home
RSS
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. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    During the storm, God was where He always is: in our imaginations. Our imaginations could not control Yolanda, but many have to use the God image to handle the storm's aftermath.

    November 13, 2013 at 5:00 am |
  2. Colin

    I for one hope that "Greg"and "devin" hang around. Theya are a huge step up from Topher and Fred. They can at least argue coherently.

    November 13, 2013 at 4:28 am |
    • Charm Quark

      Colin
      I fear that this "Greg" maybe the old Chad under a new handle. Brace yourself for threads that go on at great length.

      November 13, 2013 at 6:15 am |
      • Colin

        We'll know if/when he proposes the "empty tomb" as proof that it is indeed the Judeo-Christian god that created the Universe.....

        November 13, 2013 at 8:55 am |
      • Nah

        Chad never described himself as having been an atheist for 40 or 45 years.

        Greg is a trip though, huh?

        November 13, 2013 at 1:20 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Looks like "Greg" couldn't take the heat and has run away.

      November 13, 2013 at 8:16 pm |
  3. Observer

    https://www.facebook.com/EcoHomies
    God has a plan and that plan is for us to rebuild!

    November 13, 2013 at 3:21 am |
  4. PeterVN

    The great fav blog quote of mine applies again here:

    "Religion is for the ignorant, the gullible, the stupid, and the cowardly, and for those who would profit from them."

    Neither religion nor a god has helped the Philipines in this dire crisis and awful suffering. People are helping people. That's all.

    November 13, 2013 at 1:17 am |
  5. lol??

    Isa 45:9 Woe unto him that striveth with his Maker!............................."

    November 13, 2013 at 12:59 am |
  6. Dina

    When are people going to realize that they are in control of much of what happens on earth and nature is in control of the rest. While we watch global warming happen and those thousands who don't believe it, tragic storms, floods, earthquakes and more are happening under our noses. This is not about god,It is about people taking the responsibility to change what they are dong that is ruining this world.It may actually be too late so the easy way is to blame some god for all of this when it is humans who are at fault. Stop praying and start working to counteract global warming.

    November 13, 2013 at 12:57 am |
    • Youtube - Neil DeGrasse Tyson rebukes Richard Dawson

      Global warming will have a natural decrease mechanism when we start down the oil production curve after having reached "peak oil." Being creatures of comfort, I doubt we'll have the commitment to do anything significant before then, but dropping oil production will bring it's own problems unlike anything modern civilization has faced.

      November 13, 2013 at 6:33 am |
  7. Lori

    ahhh Colin the avid atheist. I do have proof and so have many others before us. But you would first have to get beyond your own ego and be open.

    Hey Colin and the atheists–what is a burning lake of sulphur in Revelations and what does the sea giving up its dead mean??? any thoughts, cmon brilliant atheist, and what is manna? what are the seven mountains all ablaze? Myth

    hardly Colin its all science and I can prove it to anyone who has a bright enough mind-ahhhhhhhhhhh and one without ego and preconceived notions.

    November 13, 2013 at 12:54 am |
    • Lori

      faith, is that me?

      November 13, 2013 at 12:57 am |
    • Roger that

      'I do have proof'

      Good one.

      November 13, 2013 at 1:04 am |
    • Colin

      Well Lori, I would love to see your proof. It will be fascinating , because it will mean two of the greatest questions in history are about to be answered (i) Is there a god – apparently yes; and (ii) which one is it – apparently the Christian god.

      I and the rest of humanity await your proof with great anticipation.

      November 13, 2013 at 3:52 am |
    • saggyroy

      You have this 'proof', and have you won the Nobel prize yet. Seems to me this kind of proof would warrant you sharing with the scientific community.

      November 13, 2013 at 6:04 am |
    • Brainwashed christians

      "my faith is my proof"..... wait for it.

      November 13, 2013 at 8:43 am |
  8. bostontola

    So much irony in Christianity.

    One of the marked differences between man and apes is our higher thinking processes of reason and wisdom. If God gave man this discriminating gift, why does God admonish it? For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. Blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.

    So God gave us reason and capacity for wisdom. This God given gift leads me to conclude that the Christian God doesn't exist in reality. Therefore the principle God given gift that distinguishes me from apes, condemns me to eternal damnation. That is some God you've got.

