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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

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(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. Average Joe

    Natural disaster occurrences are everywhere because sin has corrupted everything. In these last days disasters will increase. Where is God ?God resides in the hearts of His followers, the Church and the Church will respond as it always does bringing help,heath and healing to all the victims. The bride of Christ first to respond, last to leave.

    November 11, 2013 at 12:38 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      you would think god wouldn't punish children for their parent's sins...
      your god is a child killer.

      November 11, 2013 at 12:39 pm |
      • Average Joe

        You represent the problem

        November 11, 2013 at 12:41 pm |
        • Madtown

          "God" does not equal the christian God. Religion is a creation of man. If God exists, the details that christianity seeks to teach are likely wildly off the mark.

          November 11, 2013 at 12:50 pm |
      • hell yes

        u shouldn't love that god, your god

        November 11, 2013 at 12:41 pm |
        • Average Joe

          The word god refers to an idol. Since you follow idolatry it follows that you also are responsible for the evil in this world.

          November 11, 2013 at 12:50 pm |
    • Reality

      ..we need to kick him out of universe creation too. Seems he skrewed up there. Had to rest rather than cleaning up the asteroids. Now those are a danger.

      God should have created OSHA first.

      November 11, 2013 at 12:39 pm |
      • Average Joe

        You are always the problem, the sin of your hatred is responsible for untold evils

        November 11, 2013 at 12:42 pm |
        • Reality

          the universe was skrewed up well before humans existed. You failed again.

          November 11, 2013 at 12:45 pm |
        • Richard Cranium

          Way to go average joe...in trying to proclaim how good your god is, you violated one of your commandments...bearing false witness. You do not know if I have any sins, nor do you any other, also, you do not know if any god is taking that individuals sins and tormenting the world because of those sins. That is only an interpretation in your book....there are many other books that disagree....until you can prove what you say, you do not know what you say is true, therefore it is false witness.

          Repent false believer for it is YOUR sin that is being watched...not mine since sin is a construct of religion and so is your god.

          November 11, 2013 at 12:50 pm |
        • Average Joe

          No it wasn't. God created the universe and said it was good. Get back to me on judgement day for the final win/lose results .

          November 11, 2013 at 12:51 pm |
        • Reality

          joe and judgement day.. Too funny. Joe has no proof,, zero. Hey, That's just like lying.

          November 11, 2013 at 12:54 pm |
      • Average Joe

        The proof is in my heart and in the testimony of God.

        November 11, 2013 at 12:57 pm |
    • Nick

      so the content of our hearts affects the weather?

      November 11, 2013 at 12:41 pm |
      • Average Joe

        Think about it your thoughts and your deeds are responsible for your sins.

        November 11, 2013 at 12:43 pm |
        • Reality

          delusional.. Religious stunts mental growth.

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

          My sins have nothing to do with the weather.

          November 11, 2013 at 12:55 pm |
        • Average Joe

          You have no idea how far reaching your sins are.

          November 11, 2013 at 12:57 pm |
    • Colin

      It's been the "last days" for 2,000 years now. Will you "the end is nigh" nutters never give up?

      November 11, 2013 at 12:42 pm |
      • Average Joe

        The beginning days (antediluvian) were well over 2000 years, what is your point?

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

          That Christians, including Jesus and Paul of Tarsus, have been claiming it is the Ënd of days" now for 2,000 years. You are always wrong. Every time, wrong. You seem incapable of learning from your past mistakes, like a crazy person who keeps hitting their head against the same wall.

          November 11, 2013 at 12:51 pm |
        • Average Joe

          The end of days refers to an unspecified time period between the return of Christ to heaven and the return of Christ to earth. Not that difficult to understand is it?

          November 11, 2013 at 12:54 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      how come the excuse every time is 'these are the last days'? Its been used as justification for the last 2000 years.

      November 11, 2013 at 12:44 pm |
      • Average Joe

        See reply above.

        November 11, 2013 at 12:47 pm |
        • cedar rapids

          'The beginning days (antediluvian) were well over 2000 years'

          who calls that time period 'the beginning days'? did i miss a passage in the bible that talks about the beginning days or are you just making something up to attempt to make you feel better about your claim of 'last days'?

          November 11, 2013 at 12:54 pm |
        • cedar rapids

          and are you also suggesting you subscribe to the young earth school of thought?

