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. dillonb1950

    Let the people who know what they are talking about be the authority on this..Creationism vs Evolution


    November 15, 2013 at 7:04 pm |
  2. shawbrooke

    We'd like God to save everyone from everything, sometimes even from ourselves. Non believers say that God should prove his love by doing so. But God is not a vending machine, God is independent from humans and God has nothing to prove. People either feel or don't feel the presence of God, who is there independent of feelings. If you do not believe in God, then stop expecting stuff and treat with greater respect those of your fellow human beings who do.

    November 15, 2013 at 5:31 pm |
    • Stevep44

      Why would someone who does not believe in god expect something from him? And why should I treat someone who believes with any more respect than someone who does not? What makes you so special?

      November 15, 2013 at 6:42 pm |
      • Essie Gagante

        Steve44, God is Spirit...our thoughts & our ways are not of God, why we could hardly define God but....God is Love, God is good all the time, compassion, care, incomparably generous, kind & all the positive values & w/ a lot of patience for us, His creation. God is All Powerful Almighty Father in Heaven who unconditionally loves His Creation–us, the universe, amazing solar system, the naturally amazing earth & everything we need to live in it, all kinds of animals, the environment (that needs us badly & them for protection both ways), the wind, different kinds of seasons & beauty everywhere & wonders for us to search the massive truth within in this wonderful earth (our temporary life). On earth His creation whose suppose to be His stewards, instead claimed to own properties, previously claimed to be owned by our ancestors/those who lived b4 we were born, grow & mature (if lucky) till we age & die (temporary life on earth to the next permanent life) only to leave everything we live to own to the next generation, who will claim to own whatever you left behind .....God is everywhere even during great trials & great devastation of all kinds of natural or man-made calamities, especially here in the Philippines. Yes, we suffer so much & it is really, really extremely difficult but because as the world witnessed, th extra ordinary strength, courage to fight for life....victims alike are helping each other forgetting his/her own misery just to stand & continue to stay alive..... among us pilipinos there is an outpouring of all good things, everyone is UNITED to give LOVE, compassion, care, pledges, & giving time & energy just to help if incapable of financial assitance to the victims ... the outpouring of LOVE for our country all over the world is evident & witnessed on international television!.....all of that is evidence to the PRESENCE OF GOD in the Philippines in all times. GOD IS LOVE...WE LEARN PURE LOVE.... WE NEED TO LEARN THE ALMIGHTY GOD'S LOVE (responsible/unselfish love)FOR OUR CREATOR AS WE LIVE (temporarily)HERE ON EARTH.

        November 16, 2013 at 12:59 pm |
        • stevep44

          Essie – if you choose to live your life on earth as "temporary", based on the ramblings of iron-age goat herders, that is entirely up to you. Many of us, equipped with reason & logic, treat our earthly existence as the only life we get. You believe in your god based on faith. I do not believe you. Therefore, I will live my life the best I can, choosing to love family and friends rather than your imaginary deity.

          November 18, 2013 at 9:48 am |
    • corridorwatcher

      I expect nothing from god, because he doesn't exist. If he did exist, and is all powerful and loving he has a pretty sadistic way of showing it. Why should I respect you for believing in this imaginary sky god sadist.

      November 15, 2013 at 8:38 pm |
  3. dgoren1

    I feel sometimes that we have never left the middle ages, or ancient times. People are so very fragile. We don't know if there is a God or not. The world is both an amazing and horrible place. That much is for certain, but since we cannot explain the evil in the world, we make stuff up. God's doing this because we don't follow his word. The devil did it. Good people die because God has a plan in heaven for them. Good people are cured because God performed a miracle. Some people want an explanation for all these things and there just isn't one. If we can do things to protect ourselves better in storms, or teach tolerance to keep more people alive and not breed hate, we should put our efforts there. Let's just admit that we don't have a clue, because we don't.

    November 15, 2013 at 4:04 pm |
    • JimK57

      You are so right.

      November 16, 2013 at 3:49 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      The evidence we have shows that all religious texts are fundamentally incorrect with their creation myths, so that pretty much eliminates the personal gods of religions.

      November 18, 2013 at 4:21 pm |
    • T-Roy

      Actually we do know whether there is a supernatural being living in the sky. If you were honest, you would say it out loud. This is not the middle ages where we don't know what is under the ground and or what is above the clouds. In 2013, we know that god and or delusions are only in our heads. A training of belief given to us by our parents when we were small children.

      If religion were not taught to children until after the age of reason, the world would look very differently today and would be a more peaceful place...

      November 18, 2013 at 11:28 pm |
      • lol??