    November 13, 2013 at 12:13 am |
    • Wellllll

      We're an improvement over apes, but not a perfection. lol

      November 13, 2013 at 3:40 am |
    • The Truth

      7 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened." Matthew 7: 7-8

      November 13, 2013 at 5:26 am |
      • Youtube - Neil DeGrasse Tyson rebukes Richard Dawson

        Well, then, I'm asking, where is it?

        November 13, 2013 at 7:52 am |
  9. Commenter

    It's nearly impossible to find the new replies. I give up. Maybe some other time...

    November 13, 2013 at 12:06 am |
  10. lol??

    "Nance sayz,
    If you don't know when an animal is suffering, you are either blind or lack empathy. On your case, I'd vote for the latter."
    What's yer take on this?? Your professional interpretation is needed.

    Distress in Animals: Is it Fear, Pain or Physical Stress?

    Temple Grandin and Mark Deesing
    Department of Animal Science
    Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado
    80523-1171, USA
    American Board of Veterinary Practi*tioners – Symposium 2002
    May 17, 2002, Manhattan Beach, California
    Special Session
    Pain, Stress, Distress and Fear
    Emerging Concepts and Strategies in Veterinary Medicine

    (Updated September 2003)

    http://www.grandin.com/welfare/fear.pain.stress.html

    November 12, 2013 at 11:58 pm |
    • midwest rail

      lol?? the super-twit shoots himself in the foot, and then reloads. Repeatedly. I guess there's at least one animal that enjoys pain.

      November 13, 2013 at 5:58 am |
      • lol??

        Is the super-rail prepared for the super-earthquake??

        November 13, 2013 at 8:40 am |
  11. Name*bell

    Please read James chapter 1. verse 13 &14

    November 12, 2013 at 11:58 pm |
    • It was in the reign of George III that the aforesaid personages lived and quarreled; good or bad, handsome or ugly, rich or poor, they are all equal now.

      I'd rather not.

      November 13, 2013 at 12:02 am |
      • lol??

        You asked who Dave was but not Billy.

        November 13, 2013 at 12:51 am |
        • pip

          My guess is that your "Billy" is William Tell - another heroic LEGEND.

          November 13, 2013 at 11:37 am |
        • lol??

          Nope, just another kid and a gud slinger, too. Billy da Kid!! He actually tried to help the poor Mexicans against the eastern rich bankers. Like Jesse, not the Fed. In the olden days Jesse was the father of Dave.

          November 13, 2013 at 11:56 am |
    • Observer

      Name*bell,

      Too much trouble for you to quote important parts or summarize?

      November 13, 2013 at 12:17 am |
    • Cow*bell

      Read 'Letter to a Christian Nation" – Sam Harris

      November 13, 2013 at 2:25 am |
      • Youtube - Neil DeGrasse Tyson rebukes Richard Dawson

        Listen to the Youtube video, "The Perimeter of Ignorance," by astrophysicist Dr. Neil DeGrasse Tyson.

        November 13, 2013 at 8:00 am |
    • Brainwashed christians

      Please read "God Is Not Great" by Christopher Hitchens

      November 13, 2013 at 8:47 am |
    • James

      Name*bell
      So, who do you think is being tempted by their own evil desires?

      November 13, 2013 at 9:30 am |
  12. warrior

    Wow what blasphemy! God is in control of everything even those horrible disasters...sin abounds the sings are here the coming of our word Jesus Christ is at hand! I pray for all my brothers and sisters in the Philippines may god grant them mercy and grace! Idk why the human races demands so much of the lord as far as protecting them but they don't listen and repent from their sin and I'm sorry but truth is that catholic religion and worship of saints and Mary is idolatry and forbidden of god repent....praise the lord and worship the lord Christ Jesus to glory of the father god!

    November 12, 2013 at 11:00 pm |
    • Observer

      warrior,

      WAKE UP! What sins did the chldren and babies commit? Get real.

      November 12, 2013 at 11:04 pm |
    • It was in the reign of George III that the aforesaid personages lived and quarreled; good or bad, handsome or ugly, rich or poor, they are all equal now.

      I'd prefer to just drink beer and eat hotdogs.

      November 12, 2013 at 11:05 pm |
    • Youtube - Neil DeGrasse Tyson rebukes Richard Dawson

      You'll have to explain to me what "sins" the infants and children committed to deserve this. By the Old Testament, God had the ability to select whom he was going to murder in Egypt (the first born) to free the Je wish People – why could he not have done the same here and spared the innocent if he was punishing sinners?