          November 11, 2013 at 12:57 pm |
        • Average Joe

          I am suggesting no one knows times for certain but that specific time eras have been set.

          November 11, 2013 at 12:59 pm |
        • cedar rapids

          'I am suggesting no one knows times for certain'

          and yet in your post you emphatically declared these were the last days......'In these last days disasters will increase.'

          November 11, 2013 at 1:04 pm |
    • CommonSensed

      Your tinfoil hat a bit too tight today?

      November 11, 2013 at 12:45 pm |
      • Average Joe

        No. Your mirror reveals one of those responsible for disasters in this world.

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

          My mirror reveals no tinfoil hat, unlike yours.

          Thanks and have a nice day.

          November 11, 2013 at 12:50 pm |
        • Average Joe

          You had best check.

          November 11, 2013 at 12:59 pm |
    • G to the T

      And how exactly does the sin of Adam have an effect on the natural world again? How does "sin" cause an earthquake exactly? Are you trying to say that plate techtonics and air convection didn't exist before then?

      The audacity of such claims never cease to amaze me.

      November 12, 2013 at 12:52 pm |
  2. please observer

    she has files filled with her posts so she can try to appear like she represents the popular view

    November 11, 2013 at 12:37 pm |
  3. Colin

    Dear Filipinos:

    To answer your question, I was in the same place I was when Katrina struck New Orleons, when Hugo hit Charleston and when Wilma wacked México.

    Nowhere, because, you see, I do not exist. Is not the concept of a 13,700,00,000 year old being (age of the Universe) capable of creating the entire Universe and its billions of galaxies, monitoring simultaneously the actions and thoughts of the 7 billion human beings on this planet utterly ludicrous?

    Look, if I did exist, I would have left you a book a little more consistent, timeless and independently verifiable than the collection of Greco-Roman Middle Eastern mythology you call the Bible. Hell, I bet you cannot tell me one thing about any of its authors or how and why it was compiled with certain writings included and others excluded, nor how it has been edited over the centuries, yet you cite it for the most extraordinary of supernatural claims.

    Thirdly, when I sent my “son” (whatever that means, given that I am god and do not mate) to Earth, he would have visited the Chinese, Ja.panese, Europeans, Russians, sub-Saharan Africans, Australian Aboriginals, Mongolians, Polynesians, Micronesians, Indonesians and native Americans, not just a few Jews. He would also have exhibited a knowledge of something outside of the Greco-Roman Middle East.

    Fourthly, I would not spend my time hiding, refusing to give any tangible evidence of my existence, and then punish those who are smart enough to draw the natural conclusion that I do not exist by burning them forever. That would make no sense to me, given that I am the one who elected to withhold all evidence of my existence in the first place.

    Fifthly, in the same vein, I would not make about 5% of the human population gay, then punish them for being that way. In fact, I wouldn’t care about how humans have $ex at all, given that I created all of the millions of millions of species on the planet, all of whom are furiously reproducing all the time. Human $ex would be of no interest to me, given that I can create Universes. Has it ever occurred to you that your obsession with making rules around human $ex is an entirely human affair?

    Sixth, I would have smitten all you Christian activists, and all evangelicals and fundamentalists long before this. You people drive me nuts. You are so small minded and speak with such false authority. Many of you still believe in the talking snake nonsense from Genesis. I would kill all of you for that alone and burn you for an afternoon (burning forever is way too barbaric even for a sick, sadistic bast.ard like me to contemplate).

    Seventh, the whole idea of members of one species on one planet surviving their own physical deaths to “be with me” is utter, mind-numbing nonsense. Grow up. You will die. Get over it. I did. Hell, at least you had a life. I never even existed in the first place.

    Eighth, I do not read your minds, or “hear your prayers” as you euphemistically call it. There are 7 billion of you. Even if only 10% prayed once a day, that is 700,000,000 prayers. This works out at 8,000 prayers a second – every second of every day. Meanwhile I have to process the 100,000 of you who die every day between heaven and hell. Dwell on the sheer absurdity of that for a moment.

    Finally, the only reason you even consider believing in me is because of where you were born. Had you been born in India, you would likely believe in the Hindu gods, if born in Tibet, you would be a Buddhist. Every culture that has ever existed has had its own god(s) and they always seem to favor that particular culture, its hopes, dreams and prejudices. What, do you think we all exist? If not, why only yours?