        You know what time it is?? It's not the year 249,000 out of 500,000?? That's tellin' it like it is, dude.

        November 19, 2013 at 1:48 pm |
  4. Sussay

    Where was god? do you mean the magician in the sky with a customer service center taking requests for magical intervention in people's lives? That god? Same place he's always been - in people's imaginations.

    November 15, 2013 at 12:51 pm |
  5. Krhodes

    The same place he has always been?

    November 15, 2013 at 2:34 am |
    • Observer

      Yes. Just watching as usual.

      November 15, 2013 at 2:38 am |
  6. EX Catholic

    Idolatry and idols are not going to save anyone from the forces of nature, much less from the wrath of God. If idols and idolatry does not save you from these natural disasters they can't heal either then much less they are going to save from God judgment.
    Only by Jesus the Son of God can we be save.

    November 14, 2013 at 11:57 pm |
    • corridorwatcher

      Yes. I'll stick a pin in it for you...

      November 15, 2013 at 12:03 am |
  7. S. O. Teric

    Xtians: "God is here, there and everywhere."
    Atheists: "Prove it!"
    Xtians: "Prove that God doesn't exist"
    Atheists: "We cannot prove that God doesn't exist, nor can we prove that God does exist."
    Xtians: "Then it's possible that God exists!"
    Atheists: "Prove it!"
    Xtians: "The Bible is all the proof you need. Jesus is all the proof you need. Faith is all the proof you need."
    Atheists: "Faith is not proof. The Bible is full of logical fallacies. Jesus doesn't prove anything, except that rich xtians are hypocrites"

    November 14, 2013 at 11:08 pm |
    • Salsero21

      That's why atheism is stupidity in Full bloom in hurricane Season and in any and all Seasons.

      November 14, 2013 at 11:52 pm |
      • corridorwatcher

        Is that the only cut and paste you have. Couldn't we have another with a god ball on top?

        November 15, 2013 at 12:06 am |
        • corridorwatcher

          some chocolate would be nice too.

          November 15, 2013 at 12:08 am |
        • a reasonable atheist

          Salsero's systemic capitalization errors make for sweet, sweet irony.

          November 15, 2013 at 7:14 pm |
      • Christian

        That's why Salsero21 is stupidity in Full bloom in hurricane Season and in any and all Seasons.

        November 18, 2013 at 4:17 pm |
    • pitifulatheist

      Possibilities needs no proof, it is uncertain. Use your a little brain next time before posting.

      November 15, 2013 at 12:09 am |
  8. ethernet5

    this is another lost opportunity for any gods to prove their existence and benevolence. it seems fairly obvious that omnipotent gods are based on faith, not fact. the sooner mankind comes to this realization, the closer we get to technological achievements that let us determine our own destinies.

    November 14, 2013 at 10:47 pm |
    • corridorwatcher

      Oh. that's just so sensical.

      November 15, 2013 at 12:01 am |
      • doverby

        Agreed. The whole statement is ridiculous.

        November 15, 2013 at 10:58 am |
  9. Finding God in the Storm

    The Bible tells were God was and was not in 1Kings 19:11-12, "Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. 12 After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire The Lord came in a Small Still Voice.

    November 14, 2013 at 7:48 pm |
    • corridorwatcher

      It would be more effective if god exists, any god in that long list of gods, spoke in a clear an audible voice. Speaking in a small voice, has not prove an effective method of getting his existence and message out. Why has your god chosen to be inaudible?

      November 14, 2013 at 8:00 pm |
    • dillonb1950

      and maybe the samll thin voice said.." you people are all idiots...you will believe anything.

      November 14, 2013 at 8:27 pm |
    • EnjaySea

      The only thing you've demonstrated by your Bible quote is that a man, at one point in time, composed that text, and it was eventually written down.

      People who use the Bible as a way of discovering the attributes of their deity, are merely discovering the attributes of the men who wrote the Bible.

      November 15, 2013 at 9:53 am |
  10. L

    Hey atheists, disprove God using the current scientific knowledge without involving your personal belief system or simply stating "There is no God". That's your opinion and belief not a fact. And many atheists claim not to think like the religious.. You believe your right and all religions are wrong because of YOUR personal beliefs. This must be painful for atheists to read.

    November 14, 2013 at 6:26 pm |
    • Observer


      It's FAR EASIER to prove something exists than that it doesn't.

      It must be PAINFUL to realize how helpless you are with this EASIER task.

      November 14, 2013 at 6:39 pm |
      • L

        Atheists want religion gone from the face of the earth? They must provide evidence to all humans their right. So far, they act like any religious does not giving evidence while thinking religion is pointless and outdated. Atheists need the greatest amount of proof. Without that proof, atheism is just another religion you create and control with your own mind.