      November 12, 2013 at 11:38 pm |
      • Reality # 2

        This might help clear the confusion:

        origin: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F20E1EFE35540C7A8CDDAA0894DA404482 NY Times review and important enough to reiterate.

        New Torah For Modern Minds

        “Abraham, the Jewish patriarch, probably never existed. Nor did Moses. (prob•a•bly
        Adverb: Almost certainly; as far as one knows or can tell).

        The entire Exodus story as recounted in the Bible probably never occurred. The same is true of the tumbling of the walls of Jericho. And David, far from being the fearless king who built Jerusalem into a mighty capital, was more likely a provincial leader whose reputation was later magnified to provide a rallying point for a fledgling nation.

        Such startling propositions - the product of findings by archaeologists digging in Israel and its environs over the last 25 years - have gained wide acceptance among non-Orthodox rabbis. But there has been no attempt to disseminate these ideas or to discuss them with the laity - until now.

        The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, which represents the 1.5 million Conservative Jews in the United States, has just issued a new Torah and commentary, the first for Conservatives in more than 60 years. Called "Etz Hayim" ("Tree of Life" in Hebrew), it offers an interpretation that incorporates the latest findings from archaeology, philology, anthropology and the study of ancient cultures. To the editors who worked on the book, it represents one of the boldest efforts ever to introduce into the religious mainstream a view of the Bible as a human rather than divine doc-ument.

        The notion that the Bible is not literally true "is more or less settled and understood among most Conservative rabbis," observed David Wolpe, a rabbi at Sinai Temple in Los Angeles and a contributor to "Etz Hayim." But some congregants, he said, "may not like the stark airing of it." Last Passover, in a sermon to 2,200 congregants at his synagogue, Rabbi Wolpe frankly said that "virtually every modern archaeologist" agrees "that the way the Bible describes the Exodus is not the way that it happened, if it happened at all." The rabbi offered what he called a "LITANY OF DISILLUSION”' about the narrative, including contradictions, improbabilities, chronological lapses and the absence of corroborating evidence. In fact, he said, archaeologists digging in the Sinai have "found no trace of the tribes of Israel - not one shard of pottery."

        November 12, 2013 at 11:46 pm |
        • Youtube - Neil DeGrasse Tyson rebukes Richard Dawson

          Yeah, I know, but they believe it is true, so you have to speak to them in terms they know.

          November 13, 2013 at 12:02 am |
    • AverageJoe76

      I wonder what religion the Sandy Hook victims were? I wonder how many people believe there was some divine meaning to their demise because of how the young people lived their lives to that point?

      November 13, 2013 at 10:50 am |
  13. 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 12, 2013 at 10:51 pm |
    • It was in the reign of George III that the aforesaid personages lived and quarreled; good or bad, handsome or ugly, rich or poor, they are all equal now.

      Um, isn't the point of an omnipotent, omniscient god that he is responsible for everything?

      November 12, 2013 at 10:55 pm |
      • Phil

        God allows that evil or natural disasters continue, but doesnt cause it. if he allows there are good reasons why he allows it!

        November 12, 2013 at 10:58 pm |
        • It was in the reign of George III that the aforesaid personages lived and quarreled; good or bad, handsome or ugly, rich or poor, they are all equal now.

          Such as?

          November 12, 2013 at 11:00 pm |
        • Tom, Tom, the Other One

          Isaiah 45:7

          I form the light and create darkness,
          I bring prosperity and create disaster;
          I, the Lord, do all these things.

          November 12, 2013 at 11:03 pm |
        • devin

          Tom

          As much as it pains me to say this, you have stumbled upon the correct theology in this matter.

          November 12, 2013 at 11:08 pm |
        • Commenter

          Phil,

          It sounds like you've got a "Teflon Don" for yourself there.

          November 12, 2013 at 11:09 pm |
        • Phil

          One main reason:

          To find out why God allows suffering, we need to think back to the time when suffering began. When Satan led Adam and Eve into disobeying Jehovah, an important question was raised. Satan did not call into question Jehovah’s power. Even Satan knows that there is no limit to Jehovah’s power. Rather, Satan questioned Jehovah’s right to rule. By calling God a liar who withholds good from his subjects, Satan charged that Jehovah is a bad ruler. (Genesis 3:2-5) Satan implied that mankind would be better off without God’s rulership. This was an attack on Jehovah’s sovereignty, his right to rule. So God gave Satan and human a chance to show what they are able to do without intervening in there affairs!

