

      November 12, 2013 at 4:04 pm |
    • Atheist Forever

      Yes, god is mythology, true...BUT....

      Who caused the last ice age? Just curious, sense were weren't around then. And does that mean that earth goes through it's own changes regardless of what we do? Have you considered that possibility? Did you know that the level of sea ice is now on the increase? And what exactly do you propose that we do to stop what "we are causing"? Just wondering.

      November 12, 2013 at 4:04 pm |
      • pg13

        Just to clarify a little bit of what you asked.

        Yes, the climate changes were happening on earth since it formed more than 4 billion years ago. The changes have been happening much before humans evolved just a few million years back. Remember that some of those were due to very violent incidents like volcanoes errupting and meteorites striking.

        The question is if the global warming that is supposed to be happening is because of human activity lately (last couple of centuries) or not. That's why it is called Anthropogenic Global Warming to distinguish it from naturally occuring global warming. There seems to be evidence that the climate change in the last couple of centuries, and especially the last 100 years is caused in most part by the human activity (pollution caused by humans.)

        Now your mention of the 'sea ice' is just a red herring. If indeed the ice in the arctic region is breaking off, some chunks are going to be floating around in the ocean, there by increasing the number of ice chunks in the oceans. The increase in 'sea ice' is not because of the seas freezing over; it doesn't happen that way.

        November 12, 2013 at 4:24 pm |
    • lol??

      Oh, ooooh, a Wegodian is panicking. Don'tcha know God is gonna intervene and stop the mass suicide of the socies??

      November 12, 2013 at 4:06 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Watch out for AlGoremageddon!

      November 12, 2013 at 4:06 pm |
  11. Steven Vializ

    I think in our modern age we should be aware of the presence of god, and put the bible to modern use. I dont believe god has any control over storms, or all these mystical senses that we as human perceive him to be. Take a look at the universe, and and learn about it and you'll become true believer of a "god", but we must not blame storms and natural disasters on the presence of a mystical force. Storms are a natural thing, look at other planets in our solar system, they contain storms that are prob 100x worst then what we experience. I still think our world needs a lot of learning to further evolve the idea of a "god". We still perceive him as a a king on a throne who controls storms, deaths, and tragedies which in my eyes is the same as believing in santa clause coming to visit you on xmas to give you presents. the universe has been around for billions of years, we only exist for about such a small part of that timeline.

    November 12, 2013 at 4:02 pm |
  12. Ryan

    Oh, give me a break.

    November 12, 2013 at 3:59 pm |
  13. anna

    Why does God get blamed for everything?

    This was a natural disaster – it has happened before and will happen again.

    Perhaps this is just one way to reduce having too many people. Sad but true.

    November 12, 2013 at 3:59 pm |
    • Hoss

      "Perhaps [natural disasters are] just one way to reduce having too many people. Sad but true." – An Idiot

      November 12, 2013 at 4:02 pm |
    • The Jackdaw

      7 Billion – 1,200....we still round to 7 Billion.

      November 12, 2013 at 4:02 pm |
    • Atheist Forever

      The reason he gets "blamed" is that he is supposed to be omnipotent, and yet allows these things to happen, and so many innocent, especially children to die when he (supposedly) could stop it.

      November 12, 2013 at 4:02 pm |
      • Christian and proud of it!

        You are an IDIOT!!

        November 12, 2013 at 4:07 pm |
        • In Santa we trust

          Why is that idiotic? Explain why an omnipotent god, whom you credit for the good things that happen, is not responsible for the bad things.

          November 12, 2013 at 4:14 pm |
        • Typical Christian

          Because he isn't.

          November 12, 2013 at 4:16 pm |
      • lol??

        They get a resurrection body, too.

        November 12, 2013 at 4:08 pm |
  14. John

    What does GOD have to do with this? This is nature, it just happens. People are always looking for someone else to blame. Somtimes there is no one to point the finger at. To the atheist, why do you folks always knock other human beings for trying to find something to believe in. Spreading negative vibs around, thinking you know smarter than others. Like you know the truth!