        November 14, 2013 at 7:18 pm |
        • corridorwatcher

          Its your job to prove your particular god is really there to all humans on earth. Its not the job of all humans on earth to prove your particular god exists.

          November 14, 2013 at 7:57 pm |
        • L

          Such a cop. In other words, atheism has no proof but atheists magically want religion gone without having evidence. Hmm. Something seems a little off here. Hmm.

          November 14, 2013 at 8:10 pm |
        • corridorwatcher

          Nothing magical about it. Just think. You have no evidence for your claim. And, of course anyone can believe anything.

          November 14, 2013 at 9:35 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      I've been hoping that someone would demonstrate knowledge of God, but the ones who should know ask if the rest of us know.

      November 14, 2013 at 7:03 pm |
      • Boop

        To Anyone
        The Devil is ruler of the earth. God has backed off of us some because
        we are turning evil, God is punishing us .PLEASE PLEASE study your Bible ALL answers are there.
        How many times you could have been hurt or killed in your life??? God was there.
        how many times driving you looked away and turned back to the road just in time not to hit something???
        God was there.Count your MANY blessings GOD has given you.

        November 15, 2013 at 7:42 am |
    • corridorwatcher

      You are making the claim that god exists. The ball is completely in your court. And while you are at it prove that Zeus is not the one true god and not whoever you think he is.

      November 14, 2013 at 7:53 pm |
      • L

        I didn't make a claim. You lose.

        November 14, 2013 at 8:11 pm |
        • corridorwatcher

          Saying that "god exist is a claim.

          November 14, 2013 at 9:32 pm |
    • corridorwatcher

      Painful only because it is sad that a grown adult would be so irrational based on beliefs from a barely intelligible book of mythological fictions.

      November 14, 2013 at 8:03 pm |
    • Roger that

      I never say "there is no god." There is no proof of a god. Now prove me wrong. I'll check back in 10 years or so to see if you have come up with any evidence.

      November 14, 2013 at 10:10 pm |
    • Russell's teapot

      L, the burden is on the person claiming god *does* exist, rather than on the non-believer to prove the negative. To use a famous illustration, I claim that there is a tiny teapot (too tiny to be detected) orbiting the sun. Prove me wrong. Does the fact that you cannot do so mean that there is in fact a teapot circling the sun, or that I have made even a weak case for the assertion? No, of course not.

      November 15, 2013 at 12:51 pm |
    • WASP

      @L: you should seriously ask a harder question. 🙂

      physics is an easy place to start to prove that no gods are possbile due to the fact that they violate the the laws of the universe.
      the fact that magic doesn't exsist is another great place to start, seeing everything done by a god be creating "something from nothing"; just like magic.
      alchemy is another good spot to go from, turning stones into bread, water into wine, etc etc etc can be done through science by shifting the placement of the atomic structure of any item; however alchemy can not be created simply by touching things.

      however my favorite proof is try what ELIJAH did in 1 KINGS VERSE 30-40............well minus the massacre at the end. 🙂
      FYI: elijah summoned your god to show himself; however with thousands of "christians" crying out to this "god" he does nothing.
      there is your proof of no gods.

      November 15, 2013 at 2:17 pm |
    • rational63

      "Nothing", by definition, leaves very little evidence of its existence or non-existence!

      November 18, 2013 at 9:17 am |
  11. Rick

    Mortals ask the question, "Where is God" and God is going to ask mortals-Where were you when Typhoon Haiyan hit Phillipines?

    November 14, 2013 at 4:55 pm |
    • Rick


      November 14, 2013 at 4:55 pm |
  12. Dyslexic doG

    CNN Report
    Scientists find signs of life in Australia dating back 3.48 billion years

    November 14, 2013 at 3:56 pm |
    • Science Works

      And believe it or not this comes out of Texas.

      “This is bigger than finding any dinosaur,” Chatterjee said. “This is what we’ve all searched for – the Holy Grail of science.”

      Thanks to regular and heavy comet and meteorite bombardment of Earth’s surface during its formative years 4 billion years ago

      Paper No. 300-5: Impact, RNA-Protein World and the Endoprebiotic Origin of Life https://gsa.confex.com/gsa/2013AM/webprogram/Paper222699.html


      November 14, 2013 at 4:09 pm |
  13. EnjaySea

    Q: Where was God in the Philippines?

    A: The same place it's always been - in the imagination of its believers.

    November 14, 2013 at 3:31 pm |
  14. AverageJoe76

    Hey, does this sound like a God?