          November 12, 2013 at 11:11 pm |
        • .

          devin,

          so tonight you agree your god is complicit...good for you.

          November 12, 2013 at 11:13 pm |
        • Observer

          Phil,

          Yep. God created Satan before he created man. That tells you a LOT about God.

          November 12, 2013 at 11:14 pm |
        • It was in the reign of George III that the aforesaid personages lived and quarreled; good or bad, handsome or ugly, rich or poor, they are all equal now.

          Jesus H Christ, do people genuinely believe this stuff?

          November 12, 2013 at 11:17 pm |
        • Phil

          It was in the reign... – You dont need to believe in what i said, im just replaying because you asked...

          November 12, 2013 at 11:21 pm |
        • devin

          To: LURKING IN THE SHADOWS,

          Complicit: " Involved with others in illegal activity or wrong doing." As stated previously, " God is never complicit."

          November 12, 2013 at 11:21 pm |
        • Tom, Tom, the Other One

          I gather that the basis of sin is in these statements, Phil:

          “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

          "I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.”

          November 12, 2013 at 11:23 pm |
        • Phil

          Observer – Satan was a regular angel that rebelled...that shows you that God created every intelligent creature with free will...like me and you! Though the bible warns: Galatians 6:7 "For whatever a person is sowing, this he will also reap"

          November 12, 2013 at 11:26 pm |
        • It was in the reign of George III that the aforesaid personages lived and quarreled; good or bad, handsome or ugly, rich or poor, they are all equal now.

          Fair enough Phil. Still though, it's all incredibly weird.

          November 12, 2013 at 11:26 pm |
        • Observer

          devin,

          lol. So ALLOWING a typhoon to KILL 10,000 PEOPLE isn't "doing wrong".

          lol. Get serious. Do you have any morals?

          November 12, 2013 at 11:28 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          devin,

          It was me, didn't mean to post without my tag. I know you say god isn't complicit, I just haven't heard you explain why he shouldn't be viewed that way.

          November 12, 2013 at 11:31 pm |
        • Observer

          Phil,

          "that shows you that God created every intelligent creature with free will...like me and you!"

          Nope. There was NO free will for EVERY child, baby and fetus on the face of the earth that God DROWNED.

          November 12, 2013 at 11:31 pm |
        • Phil

          It was reign.. – Though, the bible teaches that we are living in a special time...since the world events show that God is about to end satanic a human rulership, to replace it with his, for the sake of all of us!

          November 12, 2013 at 11:31 pm |
        • Phil

          It was reign – Under Gods rulership all the angels and humans will realize the mistake it was to rebel against God...all of us will remember the dark 6000 years of satanic and human rulership...no one will ever want to go back and make the same mistakes!

          November 12, 2013 at 11:34 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          Phil,

          I wasn't there for the Adam and Eve thing, I had nothing to do with it so your god should really get over it.

          November 12, 2013 at 11:39 pm |
        • It was in the reign of George III that the aforesaid personages lived and quarreled; good or bad, handsome or ugly, rich or poor, they are all equal now.

          Sounds like a celestial North Korea.

          November 12, 2013 at 11:39 pm |
        • Observer

          Phil

          "...since the world events show that God is about to end satanic a human rulership, to replace it with his, for the sake of all of us!"

          "News" from THOUSANDS of years ago. Nothing new.

          November 12, 2013 at 11:45 pm |
        • devin

          Hey Cheese

          Thought I had a secret admirer there for a second.

          It really comes down to our presuppositions. You presuppose that there is no God and that if there were one, he/she/it should act and perform according to your standard of right and wrong. On the other hand, I presuppose that there is a creator God who has revealed information about Himself to us. He has indicated that He alone is the embodiment of pure love and justice combined. He not only always does what is right and true, He establishes what is right and true. It is much more complex than this, but in a nutshell this is why when chaos breaks out in this toxic wasteland of a world we now live in , I can say that God is always good.

          I realize this is foolishness to you on many levels, but hope this helps.

          November 12, 2013 at 11:45 pm |
        • It was in the reign of George III that the aforesaid personages lived and quarreled; good or bad, handsome or ugly, rich or poor, they are all equal now.

          'Foolishness'

          Now you're talking.