    Look, let’s be honest with ourselves. There is no god. Believing in me was fine when you cringed in fear during the Dark Ages and thought the World was young, flat and simple. Now we know how enormous, old and complex the Universe is.

    Move on – get over me. I did.

    God

    November 11, 2013 at 12:35 pm |
    • Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

      Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things.
      Prayer changes things

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

        Sure changed the path of the typhoon.

        November 11, 2013 at 12:44 pm |
        • Average Joe

          Where was it supposed to go?

          November 11, 2013 at 12:55 pm |
        • G to the T

          Average Joe – ask your god, he's the one that controls the winds and the waves...

          November 12, 2013 at 12:53 pm |
      • Gerry Evans

        I don't see that praying is good for children either. Those children who prayed for this storm to go away certainly found out that their GOD was not looking out for them. Speaking from experience, finding out that the god your preacher spoke of in church was not the all caring father he was made out to be and he preacher that was so powerful in his praise of god didn't get any special care either. He only took the money and ran... YOU LIE to your children when you tell them GOD answers their prayers AND YOU KNOW IT....

        November 11, 2013 at 1:09 pm |
    • Northstar8968

      Awesome post!!!

      November 11, 2013 at 12:56 pm |
    • Colin

      Who is "Colin" ? Have you seen me ? Do you know who I am ? Do you know what I've done in my life ? Do you know if I ever actually did anything good ? Do you know if I even exist ? Of course not. But I expect you to believe me. Surely, you should have the faith to believe in what I say even though you have not seen me. You people should not believe in God because you have not seen him. But you should believe in me even though you have not seen me.

      Christians have a comprehensive moral system. It's written in the Bible. I am atheist and believe that I am better than Chris tians even though I cannot point to a comprehensive moral system. Other than a refusal to believe in God, I have to admit that I have not explained anything else that I believe. I am speechless as far as telling you the other things that I believe in. Nevertheless you should believe that I am a better person than chris tians.

      Trust me. Have faith in me. Believe what I say.

      November 11, 2013 at 1:00 pm |
      • Wellllll

        Colin wasn't asking you to believe in him, he was just speaking rhetorically about the existence of god.

        I know your "faith" asks you to make boldfaced refusals of certain logical premises, but that doesn't mean you aren't allowed to understand how logic works.

        November 13, 2013 at 3:49 am |
    • Gerry Evans

      Thank you Colin for the history lesson. NOT that any of the people who are totally sold on the Catholic Church or any other head altering symbolism will pay any attention to what you have had to say. Your message telling one to learn to rely on ones self on their travels through life without a prop to hold them up can be very disturbing to those who MUST have something or some one to lead them. The people of this world have been bamboozled by those who only seek wealth from their followers knowing they won't burn in the depths of hell because there is no such thing. The only hell this world will find is the one right here on earth... As the people living through that horrible storm are finding out right now and will live through that hell for a very long time to come.

      November 11, 2013 at 1:02 pm |
      • aguzman33

        You obviously don't know history or the Catholic Church. To deny Jesus, IS to deny history.

        November 12, 2013 at 6:37 pm |
        • Wellllll

          It's not denying history, it's not believing things written an an old book. There are old books about alchemy and magic... if you disagree with them are you "denying history?"

          November 13, 2013 at 3:51 am |
    • aguzman33

      Dear Colin, you speak of the Dark Ages and the bible as if you were a scholar. Based on your erroneous "letter", you're only beginning to scratch the surface of such an intricate topic. I can give you some information about those who wrote the bible, but what would be the use? You put trust in your own limited wisdom, and not God's infinite wisdom. Next time, write yourself a letter instead. The people of the Philippines don't know you, they know Christ.

      November 12, 2013 at 6:31 pm |
      • Wellllll

        "I could explain it, but what's the point" – ive heard that one before

        Please explain it.

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

      Colin,

      Your entire argument is based on God being a genie in a bottle and man unaccountable. It is irresponsible to leave man's issues out of any equation, ahhhh yes. God is supposed to part the seas, never let man suffer, even though they spit in God's face, break all his laws, treat him like garbage– That is not how it works. That is a very unhealthy relationship, not real, and naive. God is very real. I know this for a fact, but if God doesn't fix everyone's problems than he is a bad God or no God, according to the genie in the bottle people. It is childish and ignorant!