    "Ahem! Listen.... if you want me to forgive you for being faulty, sinners – of my own creation AND in my image – I will need you to spill the blood of animals, then burn them so that I may salivate over it in heaven"

    "Ahem! Ooook..... Listen. I've become a bit of an animal-lover, and I've rethought the entire 'animal sacrafice thing'; How about I change into a baby human, and when I'm nice and ripe at 33yrs old, I'll get people to beat the living feces outta me, and hang me up on a cross where I'll die. THIS will be the sacrafice I need"

    "Because for some strange reason, I NEED a sacrafice. I – I mean..... there's no GODLIKE way for me to think around this. I need blood. Need it, need it, neeeeeeeed it"
    ( SIGH )

    "Y'know.... I should've just got rid of Adam and Eve, and started over. I really didn't need to go this route."

    November 14, 2013 at 1:49 pm |
    • L

      That's an immature way of looking at the bible. So I don't believe that atheists know more about the bible than most Christians.

      November 14, 2013 at 3:18 pm |
      • Dyslexic doG

        considering the bible is more infantile than most fairy tales, it seems a very apt way of looking at it ...

        November 14, 2013 at 3:58 pm |
      • EnjaySea

        It doesn't matter who knows more about the Bible. It would only matter if the Bible was shown to be authoritative, rather than a just a collection of essays, histories, poetry, and dreams written by men to convince other men that god exists.

        And it hasn't. The Bible claiming that the Bible is authoritative would not stand up in court.

        November 14, 2013 at 5:57 pm |
        • pitifulatheist

          "The Bible claiming that the Bible is authoritative would not stand up in court."

          People in court swear on the Bible and ask God to help them.

          November 14, 2013 at 6:55 pm |
        • midwest rail

          swearing on a bible has never been a requirement.

          November 14, 2013 at 6:58 pm |
      • corridorwatcher

        Have you read the story of Lot, whose wife was turned to a pillar of salt for looking back to see if her family made it out of the conflagration. And then sat by and watch without comment, Lot have s-ex with his daughters because they got him to drunk to know what he was doing, in order to carry on his blood line.

        November 14, 2013 at 8:08 pm |
      • AverageJoe76

        L, your God loves/ needs blood to wash away sin. And blood in itself is the 'life' flowing within us. And I'm not looking at this correctly?? Really??

        You need to reach down deep in yourself and ask if this sounds like a benevolent God.

        November 15, 2013 at 10:24 am |
  15. 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 admire your work. Kudos.

    November 14, 2013 at 1:27 pm |
  16. To CNN Editors

    The "Recent Comments" links are STILL not working. Please fix it.

    November 14, 2013 at 1:19 pm |
  17. L

    Where were all the "moral" atheists when this happened? That's right, sitting on their computers trolling people.

    November 14, 2013 at 12:17 pm |
    • Observer


      Maybe God was doing the same.

      November 14, 2013 at 12:18 pm |
      • Nope



        November 14, 2013 at 12:21 pm |
        • Observer


          Neither of us can PROVE our points. I said "maybe" and you PRETEND you know for sure. Try again.

          November 14, 2013 at 12:24 pm |
        • Nope

          And you were doing the same as what you said God was doing. Don't lie.

          November 14, 2013 at 12:26 pm |
        • Observer


          "And you were doing the same as what you said God was doing. Don't lie."

          Who is lying? Where did I say I wasn't? Where did I not say "maybe"?

          Is reading comprehension a big problem for you?

          November 14, 2013 at 12:41 pm |
      • L

        Atheists demand to know where God is but I demand to know where the "moral" atheists who think they are superior to all other humans, were at and why didn't they stop the deaths of thousands of people.

        November 14, 2013 at 12:44 pm |
        • Observer


          They did as much as you and God apparently did.

          November 14, 2013 at 12:48 pm |
        • Richard Cranium

          pointless troll.

          Why do you keep trying to blame atheists for everything?
          You do realize the two biggest philanthropists in 2012 were two atheists, right? With an agnostic close behind, right?
          silly troll

          November 14, 2013 at 12:49 pm |
        • L

          Nope. Atheists blame every Christian for all sorts of acts many did not commit. Most atheists here are just angry trolls.

          November 14, 2013 at 12:51 pm |
        • ME II

          That is a ridiculous question. No Atheists is claiming to have the ability to stop a natural disaster. Theists on the other hand are claiming that their supposed God does have the ability.

          November 14, 2013 at 12:54 pm |
        • L

          "Moral" atheists are liars. They don't want to help anyone. They claim to be moral to feel superior towards their fellow human being.