          November 12, 2013 at 11:48 pm |
        • Observer

          devin,

          "He establishes what is right and true. I can say that God is always good."

          Read how MONSTROUSLY HEARTLESS God was in the Job story and then you might come back to reality. Please actually read a Bible so you'll know what it says.

          November 12, 2013 at 11:49 pm |
        • devin

          Observer,

          I almost choked on my croissant when I read that line from YOU stating, " Do you have any morals" Now that there was funny.

          As for the deaths in the Philppines, or even better, the quarter of a million people who died in the 2004 Indonesian tsunami, does that fact prove or disprove the existence of God? Is it out of the realm of possibilities that there is a loving God who is infinitely more intelligent than ourselves and therefore may work His will in a way which we cannot comprehend? Is this even a possibility from your perspective?

          November 12, 2013 at 11:58 pm |
        • Observer

          devin,

          Apparently you have good Christian morals which mean that ALLOWING the deaths of 10,000 people is not "doing wrong".

          We just have a difference of morals. I don't have your Christian morals like that and I'm proud of that.

          November 13, 2013 at 12:02 am |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          devin,

          First I do not presuppose that there is no god. I do not find any valid reason to believe there is one. That is a fine, but large difference.

          Second you say "and that if there were one, he/she/it should act and perform according to your standard of right and wrong". What other standard am I suppose to use? If I follow what the Bible says about right and wrong, all kinds of things that I find abhorrant are in some cases permissable to your god. I can reject Bible morality out of hand. So therefore just because your god claims to be the origin and source of right and wrong I have no reason to think he is telling the truth, and you have given no argument for why I should. You seem to be arguing for "divine command theory" which is not a way to determine right or wrong, it is a way to obedience.

          November 13, 2013 at 12:04 am |
        • devin

          Observer

          I state the following without a trace of arrogance or superiority: I dare say I have a far greater knowledge of biblical literature, both in the English translations and the original languages, than yourself. Perhaps I'm wrong, but I'm guessing it's highly unlikely.

          November 13, 2013 at 12:05 am |
        • Observer

          devin,

          Impressive but irrelevent. We are talking about your morals and your morals are such that ALLOWING the horrible deaths of 10,000 people is not considered "doing wrong". I don't agree with your Christian morals.

          November 13, 2013 at 12:13 am |
        • devin

          Cheese

          I will not pretend that there are not concepts in the Bible, specifically the Old Testament, that I find troublesome from my human perspective. Truth be known, I am by nature a very cynical and skeptical individual, especially in the areas of philosophy and theology. I wish I could provide you the answers you seek to some of these more difficult implications, but any attempt to do so on my part would be disingenuous. My faith lies in the acceptance of a sovereign God who "works all things after the counsel of His own will". I simply concur with the Apostle Paul when writes, " Who has known the mind of the Lord and who has become his instructor" It's sufficient for me.

          November 13, 2013 at 12:22 am |
        • devin

          Observer

          "Please actually read a bible so you will know what it says." It's relevant to that.

          November 13, 2013 at 12:25 am |
        • tallulah13

          I find it repulsive that an adult would abdicate their responsibility to continue to learn from their experiences and instead just kowtow to a god that can't even be proven to exist. It seems like an act of extreme cowardice.

          I am glad that there are people willing to question the bronze age bully that some people call god. What a horrible unjust world we would live in if not for people willing to stand up and say "This isn't right."

          November 13, 2013 at 12:29 am |
        • devin

          Tal

          Sorry for your repulsetivity. I'm sure you'll recover.

          November 13, 2013 at 12:32 am |
        • Observer

          devin,

          So if you have read a Bible, how did you read the MONSTROUSLY HEARTLESS things God did in the Job story and be ignorant enough to claim "God is always good"?

          The story of Job is one that EVERY Christian should be ASHAMED of for being in the Bible and humiliated that God could be so terrible.

          November 13, 2013 at 12:34 am |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          devin you said,

          "My faith lies in the acceptance of a sovereign God who "works all things after the counsel of His own will".

          So what it comes down to is you have "faith" he is telling the truth. I don't find that "faith" is dependable to determine anything. It is a crutch one uses. It is not a way to answer anything, it is a way to avoid the question. And you did not answer my question of what standard I should use to determine right and wrong.

          November 13, 2013 at 12:40 am |
        • tallulah13

          Devin, I will continue to be repulsed for as long as cowards like you keep praising your bully monster god.