      November 12, 2013 at 9:04 pm |
  4. Where is your God now?

    I have been asking for years.

    November 11, 2013 at 12:33 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      No, I don't believe you have. Christians really don't care. If something interferes with their fantasies they ignore it.

      November 11, 2013 at 12:46 pm |
      • Apple Bush

        That didn't come out right, I meant no Christian has ever answered your question.

        November 11, 2013 at 12:48 pm |
    • Bible Clown©

      He retired to Miami ten years ago and turned the franchise over to his brother Allah.

      November 11, 2013 at 2:26 pm |
      • Old enough to know

        Hilarious (and true).

        November 11, 2013 at 2:51 pm |
  5. Bonnie

    God is very clear as to whom He will protect and save- and most importantly, why, at Psalm 91 in the Holy Bible.

    You need not listen to men who fabricate reasons by means of their own ideas. God knows who His true people are, who obey Him and live in obedience to His word found in the Bible, and they are the ones who are family to Him and treated accordingly.
    Jesus said, "Whoever does the will of my Father in heaven, these are my brothers and sisters and mother." Matthew 12:50.
    It is time for people to turn away from the church and its false teachings, and instead, fully embrace the actual teachings of Jesus Christ found in the book of John in the Bible, If you seek the truth you will find it and be blessed by God.

    November 11, 2013 at 12:33 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      your god sounds like a monster.
      just think of the children that drowned that he could have saved.
      a monster.

      November 11, 2013 at 12:35 pm |
      • Reality

        yeah and god has a hell too.. Great god they have

        November 11, 2013 at 12:36 pm |
    • Reality

      john's bible? Plagiarized from the gnostics.

      November 11, 2013 at 12:36 pm |
    • Madtown

      God knows who His true people are
      -----
      Yes, you're so special. God only loves those people who follow the teachings of christianity, even though God placed people in areas of the world where they will never learn of christianity. Christian arrogance.

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

        A revelation by Jesus Christ as given to him by His God and Father which he shared with John at Revelation 7:9, "After these things I saw, and look! A great crowd, which no man was able to number, out of all nations and tribes and peoples and tongues.......these are the ones who come out of the great tribulation and have washed their robes..." (see vs 9-17).

        Jesus makes it clear, that all peoples will be given the chance to actually know the true God, before the end comes. If you do the research on the net, you will find that every country or nation has had ample opportunity to learn the truth of God. Many will reject it, though. They will cling to their idols and false 'gods" that have no spirit or power or life, and they will become just like their idols.
        However, as regards the Jews, God tells us that at the very end, those who have been faithful to Him, will have their hearts opened wide to receive the truth that Jesus actually is the Son of God, they will accept him, and enter the kingdom of God, as per God's promise to Abraham.

        November 11, 2013 at 1:18 pm |
        • G to the T

          You may be correct about few people's these days not knowing about christianity but that doesn't resolve the BILLIONS of people that lived/died before missionaries showed up with "the truth". What about them?

          November 12, 2013 at 12:14 pm |
      • guyFromVA

        God does hate the wicked, the bible says.
        "but the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul hateth." Psalm 11:5

        November 11, 2013 at 3:11 pm |
      • guyFromVA

        God loves those who obey him by believing in his Son, Jesus:
        "Jesus replied, ?Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them." John 14:23

        November 11, 2013 at 3:14 pm |
    • josh

      Oh you mean that book that was written by a couple of regular guys just like you and me?

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

      It is wonderful that you can go through life in a delusional state that makes you feel good. I envy you, as do all the other realists out here. But feeling good doesn't make it true.

      November 11, 2013 at 12:40 pm |
    • ml

      quite similar to the drivel that mohammed Atta followed 12 years ago.. Pure evil..

      November 11, 2013 at 12:42 pm |
    • waterman

      Let's be clear. The idea is that God killed 10,000 people (in a mostly catholic country) because none of them were true believers? Killed children, ripped apart families, took babies from mothers, took parents from children, because they didn't believe in the right God? Were these not his children? Why does loving God love killing so much? Of random people, men, women, children?

      November 11, 2013 at 1:36 pm |
    • Old enough to know

      I'm certain that some of the 6 MILLION people that died in the Holocaust were far more devoted than you or anyone else here. Your God sure protected them, didn't he?