    November 12, 2013 at 3:59 pm |
    • Dean

      John, part of the problem is your own claims to know the truth (which are false), plus the fact that you are simply a stupid, tiresome simpleton and ass hole.

      November 12, 2013 at 4:05 pm |
      • Fitzroy

        Harsh. And true.

        November 12, 2013 at 4:07 pm |
    • Hoss

      John
      what you just said is pretty stupid
      you need to learn some critical thinking skills....or in the least, stop quarantining your moronic beliefs from your critical thinking skills

      November 12, 2013 at 4:11 pm |
    • Brainwashed christians

      Because you believers try to force your belief in mythology into public law.

      November 12, 2013 at 4:11 pm |
    • Well Duh

      @John
      "This is nature, it just happens."

      Agree 100%

      "To the atheist, why do you folks always knock other human beings for trying to find something to believe in. Spreading negative vibs around, thinking you know smarter than others. Like you know the truth!"

      I have no problem at all with people trying to find the truth, we should all strive for that. The issue I have with any religion so far, is it's not based on any convincing evidence, only faith, and then they expect our government to follow it; a politician can't even get elected in most cases without believing in Christianity. But hey, believe whatever you want.

      November 12, 2013 at 4:16 pm |
      • Khan

        Well Duh – the problem is that God says He controls the calamities.

        November 22, 2013 at 9:23 am |
  15. Chris Sadler

    When will humans understand that 'god' is a human invention. There is zero evidence that your god exists. Please grow up.

    November 12, 2013 at 3:59 pm |
    • Fitzzy

      True. There is also zero evidence that there are other planets in our little part of the universe that contain life. Does that give a definitive answer to the question of life existing elsewhere? No. Just means there's no evidence of it.

      November 12, 2013 at 4:11 pm |
      • Chris Sadler

        The difference is humans claim to KNOW their version of god exists (non of the other gods of course are real) and they know its mind. Do you see anyone claiming to know life exists and how it that life behaves.

        Now do you see the error in your example?

        November 12, 2013 at 4:18 pm |
        • Fitzzy

          No I don't. The purpose of my example was to say that the lack of evidence doesn't equate to there is no god. There are people everyday that go to court and are exonerated of their charges because of lack of evidence. Does it mean that they didn't commit the crime they were being tried for? No, just that there wasn't enough evidence to convict.

          November 12, 2013 at 4:38 pm |
        • a reasonable atheist

          I think the point that Chris is trying to make is that a lack of evidence makes blind belief/faith, especially in a specific organized religion's claims, nonsensical.

          Using your extra-terrestrial intelligent life analogy, it makes sense to remain open to the idea of the existence of extra-terrestrial life given what we know about the time scales involved in our universe, the sheer number of stars similar to our own, and what we are learning daily regarding the number of earth-like planets in our galaxy. Similarly, it makes sense to acknowledge the possibility that a being that has some of the qualities we commonly associate with gods exists.

          However, it does not make sense, given our current level of knowledge and understanding, to open a Martian Embassy in every nation's capitol, to offer Martian culture & language classes in learning institutions, and to designate a seat on the UN Security Council for Mars. Similarly, while being open to the possibility of an entity(ies) that possess god-like abilities, it makes no sense to follow the tenets of any specific organized religion or any individual religion based on a holy book as there is no evidence supporting the claims made in either.

          Individuals have the right to follow a given religion based on faith, but they have absolutely no right to force those tenets upon others as there is no evidence to the validity of the claims made.

          November 13, 2013 at 1:12 pm |
  16. Fitzzy

    Is it just me or are the religion blog writers at CNN just getting lazy? I think they just recycle their first ever post on the topic "Where was God" with minor tweaks.