          November 13, 2013 at 12:44 am |
        • devin

          " I don't find that faith is dependable to determine anything at all" And herein lies the heart of our variance. I do. We could banter 24/7 about whether or not God exists, is HE omnipotent or helpless, did Adam have a naval, yadayadayada. It would be nothing but circular. It really does come down to faith. Not trying to get all biblical on you here, but I find the definition of faith in the book of Hebrews fascinating. The writer says, " Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." This is why we will never come to a place of agreement, I do not reject the element of faith, in fact it is the cornerstone of my ideology. Something else, now hold on to your hat because if you thought I was half crazy before you'll think I'm 100% after this. I believe in what is called Reformed Theology ( actually it's just biblical theology) which teaches that faith is a gift from God, and that the reason an individual like yourself does not believe, is due to the fact that God has not opened your eyes and given you that gift of faith. Ultimately, this is why we disagree. I will prepare for incoming.

          November 13, 2013 at 1:04 am |
        • HotAirAce

          Faith: Pretending to know things you don't:

          http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=qp4WUFXvCFQ&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3Dqp4WUFXvCFQ

          November 13, 2013 at 1:12 am |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          If I were to accept faith is a way to determining what is actually true I would personally be at an impass. Which version of god should I accept and why? What standard do I use? Do I just continue to appeal to faith? Using faith could actually lead anywhere, to any religion. Muslims use faith too. Why are you right and they are wrong?

          As far as it being a gift that you believe god hasn't opened my eyes to yet, I know for a fact your argument is wrong. I did have faith. I believed completely. I didn't lose faith, I discarded it like a bad habit. And one of the main reasons I did is because faith failed to lead to determining what was true. All believers use faith and yet virtually none agree.

          November 13, 2013 at 1:46 am |
        • devin

          Observer,

          Your entire statement was fatally flawed with the notion that this was some type of divine BET. It was not, it was never stated as such, and you should exercise a little more integrity by not making false assertions.

          I'm trying to send this abbreviated version a second time. I just couldn't let you off that easy.

          November 13, 2013 at 2:48 am |
      • devin

        tal

        Please feel free to add constructive comment to the post, the ad hominems get a little old.

        November 13, 2013 at 1:15 am |
        • Observer

          devin,

          Sorry you keep missing this question:

          If you have read a Bible, how did you read the MONSTROUSLY HEARTLESS things God did in the Job story and be ignorant enough to claim "God is always good"?

          November 13, 2013 at 1:19 am |
        • devin

          Observer

          Do you have any idea whatsoever about the story line in the book of Job? Let me give you the cliff notes: God allows Job to be stricken with enormous amounts of physical, emotional and psychological pain. His family and servants are destroyed, he is plagued with horrific skin lesions, and on and on it goes. His response was " I came into this world naked and I'll leave this world naked. The Lord gives and the Lord takes away, blessed is the name of the Lord." The rest of the narrative depicts Jobs 3 friends coming to him and giving their take on why God was doing this to him. Job basically says, thank you now get out of here you have no idea what you are talking about. Finally , in the lst few chapters Job is in the presence of God( what exactly this means I don't know). He questions God about what has happened to him and you know what God's answer is? Nothing. He doesn't answer him. Instead He asks Job a series of questions. He says, "Where were you when I formed the mountains? Where were you when I set the stars in the sky? Where were you when I gave man the breath of life? Where were you when I created the heavens? Do you give the animals their food? etc... Job's response was to fall before God and worship. God's sovereignty was sufficient for Job. It is sufficient for me.

          November 13, 2013 at 1:36 am |
        • Observer

          devin,

          Here's what God ALLOWED to happen to win a BET:

          3,000 camels and 500 oxen and 500 donkeys were stolen
          7,000 sheep were burned to death
          All but one of Job’s many servants were killed
          Job's 7 sons and 3 daughters were crushed to death

          ALL TO WIN A BET: 10 DEAD children and many dead servants.

          You can't get much more HEARTLESS and VISCIOUS than God here. This is CHRISTIAN MORALITY in the Bible. What a disgrace! How humiliating for believers.

          No one should follow ALL of the Bible.

          November 13, 2013 at 1:46 am |
        • devin

          Observer and cheese

          I just typed a lengthy reply to both of you but for some reason they were dropped. Must have been my cursing at you. Anyway, until next time. Have a good night.

          November 13, 2013 at 2:33 am |
        • Observer

          devin,

          Good night.