      November 11, 2013 at 2:54 pm |
  6. Believer

    Where was God you ask? We have kicked God out of our lives, out of our courts, out of our schools, we embrace promiscuity, hate rather than love out fellow human, twist and pevert God's marital law, we pollute and destroy the one planet where we live and then we have the audacity to ask where God was in disasters. What ye sow so shall ye reap.

    November 11, 2013 at 12:33 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      'Where was God you ask? We have kicked God out of our lives, out of our courts, out of our schools, we embrace promiscuity, hate rather than love out fellow human, twist and pevert God's marital law, we pollute and destroy the one planet where we live and then we have the audacity to ask where God was in disasters. What ye sow so shall ye reap.'

      and for all this he decides to punish another country.
      was his aim off or something?

      November 11, 2013 at 12:34 pm |
      • Reality

        we need to kick him out of universe creation too. Seems he skrewed up there. Had to rest rather than cleaning up the asteroids. Now those are a danger.

        God should have created OSHA first.

        November 11, 2013 at 12:38 pm |
      • Old enough to know

        Yeah, I'm sure he meant North Korea. Let's send God a compass and map.

        November 11, 2013 at 2:55 pm |
      • guyFromVA

        phillipines are a catholic country. Catholicism is an apostate denomination that teaches much false doctrine such as worship of mary, papal infallibility, idolatry of praying to saints, etc. Let's not assume that God is pleased by his so-called followers there. And besides, christians are still sinners and are under the death sentence for sinning against God. Christians aren't exempt from suffering, pain and death in this world. They are just exempt from eternal judgment and hell.

        November 11, 2013 at 3:19 pm |
        • aguzman33

          A little research goes a long way guyFromVA. The Catholic Church teaches how to worship the Lord, how to love, have compassion and forgiveness. Everything you just wrote is erroneous.

          November 12, 2013 at 6:44 pm |
    • ml

      How utterly asinine. You do realize this is 2013 and not 1013, right?

      November 11, 2013 at 12:35 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      have you read the bible? god drowning children is nothing new.

      November 11, 2013 at 12:36 pm |
      • ml

        sounds like a sweetheart of a guy.

        November 11, 2013 at 12:47 pm |
    • GodFreeNow

      @ believer…you sound pretty miserable. Sad that you want everyone else to be as well.

      November 11, 2013 at 12:36 pm |
    • Get Real

      Believer,

      Probably the most (Christian) religious era thus far was the period of the Black Plagues in Europe (in the schools, in the courts, in the government, in the literature, in the science, in *everything*) – up to 200 million perished, 45% – 50% of the European population; and, in fact, many of the religious helpers were actually spreading it without knowing. So much for "God" being included...

      November 11, 2013 at 12:52 pm |
    • DougNJ

      So you are saying that not one of those severely affected by the storm was a genuine God Fearing Catholic?

      November 11, 2013 at 1:20 pm |
      • guyFromVA

        Catholics aren't true christians, if they believe the catholic false doctrines (worship mary, hold church authority higher than the bible, believe in salvation by faith + works, etc.). Only born-again christians are going to heaven, and in that case they still die physically in this life.

        November 11, 2013 at 3:47 pm |
        • G to the T

          Tell you what "guyFromVA" – you get all your protestant brothers together to all decide on a single theology for all christiandom and I'll believe you when you call someone else a false christian. Otherwise their claim is just as (if not more) valid as yours.

          November 12, 2013 at 12:22 pm |
  7. bgg1175

    God offered us paradise but he gave us freewill. Another being who had freewill and chose to rebel against God chose his own path. A path that led to destruction. That being tempted us into choosing his path.
    Once we chose that path we were destined to live lives in darkness under the rule of the one who tempted us.
    We CANNOT reclaim that paradise in this life. And our only hope to not truly die upon death is to receive Salvation. We were offered a choice...again. This choice is a much harder choice. A choice to be made under the veil of drakness that shrouds the truth.
    Even if we accept Salvation we still do not receive a pardon from life on the World we made.
    In this life we shall suffer and see suffering. Children, men and women shall be preyed upon by those who are evil. And we shall die.
    We shall suffer tragedies and mass destruction and we shall not overcome the evil in this World. It is God that will finally upon a time of his choosing bring an end to pain, suffering and death and evil.