          November 14, 2013 at 12:55 pm |
        • Richard Cranium

          That is false also. Christianity is blamed. Religion is blamed. Certain Christians and other religious individuals are blamed.

          When someone cites their belief for the reason they do something, then the blame can be tied with the religion.
          When you try to do that with atheists, it falls flat since atheism is non-belief. Some atheist rulers have doen atrocious things, but they have reasons other than religious beliefs.

          What about those supposedly immoral atheists that top the list of philanthropists? Are you trying to say their contributions and donations are immoral, because they don't believe in your particular god?

          November 14, 2013 at 12:58 pm |
        • Observer


          "Moral" atheists are liars. They don't want to help anyone."

          Your comment is far beyond stupid. Supply ANY PROOF that atheists don't want help anyone. Tell us that atheists don't contribute to charities or raise money for others.

          You are just making a fool of yourself.

          November 14, 2013 at 12:59 pm |
        • L

          Atheistic communism is a brutal immoral act. atheism is bad and responsible for causing the deaths of millions of people. We should ban atheism now!

          November 14, 2013 at 1:00 pm |
        • Richard Cranium

          Silly silly troll. Again, atheism is not the cause of any atrocities. That is ridiculous. Neither atheism nor communism is brutla nor immoral. If you are referring to what happened in the Soviet Union, what happened was economic collapse causing widespread hunger and disease...to go even further it was the primarily christian USA that forced the collapse in the first place, so you can equally blame christians, when it was in fact political and economic.

          Since you are clearly just trolling and lying non-stop, and have no valid argument, I would advised all to just ignore this troll henceforth.

          November 14, 2013 at 1:05 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.


          November 14, 2013 at 1:09 pm |
        • Observer


          "Atheistic communism is a brutal immoral act."

          Let's see. When God got done with his mass-killing, there were ONLY 8 people left on the face of the earth. EVERY pregnant woman, child, baby, and fetus ALL DEAD.

          November 14, 2013 at 1:15 pm |
        • fred

          Richard Cranium
          "atheism is not the cause of any atrocities"
          =>sorry but according to Bible failure to remain in the presence of God is the cause of man made atrocities. You should know that this is true even if there is no God. If each and every person walked in perfect love and respect for others putting others needs before their own what atrocities could there be?

          November 14, 2013 at 1:15 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 a world full of hatred and violence than this hippy love-in.


          November 14, 2013 at 1:20 pm |
        •  you're our eary-bird winner today fred!

          You've done an outstanding job all in one post of demonstrating the fund Christian approach to inquiry and verification.
          This approach can be further simplified:


          November 14, 2013 at 1:21 pm |
        • L

          Stalin ordered the deaths of thousand of babies, children and women yet he was an atheist. He didn't want to give up his power thus his atheism caused him to do irrational and brutal things to HIS OWN COUNTRY. Atheism=bad. We should only allow atheists to be atheists in their homes and now their churches. You cannot openly talk about atheism in our schools, debate the existence of God, and in the public place. Keep your atheism to yourself. That means you cannot question, attack or ridicule religion. Atheists wouldn't like a taste of their own medicine.

          November 14, 2013 at 1:22 pm |
        • OTOH

          Richard Cranium,
          RE: @L
          "Since you are clearly just trolling and lying non-stop, and have no valid argument, I would advised all to just ignore this troll henceforth."

          Otoh, while @L might well be a troll (or even a Poe), he/she is SO easy to rebut and refute - a very useful idiot, as it were.

          November 14, 2013 at 1:26 pm |
        • Doris

          Blah blah blah- one could just as easily say Hitler was the perfect Christian. Is that how you assess different groups of people, different beliefs, L? Pick out some well-known criminal and then try to convince people that his values and state of mind represents others? For the people who carried out acts of atrocities in a regime where they were oppressed by such an individual – do do claim to also know their minds?

          You're generalizations are quite simply pathetic.

          November 14, 2013 at 1:29 pm |
        • In Santa we trust

          Many of the deaths attributed to Stalin were the result of failed policy, e.g. millions died of starvation in the Ukraine. Stalin was responsible for atrocities but not because he was an atheist, but because he was a ruthless totalitarian leader.
          And to your original point- the religious claim that their omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent god created the universe and all in it – therefore it created the typhoon or could have stopped it or redirected it – that's why atheists question your god because you credit it for good things but do not blame it for bad things. Even though you claim it is powerful enough to create the universe, change things via prayer, and generally do wonderful things. Unfortunately there is no evidence for a god.

          November 14, 2013 at 1:31 pm |
        • ME II

          "sorry but according to Bible failure to remain in the presence of God is the cause of man made atrocities. You should know that this is true even if there is no God. If each and every person walked in perfect love and respect for others putting others needs before their own what atrocities could there be?"