          November 13, 2013 at 2:44 am |
    • redzoa

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

      What good are such warnings to children, infants, the mentally disabled, etc? You're left with either pre-emptive judgment for future evils or judgment of certain individuals solely based on the choices of others. Either way, this requires that judgment doesn't actually reflect an individual's exercise of "free will" to choose evil.

      November 13, 2013 at 12:26 am |
  14. devin

    Just to clarify: so the reality that life is not full of lolly pops and ice cream, and everyone doesn't always smile and have happy thoughts, and that in fact bad things, sometimes very bad things, occur, this is why God does not exist? Does that pretty much sum up the train of thought coming from the scoffers?

    November 12, 2013 at 10:50 pm |
    • It was in the reign of George III that the aforesaid personages lived and quarreled; good or bad, handsome or ugly, rich or poor, they are all equal now.

      It's not that there isn't a god, it's just that if there is a god, he's either powerless or a d!ck.

      November 12, 2013 at 10:52 pm |
      • devin

        That's about as irrelevant an argument as is my "sides" use of Pascal's Wager.

        November 12, 2013 at 10:59 pm |
        • It was in the reign of George III that the aforesaid personages lived and quarreled; good or bad, handsome or ugly, rich or poor, they are all equal now.

          If you say so.

          November 12, 2013 at 11:01 pm |
        • Colin

          Actually, it is as simple as it gets and as fundamental as it gets. I am an atheist becauseI am yet to hear one piece of convincing, or even compelling evidence to suggest there is a god, be it Allah, Brahma, Krisnu, Shiva, God, Zeus or any other. I repeatedly ask for evidence and all I ever get is "well, science can't explain X" so therefore the god I believe in is true. "X" is usually the origins of life on Erath or the origins of the Universe, although it used to be things like thunder, lightning and volcanoes.

          November 12, 2013 at 11:12 pm |
        • devin

          I'll go out on a limb here and say, I imagine you have been presented with volumes of evidence in the past, just not the kind you like, you know, that which can be analyzed and quantified in a lab. Perhaps part of the problem is with your qualifying standard for evidence? You know, on some level I can sympathize with the agnostic, I have even felt its siren call myself in the past. Atheism however, sheer naivete. I don't say this as a personal attack on yourself, just a broad generalization.

          November 12, 2013 at 11:31 pm |
        • It was in the reign of George III that the aforesaid personages lived and quarreled; good or bad, handsome or ugly, rich or poor, they are all equal now.

          If by volumes you mean absolutely none, then yes.

          November 12, 2013 at 11:33 pm |
        • Tom, Tom, the Other One

          Evidence that stands up to scrutiny, yes that is what we should expect from or about your God if we are to believe in it. Will you explain why it chooses to hide itself? Believers usually do.

          November 12, 2013 at 11:37 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          Everything is evidence of god according to devin, literally everything.

          November 12, 2013 at 11:46 pm |
        • devin

          Cheese

          Sorry, I've just got to call you out right here and now as a pure LIAR. Did you forget JELLYBEANS?

          November 13, 2013 at 12:10 am |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          Yes, and apparently you did not read my reply where I showed using your first cause argument as well as your intelligent design argument "Jelly Beans" would in fact necessarily be evidence of god.

          November 13, 2013 at 12:25 am |
        • devin

          I read it, I just discounted it and went to bed.

          November 13, 2013 at 12:33 am |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          I find that hard to believe considering I didn't read your "Jelly Bean" post until 8 hours after you posted it and responded at that time. Are you sure you want to stick with that story?

          Regardless you offer no reason why "Jelly Beans" would not be evidence for god using your own arguments, nor do you justify discounting my retort. That is a bit disingenuous.

          November 13, 2013 at 12:50 am |
        • devin

          Cheese,

          We have a motto in my family that I try to apply to myself as do my wife and children. It's this: Truth at all cost. I looked back and it was Observers comment that I didn't respond to and just went to bed. My apologies, it was not intentional.

          November 13, 2013 at 1:13 am |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          No worries,

          I was just pointing it out because you called me a liar, though I really read that comment to be more in jest.

          I am more interested whether you are willing to admit that according to your argument everything is in fact evidence for god.

          November 13, 2013 at 1:26 am |
        • devin

          Cheese

          Yes, purely jest.

          In all honesty, I really am not sure what your getting at or wanting to know about everything being evidence for God ? Clarify and I'll answer.