    God offered us a World free of this. We chose to walk away from him and in doing so we allowed an Evil Being to rob us of paradise on Earth free of pain, suffering, death and evil. We chose this life because any path contrary to that of the creator is to death and destruction.
    There is only one way back to that path to paradise. And that way is Jesus Christ.

    November 11, 2013 at 12:33 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      'Another being who had freewill and chose to rebel against God chose his own path. A path that led to destruction. That being tempted us into choosing his path.'

      why did god give satan free will? his whole purpose when created was to specifically serve god, nothing else. And why did god make such a flawed being that would choose to rebel in the first place?

      November 11, 2013 at 12:36 pm |
    • ml

      I'm continuously stunned that supposedly intelligent , thinking human beings still actually believe.. for *real* this complete nonsensical driven. It is truly amazing.

      November 11, 2013 at 12:37 pm |
      • guyFromVA

        you can't understand because you haven't been born again.
        "But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." 1 Cor 2:14

        If the Spirit opens your blind eyes, then you'll see the light.
        "In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them." 2 Cor 4:4

        November 11, 2013 at 3:37 pm |
        • G to the T

          You are making the HUGE (and common) mistake of assuming non-believers were never "true christians". I was indeed born-again and burned with the fire of the lord. But I don't anymore. I've seen the bible as a very human book and god to be a very human idea. So again – until you all can agree on a single theology, I don't believe you have the right to say anyone else was or wasn't born again and/or a true christian.

          November 12, 2013 at 12:26 pm |
    • rwhite

      Poor Jesus Christ, a great thinker and holy man who never envisioned all this nonsense coming out of what he was trying to say to make people's lives better. He would be rolling in his grave if he heard all this ignorant religion because of him.

      November 11, 2013 at 12:45 pm |
    • Old enough to know

      What about Zeus and Jupiter? God didn't seem to be around then because he wasn't invented yet.

      November 11, 2013 at 2:57 pm |
  8. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things

    November 11, 2013 at 12:32 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      like rain dances change the weather.

      November 11, 2013 at 12:33 pm |
    • AE

      The phone rang out in the midnight silence, and when King lifted the receiver, a drawl released a torrent of obscene words and then the death threat: "Listen, n--, we've taken all we want from you; before next week you'll be sorry you ever came to Montgomery."

      King hung up without comment, as had become his custom. Threatening phone calls had become a daily routine in the weeks of the protests, and King had tried to brush them off at first. In recent days, however, the threatening phone calls had started to take a toll, increasing in number to thirty or forty a day and growing in their menacing intent.

      Unwelcome thoughts prey on the mind in the late hours, and King was overcome with fear. "I got out of bed and began to walk the floor. I had heard these things before, but for some reason that night it got to me.

      Stirred into wakefulness, King made a pot of coffee and sat down at the kitchen table. "I felt myself faltering," he said. It was as though the violent undercurrents of the protest rushed in upon him with heightened force, and he surveyed the turbulent waters for a way of escape, searching for an exit point between courage and convenience-"a way to move out of the picture without appearing a coward"-and he found none. "I was ready to give up," he said.

      King thought of baby Yoki sleeping in her crib, of her "little gentle smile," and of Coretta, who had sacrificed her music career, according to the milieu of the Baptist pastor's wife, to follow her husband south. For the first time, he grasped the seriousness of his situation and with it the inescapable fact that his family could be taken away from him any minute, or more likely he from them. He felt himself reeling within, as the Psalmist had said, his soul "melted because of trouble, at wit's end." "I felt myself . . . growing in fear," said King.

      Sitting at his kitchen table sipping the coffee, King's thoughts were interrupted by a sudden notion that at once intensified his desperation and clarified his options. "Something said to me, 'You can't call on Daddy now, you can't call on Mama. You've got to call on that something in that person that your daddy used to tell you about, that power that can make a way out of no way.'" With his head now buried in his hands, King bowed over the kitchen table and prayed aloud. He said:

      Lord, I'm down here trying to do what's right. I still think I'm right. I am here taking a stand for what I believe is right. But Lord, I must confess that I'm weak now, I'm faltering. I'm losing my courage. Now, I am afraid. And I can't let the people see me like this because if they see me weak and losing my courage, they will begin to get weak. The people are looking to me for leadership, and if I stand before them without strength and courage, they too will falter. I am at the end of my powers. I have nothing left. I've come to the point where I can't face it alone.