          It depends on what you mean by "perfect love and respect".
          Is 'no lying' paramount or is it better to lie sometimes, e.g. lie to the Nazis about hiding Ann Frank?
          Is freedom of conscious more important than well-being, e.g. religious parents withholding medical treatment from dying children?
          Is the state more important than the individual or vica versa, e.g. Anarchy vs. Totalitarianism?

          November 14, 2013 at 1:46 pm |
        • Richard Cranium

          One of the greatest atrocities ever commited on mankind was the creation of your bible.
          People clinging to the wild false claims held within its pages have caused far more destruction than any other single thing done by mankind. The history of your religion is the proof.

          Still believing in that fictional work is truly sad.

          November 14, 2013 at 1:52 pm |
        • Just the Facts Ma'am...

          What a laugh. A Christian claiming atheists believe themselves superior. Is it the atheist that says they have some special relationship with the creator of the universe and believe they communicate with it in their heads? Is it the atheist that believes this life is for everybody but only the elite like themselves get to move on from this plane of existence and enjoy some eternal etheral heaven? Is it the atheist who haughtily tells others that they should change their ways or suffer the wrath of their personaly deity?

          I cannot speak for other atheists because we are not some collective that associates together, we just all happen to not collect stamps together, but I donate both time and money to causes I research and feel are worthy. I pay my taxes for the services I enjoy each day even when I don't notice i'm using them like the police dept or the fire department, our roads and highways that are used to bring me good and get me to work each day. The social security check my grandmother recieves so that she doesn't have to live on my couch. Is there fraud in the system? Of course, but the CBO has estimated it's less than 6% of the medicare/medicaid and social security/food stamps programs. Of course I would want them to do more to eliminate the fraud all together but i'm happy to pay the 6% if it means the 94% that really need it are getting it. I don't have to be an atheist to figure that out, it just requires reading skills and being able to count.

          November 14, 2013 at 2:25 pm |
        • fred

          Richard Cranium
          "One of the greatest atrocities ever commited on mankind was the creation of your bible.
          People clinging to the wild false claims held within its pages have caused far more destruction than any other single thing done by mankind. The history of your religion is the proof."
          =>You cannot have it both ways. You cannot divorce Stalin / Mao etc from their godless mindset yet insist Christians act out of their belief. In short atheists fail when they claim actions of the godless do not reflect the core of their being while actions of Christians reflect the core of their being.
          =>Talk about denial of your personal bias and the bias of atheists. Certainly Christians have their bias also as do virtually all people.
          =>The Bible not only says do not kill we are to love and even love those who attack us constantly. If you refer to the Muslims that extracted Old Testament verses to support their actions they are in conflict with Jesus they claim is a great Prophet. People do terrible things and that is why we need redemption. The Bible is a clear reflection of mans atrocities over time and how few actually follow the way God made clear.

          November 14, 2013 at 2:59 pm |
        • Richard Cranium

          No it is you that can't have it both ways...christians do things based on their beliefs all the time, in gods name, this , in jesus name that.

          Atheists do things based on other things, not a disbelief in gods. No one does anything based on not believing in something.
          No atheist ever did anything saying " I do this because there are no gods"
          Grow up Fred.

          November 14, 2013 at 3:03 pm |
        • ME II

          "You cannot have it both ways. You cannot divorce Stalin / Mao etc from their godless mindset yet insist Christians act out of their belief. In short atheists fail when they claim actions of the godless do not reflect the core of their being while actions of Christians reflect the core of their being."

          I disagree. Atheism does not promote any particular actions or behaviors, but religions do. Therefore, while Atheists cannot claim their actions or behaviors are in line with Atheism, Theists can make such a claim, whether you agree that it is accurate or not, thus linking their actions to their religion.

          November 14, 2013 at 3:09 pm |
        • fred

          ME II

          "Is 'no lying' paramount or is it better to lie sometimes, e.g. lie to the Nazis about hiding Ann Frank?"
          =>That situation arose because the Nazis were not of God and acted as those who do not honor God act and think. There is no cause for lying in the presence of God. Adam and Eve were pure and thus could "walk" with God. Once away from God they realized they were naked and hid.

          "Is freedom of conscious more important than well-being, e.g. religious parents withholding medical treatment from dying children?" Your example is bad because withholding medical treatment is "testing God" which is a temptation not correct action. Freedom is being in Christ or on that path "the way" Jesus made clear to all. When you fully follow you have full freedom as everything is working in your favor. Freedom is not the ability to choose a new BMW instead of feeding the hungry but rather the overwhelming joy over the opportunity to be in a position to feed others.