    November 12, 2013 at 3:58 pm |
  17. ann

    As far as I can tell after the time of Jesus and his apostles, there does not seem to be any indications or expectations of on earthly punishment by God. Likewise, I think that the earth was put in motion as is with the weather, natural disasters etc. Weather just happens and unfortunately people can be effected. Prayer can avail much per scripture, but that does not mean that it will prevent all bad things. By having free choice to sin or not sin, it very much means that the innocent can and will be effected when others sin (not talking about the weather). It talks in the Bible about trials and tribulations and how to handle yourself when these occur. Therefore it does not seem logical that life on earth would be presumed not to have bad things and events. Job was one in the Bible that lost quite a lot and did not lose his faith in God. Heaven is after we die and is where you get to be with God for eternity. Presumably Hell or whatever you wish to call it is an eternal afterlife without God. Which if you are an atheist would technically be something you want anyway, right?

    November 12, 2013 at 3:57 pm |
  18. Live4Him

    @Doris : Ehrman's video does address this and I believe it does so in a sensible way.

    Then you really don't understand the issue. Why don't you find out the details on a subject before posting.

    @Doris : Because I don't believe we have complete original texts

    That's immaterial. This argument is basically saying that since things decompose, we cannot trust anything that's not original. Yet, nothing we read is 'original'. Did you personally witness the Twin Towers attack? I didn't, but that doesn't lead me to believe that their collapse was not caused by a terrorist attack. Rather, I consider all the evidence – pro and con, before making a decision.

    @Doris : I don't think we should say that we know for certain that something is positively erroneous or positively correct about the original intent

    What if I gave you some text that was 99.9% identical to the original text (guaranteed). Would you advance this same claim against the copy? I wouldn't.

    @Doris : seem to be errors often have come as a result of early methods in copying – human errors that would naturally happen.

    Yes, like word order (Paul the apostle vs. the apostle Paul), tense (he said vs. he spoke), and spelling (honor vs. honour). But, errors that are immaterial in view changing the meaning.

    @Doris : I assume that, with your question, you are not addressing translation issues.

    Correct. Translation errors only occur in the translations, not the orignal language.

    @Doris : Then of course there are things like addition of text for certain versions of the Bible

    Ditto to the above.

    @Doris : It's just one piece of information that allows me to arrive at my disbelief.

    Well, I wonder if all the othre pieces are as unsubstantiated as '200,000 Bible Errors'? Yes, this number of errors are in the copies, but the meaning hasn't changed over the last 2,000 years.

    November 12, 2013 at 3:56 pm |
    • Atheist Forever

      So what are your feelings on other forms of mythology, such as Norse mythology, Greek mythology, etc.? I am personally awaiting the return of Thor, who is my favorite God. I also like Poseidon, but really dig Thor's hammer so I'm sticking with him for now.

      November 12, 2013 at 3:59 pm |
      • Live4Him

        @Atheist Forever : So what are your feelings on other forms of mythology, such as Norse mythology, Greek mythology, etc.?

        Well, I certainly think those are more likely than believing that dino blood cells can survive for 68 million years like evolutionists appear to be claiming. However, I prefer to follow the evidence, which lead to a Biblical belief in Jesus.

        November 12, 2013 at 4:20 pm |
    • bobsmith

      You do realize 666 isn't the sign of the beast right? the ancient texts have a different number.

      Yet how many people believe it is 666 when the real number is going to grab every single one of them by surprise?

      not to mention the bible was written by committee 400 years after jesus died the dead sea scrolls contain books that describe the missing 18 years of the life of jesus. While some may be false who are we to judge, the politicians who "wrote"the bible the first time obviously thought they knew better

      November 12, 2013 at 4:10 pm |
      • Khan

        And that a large part of the Bible is actually stories handed down from generation to generation – mainly by men dreaming of ideal life

        November 26, 2013 at 4:16 pm |
    • Charm Quark

      Lie4Him
      Nobody understands but you, keep the lies going, that is all you have, zero proof of your delusion.

      November 12, 2013 at 4:22 pm |
    • Doris

      @Doris : Ehrman's video does address this and I believe it does so in a sensible way.
      @L4H: Then you really don't understand the issue. Why don't you find out the details on a subject before posting.