      As he prayed alone in the silent kitchen, King heard a voice saying, "Martin Luther, stand up for righteousness. Stand up for justice. Stand up for truth. And lo, I will be with you. Even until the end of the world." Then King heard the voice of Jesus. "I heard the voice of Jesus saying still to fight on. He promised never to leave me, never to leave me alone. No never alone. No never alone. He promised never to leave me, never to leave me alone."

      And as the voice washed over the stains of the wretched caller, King reached a spiritual shore beyond fear and apprehension. "I experienced the presence of the Divine as I had never experienced Him before," he said. "Almost at once my fears began to go," King said of the midnight flash of illumination and resolve. "My uncertainty disappeared. I was ready to face anything."

      November 11, 2013 at 12:34 pm |
    • 4thand26

      How does mumbling to yourself change anything? Research cures diseases not prayer; people coming to the aid of those in need saves lives not prayer; being a good human being saves the world not prayer...

      November 11, 2013 at 12:38 pm |
    • ml

      WRONG. People change things. For good and for bad.
      Prayer just gives them a reason to do nothing and blame someone else.

      November 11, 2013 at 12:38 pm |
    • JBHedgehog

      How about you hand out a few million MREs and a few million bottles of water & anti-malaria devices THEN you can pray.

      The order of things matters here.

      Because even IF the prayer doesn't work...at least you did the helpful stuff first.

      November 11, 2013 at 12:41 pm |
  9. jknbt

    these calamities are signs of the end times....earthquakes, natural disasters, moral apostacy of the masses, and other heartbreaking events are the harbingers of the second coming. Are you Rapture Ready? Get ready!

    November 11, 2013 at 12:32 pm |
    • O STOP DODO

      God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

      November 11, 2013 at 12:33 pm |
    • 4thand26

      Hilarious!!!

      November 11, 2013 at 12:54 pm |
    • 4thand26

      Rapture ready...is there an app for that?

      November 11, 2013 at 12:55 pm |
  10. Stella

    People so often have nothing to do with God, and just live as they please. But the minute something happens, they want to know where He was...Well where were you Before your troubles came ?

    November 11, 2013 at 12:31 pm |
  11. Alicia

    God was everywhere, same as yesterday and same as tomorrow. Now, CNN, if what you meant to ask is why God allowed carnage, the answer remains the same today as it did yesterday. Nobody is exempt from dying, not even his children, in fact, his followers are more likely to be subjected to calamities including persecution. Read the bible, it talks about this at length.

    I could never understand the skeptics asking this question over & over again. The answer is simple and will never change. We all die whether it's due to catastrophe or peacefully in our sleep. Revelation speaks about the end days and how natural and man made events will increasingly occur in number and look what's happening.

    November 11, 2013 at 12:30 pm |
    • Reality

      more voodoo.. I don't get into the witchcraft stuff as you do.

      Religion stunts mental growth.

      November 11, 2013 at 12:32 pm |
      • Alicia

        Not sure where you got voodoo from but, if you are completely comfortable with your belief system, stick with it.

        November 11, 2013 at 2:30 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      you lot have been claiming end of days for 2000 years now....and yet you will end up going to your grave with it not occurring.
      And the reason skeptics ask the question is the event contradicts the supposed loving deity.

      November 11, 2013 at 12:33 pm |
      • Alicia

        There are always going to be the ones that "predict" the end... and, nobody can do that. Not even Jesus knows the time, only God the father. So, when you hear someone predict a given date, ignore it. Hope that helps.

        November 11, 2013 at 2:32 pm |
        • G to the T

          Always loved this nugget. So if Jesus = God then how can Jesus not know something that God knows? If Jesus pre-existed then he was also existed outside of time and should have already known the rest of history...

          November 12, 2013 at 12:30 pm |
  12. Red

    It's all part of the test. Hurricanes and all other disasters were just part of the recipe that was set up for us. There's no storms in heaven.

    November 11, 2013 at 12:30 pm |
    • Reality

      that's cause there is no heaven..

      November 11, 2013 at 12:32 pm |
  13. Frank

    Stop blaming God for your problems.

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

      yeah, because god needs you to say that. Since he's unable to.

      November 11, 2013 at 12:29 pm |
    • Get Real

      m'kay... also stop praising "him" for your successes and all of the good things, then.