          "Is the state more important than the individual or vica versa, e.g. Anarchy vs. Totalitarianism?"
          =>again this decision comes because we are a broken people. In the Bible it was the people who demanded a King like the other nations had (God was their King at the time). God warned them what the consequence would be but let them have their King as they insisted. If God is not King then "Anarchy or Totalitarianism" will be a reality. The individual is more important than the state yet the state is necessary when people reject absolute truth.

          November 14, 2013 at 3:25 pm |
        • fred

          Richard Cranium

          "Atheists do things based on other things, not a disbelief in gods"
          =>Nonsense ! You cannot separate your core belief from your actions. If you believe life is an accident of nature you will and do respond different than a belief that your life is intentional, that existence is intentional. What are your "other things" .....some unknown relative moral light created through a combination of Eastern Religions and Love of Christ?
          =>You simply replaced a 10,000 year history concerning revelations of God with "other things" that filled your soul. Perhaps that also was not comfortable because you cannot touch or measure your soul so faith in "other things" removed your soul. The Bible calls it a heart of stone.

          November 14, 2013 at 3:47 pm |
        • fred

          ME II

          "Atheism does not promote any particular actions or behaviors"
          =>Oh, so all atheists are not materialists?
          =>Richard Dawkins does not promote a belief?
          =>Removal of 10 commandments, Crosses and prayer from public schools is not a core doctrine for atheists. Yes, I know just like Stalin was simply a man not an atheist the doctrine of no God in public is a constitution thing not atheist doctrine.

          November 14, 2013 at 3:58 pm |
        • ME II

          -But, the Nazis were "of God" in their minds.
          -The parents were not 'testing God', but were simply following God's laws, at least in their minds.
          -"In the Bible" is hardly evidence. (Regardless, the people asked Samuel, if that's what you're referring to, for a king instead of his first appointments, his son's, who were corrupt. If God had been such a good "king", via Samuel, then why did He appoint Samuel's sons in the first place?)

          My point is, as I stated, it depends on how you define "perfect love". Even the golden rule runs into problems if one person desire to be treated a certain way conflicts with another's, e.g. is it love to call everyone a "sinner" or to tell everyone they deserve to go to hell? Even if everyone agreed with that some would want to be reminded, but some wouldn't. Just like some people want to be told when the aren't looking their best and others are infuriated by it, e.g. "you look fine, honey."

          I guess the real question would be, is there even such a thing as "perfect love"? Especially when it is a subject emotion.

          November 14, 2013 at 4:03 pm |
        • ME II

          "Oh, so all atheists are not materialists?"

          Not by definition, no. e.g. Buddhists.

          "Richard Dawkins does not promote a belief?"

          1) Dawkins does not define Atheism.
          2) He promotes science and quite a few opinions, not all of which are agreed to by all Atheists.

          "Removal of 10 commandments, Crosses and prayer from public schools is not a core doctrine for atheists."

          1) Atheism does not have a doctrine.
          2) It's not just Atheists that are or should be concerned with crosses; it's also Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, and anyone who agrees that the best way to protect freedom of religion is to the church and the state separate.

          "Yes, I know just like Stalin was simply a man not an atheist the doctrine of no God in public is a consti[]tution thing not atheist doctrine."

          So why bring it up?
          And, I'm sure just like Torquemada the rack is not a Christian thing.

          November 14, 2013 at 4:14 pm |
        • fred

          ME II
          We do not know perfect love and Jesus said no one is good but God. That is the mind set of a believer (we are a fallen sinful people incapable of perfect love). By faith we accept Christ has bridged that gap for us leaving the Holy Spirit within to guide us in the way of perfect love.

          "But, the Nazis were "of God" in their minds."
          =>And Jesus said I don't know you to the likes of the Nazis. It is a relationship with God not misguided thinking of the mind. How did the Nazis get around the Sermon on the Mount where to hate someone is murder in the eyes of God. Take Fred Phelps pastor Westboro Baptist who in his mind is Christian yet action is inconsistent with the Sermon on the Mount.

          One must see the absolute standard (perfect love) and recognize their relative position. The moment we cannot see that we fall short we are on our own path not "the way, the truth and the life".
          The atheist / Christian mindset that looses this perspective is not in the presence of God. Last I heard it is universal for atheists to claim there is no absolute truth. Is this your mindset? If there is no absolute truth you cannot fall short and thus never need a savior.
          In the same way once God was no longer the "King" to His people man took his place.