      How is it that I don't understand? Tell us some missing details where you find Dr. Ehrman off base.

      @Doris : Because I don't believe we have complete original texts
      @L4H: That's immaterial. This argument is basically saying that since things decompose, we cannot trust anything that's not original...

      Where did I say I didn't trust something solely because something might not be completely original?

      @Doris : I don't think we should say that we know for certain that something is positively erroneous or positively correct about the original intent
      @L4H: What if I gave you some text that was 99.9% identical to the original text (guaranteed). Would you advance this same claim against the copy? I wouldn't.

      Well if you can show that, I would agree that it is most likely without error. Meaning the copy you are showing for the text fragment is the same as what you are claiming is the original. But so what?

      @Doris : seem to be errors often have come as a result of early methods in copying – human errors that would naturally happen.
      @L4H: Yes, like word order (Paul the apostle vs. the apostle Paul), tense (he said vs. he spoke), and spelling (honor vs. honour). But, errors that are immaterial in view changing the meaning.

      Dr. Ehrman points to some questionable word subst-itutions that do seem to change meaning.

      @Doris : It's just one piece of information that allows me to arrive at my disbelief. [copying errors without regard to interpretation]
      @L4H: Well, I wonder if all the othre pieces are as unsubstantiated as '200,000 Bible Errors'? Yes, this number of errors are in the copies, but the meaning hasn't changed over the last 2,000 years.

      Meaning? You can't even say who authored much of the NT, so what value is it that some pieces seem to be copied correctly from much older versions of those pieces?

      Pretty boring question, L4H. Now interpretation of this mish-mash of ancient text- that's much more fun. For that we have to involved the ~40,000 sects.

      November 12, 2013 at 4:26 pm |
      • Doris

        involve

        November 12, 2013 at 4:28 pm |
  19. me

    Hmm, God caused The Flood
    He destroyed Sodom & Gomorrah

    Just maybe he does things to get their attention since they choose to worship idols and false gods? Just being a member of the Catholic church doesn't make you a Christian. That's the problem with Catholicism, people think they are a Christian because they are in the club. Going to church doesn't make you a Christian any more than going to a garage makes you a car

    November 12, 2013 at 3:56 pm |
    • ann

      Is there any record that God did any earthly punishments after the old testament? I don't remember any. A lot of things happened in the old testament that did not in the new testament.

      November 12, 2013 at 4:00 pm |
    • Chris Sadler

      The mind of a theist on display. Not a pretty sight.

      November 12, 2013 at 4:00 pm |
    • Atheist Forever

      So in other words....

      "Love me, or I will cause a horrendous death for you and your family and torture you for eternity after you die."

      Why would anyone WANT to worship such an evil creature if he actually existed? If I ever ran into such a being, I would tell him to suck my d lCK.

      November 12, 2013 at 4:01 pm |
      • Khan

        Athiest – you may be taking an eternal risk !!! Definitely you do not have all the knowledge and so you are saying things based on half knowledge & youthful bravado – this is a dangerous mix. I am sure your thinking will change with time and as you become more wiser.

        November 21, 2013 at 9:51 am |
    • a reasonable atheist

      The no true Scotsman fallacy sure gets a lot of mileage.

      A christian is someone who believes jesus christ was real, and that he was the son of the abrahamic god.

      Anything past that is just inter-sect arguing and wrangling. Accusing catholics or any other sect of not being christian because they choose to worship differently than you do is just silly and dimwitted. You are basing your worship on your interpretation of a ~1600-yr-old book that is riddled with contradiction and outright falsehood. What evidence do you have that your particular interpretation is any more valid than a catholic's?

      November 13, 2013 at 1:26 pm |
    • Khan

      me – so true !!! you have good insight on belief

      November 14, 2013 at 10:28 am |
  20. The Jackdaw

    In today's world, a belief in God is about as useful as a glass hammer.

    November 12, 2013 at 3:56 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.