          November 13, 2013 at 1:41 am |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          Wow devin,

          I don't know how to make it any clearer, I covered this pretty well in last nights posts. You were arguing for intelligent design and you said the entire universe is obviously designed by an intelligence. i pointed out that the way we as humans can determine "design" is by comparing something that is "designed" to things that are NOT designed. But if one accepts your premise that EVERYTHING is designed there is lterally nothing that is NOT designed. Hence the is no standard to compare "design" to. The term "design" then becomes meaningless. Therefore how can you claim to "know" what design even is?

          November 13, 2013 at 2:03 am |
        • devin

          Chesse.

          I'm 50 years old and between 4 kids a wife and work, my retention time is about 2 hours. 🙂

          You're dancing around with semantics. I'll simplify it: For sake of expediency I'll use the redundant watchmaker analogy. You know, you look at a watch ( feel free to insert here computer, TV, automobile, whatever) with all its moving mechanical parts. Now you could conclude theoretically that given enough time and chance this intricate watch could have some how come together by random chance. However, common sense dictates that it did not, but instead was the product of a designer, in this case the watchmaker. You can apply this to birds, planes, trees, hydrogen atoms and yes, jellybeans. Design is everywhere, it's obvious and it's irrefutable.

          November 13, 2013 at 2:21 am |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          devin,

          I am 46 with kids, wife and my own business, so you get no sympathy from me.

          The watch maker argument fails because the premise is flawed..... watches can be compared to rocks. One being designed and the other being a rock. But in the watchmaker argument a rock is also designed so there is nothing to compare a watch to. The term "design" indicates there are things that are not designed. And that is the flaw in the watchmaker argument, there is nothing that is not designed. Talk about dancing, for someone so versed in philosophy, ect. I would think my point would be rather easy to grasp but you just keep restating your flawed premise. Name something that is not designed? If you can't, your argument has no meaning.

          On a side note the word filter can be terribly annoying....been there.

          November 13, 2013 at 3:09 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      No Devin,

      It is one of the reasons why I don't think the CHristian god exists, or if he does he is a galactic dictator.

      November 12, 2013 at 11:25 pm |
      • It was in the reign of George III that the aforesaid personages lived and quarreled; good or bad, handsome or ugly, rich or poor, they are all equal now.

        Like Xenu.

        November 12, 2013 at 11:27 pm |
    • Khan

      In the Beginning were God & Word. God decided to make Universe so while God did all the WORKING, word did all the TALKING. When done God saw all was NOT GOOD & was mad. He begot the word into son Jesus. God saw Jesus was different. When God pulled left ear, Jesus played HUMAN and God’s reaction was HEHEHE. When God pulled right ear, Jesus played GOD and God’s reaction was HOHOHO. For 33 years god played heheHOHOheheHOHOheheHOHO & than got tired & gave Jesus to Jews for crucifixion.

      November 14, 2013 at 10:58 am |
  15. Faraday

    Two words. Human Trafficking.

    God is fed up.

    November 12, 2013 at 10:48 pm |
    • Observer

      Faraday,

      Why? The Bible supports slavery. Please read one.

      November 12, 2013 at 11:02 pm |
  16. Salero21

    God was where HE has always been and where HE will ALWAYS be in Heaven. Since the Philippines IS NOT Heaven just as the USA neither is, HE will not be found in NEITHER. Get over it!

    November 12, 2013 at 10:20 pm |
    • It was in the reign of George III that the aforesaid personages lived and quarreled; good or bad, handsome or ugly, rich or poor, they are all equal now.

      Thanks, I genuinely laughed out loud at that.

      November 12, 2013 at 10:25 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      Several people have pointed out that a God like yours might as well not be thought to exist for all the influence it exerts in our world.

      November 12, 2013 at 10:29 pm |
    • Observer

      Yep. Don't expect God to care enough to come down and help anyone.

      November 12, 2013 at 10:38 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      As in every other disaster, in this one god is invisible, undetectable, and irrelevant. Ours is a rocky planet with liquid water and changing temperatures and pressures. No other explanation needed.

      November 12, 2013 at 10:41 pm |
      • HotAirAce

        But if you ask for actual evidence of this same god, believers will tell you that the Earth and the universe are just screaming with evidence, if we would just open our eyes – and close our minds.

        November 13, 2013 at 12:14 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33
Advertisement
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.