          November 14, 2013 at 4:41 pm |
        • WASP

          @L: where were you? are you on your way there to help those poor souls? the funny part of this is that the phillipines and haiti are both religous countries, yet your god saw fit to kill thousands of them

          November 15, 2013 at 2:27 pm |
      • corridorwatcher

        He was watching on CNN on his high def., that is if he wasn't busy looking at p-orn.

        November 14, 2013 at 9:38 pm |
    • Maddy

      I don't know...your posts are meant to inflame; one of the definitions of a troll.

      November 14, 2013 at 12:26 pm |
    • Cal

      Are you implying anybody, athiest or otherwise, could have helped DURING the storm.

      November 14, 2013 at 12:28 pm |
      • L

        "Moral" atheists didn't stop the storm from happening but blame God who they think doesn't exist for not doing anything. They just sat in their homes while doing nothing. "Moral" atheists are liars.

        November 14, 2013 at 12:31 pm |
        • Youtube - Neil DeGrasse Tyson rebukes Richard Dawkins

          God does not exists, so there is no one for atheists to blame. However, if God did exist, then we would ask how could He let this happen, along with the other atrocities such as the Boxer Day tsunami, the Hol ocaust, etc.

          November 14, 2013 at 12:35 pm |
        • L

          That's your opinion and belief yet you say it like its a fact. How typical. Atheists aren't any different from any religious group on earth.

          November 14, 2013 at 12:36 pm |
        • Observer


          Please get a dictionary and look up the word "atheist" which you do not understand.

          NO ATHEIST ever blamed God for anything.

          Wake up!

          November 14, 2013 at 12:43 pm |
        • L

          Proof is in the pudding, observer.

          November 14, 2013 at 12:46 pm |
        • Get Real


          When atheists and agnostics talk to believers we use your wording. I know you get confused easily, though, and that's why I always try to specify by saying, "your 'God' character" or "this alleged 'God'" or something like that.

          November 14, 2013 at 12:54 pm |
        • L

          Oh, it's no mistake. Atheists know exactly what they are referring to and most of it is related to God. Stop lying.

          November 14, 2013 at 12:57 pm |
        • Get Real


          I have decided not to call you derogatory names (after counting to 10... several times). Please get real.

          November 14, 2013 at 1:15 pm |
        • L

          YOU should get real. Wake up, man!

          November 14, 2013 at 1:17 pm |
        • Just the Facts Ma'am...

          "blame God who they think doesn't exist for not doing anything."

          I can see the logic centers of your brain must be damaged as this statement makes no sense. As an atheist I do not blame a God I don't believe exists. I do however point out to those who are making the claim that he does exist that in the face of tragedy it is unlikely the God described by Christians or any religion could just stand by and let the babies and small children suffer and die. I do blame the religious for relying on faith and prayer for aid when I believe that to be about as effective as sugar pills to treat disease, and yes, I do know that the placebo effect actually will have some people who will claim the sugar pill worked, do i think the sugar pill was magically transformed into the right medicine? No, but there is power in positive thinking and this is the only power religion wields, they just call it God and rake in profits from those who can't tell the difference.

          November 14, 2013 at 2:53 pm |
        • corridorwatcher

          Your god promise after the flood that we wouldn't do such things again. Are you saying that something else did it, but god was unable to stop it?

          November 14, 2013 at 8:14 pm |
    • God

      OK, it's true – I was trolling. Of course Satan and I easily tire of these mindless games. We actually prefer chess.

      November 14, 2013 at 12:40 pm |
      • corridorwatcher

        Or screwing with people like Job?

        November 14, 2013 at 8:16 pm |
      • a reasonable atheist

        Or testing some poor sod's faith by murdering his family.

        November 14, 2013 at 8:17 pm |
        • a reasonable atheist

          Whoa, total synchronicity.

          November 14, 2013 at 8:18 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Human beings do not control the weather.
      God, being the omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent Creator – DOES control the weather.
      He is God, after all...

      And the "moral atheists" were the first on the ground as part of secular relief organizations like the Red Cross, UNICEF, and Doctors Without Borders.

      November 14, 2013 at 12:55 pm |
    • AverageJoe76

      I was probably being a helpless human witnessing the might of a category 5 hurricane on TV. What were you doing? Praying? Did it work? Guy in the picture says different.

      November 14, 2013 at 1:53 pm |
    • Salero21

      That's because atheism is stupidity in Full bloom in any and all Seasons.

      November 14, 2013 at 3:05 pm |
  18. Cal

    Silly question. Being omnipresent, He was there and everywhere esle at the same time.

    November 14, 2013 at 11:53 am |
    • corridorwatcher

      Collecting virgins for the suicide bombers, no doubt...

      November 14, 2013 at 8:18 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.