      November 11, 2013 at 12:29 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      or giving him credits for your successes.
      he doesn't exist.

      November 11, 2013 at 12:29 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      "Stop blaming god for your problems"

      That's a start, no just add

      Stop crediting god for the good things as well.

      November 12, 2013 at 12:30 pm |
  14. shehar39

    John 16:33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

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

      ^^ words of a tyrant ^^

      November 11, 2013 at 12:30 pm |
    • AE

      Amen. God is with us. Even when we suffer and are in pain. Shine a light.

      November 11, 2013 at 12:32 pm |
    • 4thand26

      Sounds like a cult to me...

      November 11, 2013 at 12:32 pm |
    • 4thand26

      If god really exists, he's a real assh0le!

      November 11, 2013 at 12:33 pm |
    • End The Religious Dark Ages

      So the other day I awoke to the voice of God and he sayeth to me: "Thou shall witness the power of a loving wonderful God. I am that I am." I then seen a map of the Philippines come floating down from above. Then God spoketh again to me and sayeth, "Watch this."

      Makieupitus 12:11 "Thou shall be lifted from the world and thrusted into the heaven of the after life. Shout thy love in subservient ways to all who should listen and be fishers of men. I'm too powerful to stop myself and thou shall pay with the lives of the innocent who are nonbelievers and live on an island.

      Shall I go on with this hogwash? Sorry can't...got grandkids to take care of.

      November 11, 2013 at 12:58 pm |
  15. Bootyfunk

    "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."
    +++ they are confusing a feeling of divine presence with that of humanity. humans helping humans. it's an amazing feeling, but it's not divine. no god necessary.

    if god was real, he could never let so many children be killed.

    Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?
    Then he is not omnipotent.
    Is he able, but not willing?
    Then he is malevolent.
    Is he both able and willing?
    Then whence cometh evil?
    Is he neither able nor willing?
    Then why call him God?
    –Epicurus

    November 11, 2013 at 12:27 pm |
  16. I am Not Sorry

    God sounds like a di ck.

    November 11, 2013 at 12:25 pm |
  17. Reality

    tell kids they will get painful third degree burns, their skin will melt and they will become deformed. And then tell them there are ugly and scary monsters in hell. A child knows in their mind they will be alone through all this.

    Child abuse that results in brainwashing. The religious should be ashamed of themselves.

    November 11, 2013 at 12:24 pm |
    • Pinewalker

      I would love to know where you get this stuff. i grew up attending a Christian church and was never told such things, ever. We mainly sang songs, did crafts and had plays based on bible stories (noah and the ark, david and goliath, etc). Christianity was presented to us a arelationship with our God and not as a prison term or rules and regulations.

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

        ah, no hell then.. Must be a different religion, not christian.

        November 11, 2013 at 12:34 pm |
  18. Bobby

    Another attempt to slam on religion by CNN. Well done circus news network!

    November 11, 2013 at 12:24 pm |
    • Reality

      maybe we should hide it all,, that way the religious won't look so ridiculous.

      November 11, 2013 at 12:25 pm |
    • GodFreeNow

      If your faith in god is real, why do you get upset when others doubt it?

      November 11, 2013 at 12:25 pm |
      • Reality

        maybe a spark of reality is finally hitting the poster. Or maybe the fact the poster is unable to prove a single ounce of their god existing frustrates them.

        November 11, 2013 at 12:28 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      100 christian fluff pieces for every article that's critical of religion - you should be happy.

      November 11, 2013 at 12:28 pm |
    • Bob

      The problem with religion is it is run by people. Religion has always been a great way to control the masses. People are scared of what they don't know, and others take advantage of it. More people have been killed in the name of religion then for any other reason. Our modern society is outgrowing religion since we now have answers to unexplained questions. Why does the sun move across the sky? It used to be Helius, Helios, or Sol Invictus (depending on what culture) that was pulling it across the sky in his winged chariot......boy times have changed......by the way, the planet is also not flat.

      November 11, 2013 at 12:40 pm |
  19. jj

    Those who believe in God would say that he is everywhere and in everything.

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

      uh huh….so are a bunch of atoms.

      November 11, 2013 at 12:24 pm |
  20. Reality # 2

    Oops, make that "one answer to the Where Was God question.........

    My answer: There are no god or gods !!!

    November 11, 2013 at 12:23 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.