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

Where was God in the Philippines?

By Daniel Burke, CNN Belief Blog Co-editor

[twitter-follow screen_name='BurkeCNN']

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"They’re thorny theological issues."

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

READ: How to help victims of Typhoon Haiyan 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

- CNN Religion Editor

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

soundoff (3,827 Responses)
  1. Colin

    GuyfromVA

    Evolution is taught in every major university and college biology program in the World. Not 99% of them, but EVERY one. Universities with extensive evolutionary biology departments include Oxford University, Cambridge University and the Imperial College in England, the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in Germany, the École Normale Supérieure and École Polythecnique in France and Leiden University in the Netherlands and the Swiss Federal Insti.tute of Technology in Switzerland. This is just a sample. ALL university and colleges in Europe teach evolution as a fundamental component of biology.

    The number of universities and colleges in Europe with a creation science department: ZERO. The number of tenured or even paid professors who teach creation science at any of these universities or colleges: ZERO

    In the United States, the following Universities have extensive evolutionary biology departments staffed by thousands of the most gifted biologists in the World; Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Colombia, Duke, the Massachusetts Insti.tute of Technology, Brown, Stanford, Berkley, and the University of Chicago. These are just some of the more prestigious examples. Again, ALL university and colleges in the USA with tertiary level biology classes teach evolution as a fundamental component of biology.

    The number of universities and colleges in the United States with a creation science department: ZERO The number of tenured or even paid professors who teach creation science at any of these universities or colleges: ZERO

    In Australia and Asia, the following universities and colleges have extensive evolutionary biology departments manned by more of the most gifted biological scientists in the World; Monash University in Melbourne, The University of New South Wales, Kyoto University in Ja.pan, Peking University in China, Seoul University in Korea, the University of Singapore, National Taiwan University, The Australian National University, The University of Melbourne, and the University of Sydney.

    The number of universities and colleges in Australia and Asia with a creation science department: ZERO The number of tenured or even paid professors who teach creation science at any of these universities or colleges: ZERO

    The most prestigious scientific publications in the Western World generally accessible to the public include: The Journal of the American Medical Association, the New England Journal of Medicine, Scientific American, Science, New Scientist, Cosmos and Live Science.

    Every month, one or more of them publishes a peer reviewed article highlighting the latest developments in evolution. The amount of any creationist science articles published in ANY of these prestigious publications; ZERO.

    I could repeat the above exercise for the following disciplines, all of which would have to be turned on their heads to accommodate creation science – paleontology, archeology, geology, botany, marine biology, astronomy, medicine, cosmology and historical linguistics.

    There appears to be three possible explanations for this:

    (i) there is a worldwide conspiracy of universities, colleges and academic publications, including all their tens of thousands of professors, editors, reviewers, and support staff, to deny creation science;

    (ii) you, GuyFromVA, have a startling new piece of evidence that was right before our eyes that will turn accepted biological science and about 10 other sciences on their heads if ONLY people would listen to you, no doubt earning you a Nobel Prize and a place in history beside the likes of Darwin, Newton and Einstein; or

    (iii) you are a complete blowhard who has never studied one subject of university level biology, never been on an archeological dig, never studied a thing about paleontology, geology, astronomy, linguistics or archeology, but feel perfectly sure that you know more than the best biologists, archeologists, paleontologists, doctors, astronomers botanists and linguists in the World because your mommy and daddy taught you some comforting stories from Bronze Age Palestine as a child.

    I know which alternative my money is on. Please die violently and soon.

    November 11, 2013 at 1:22 pm |
    • beegirl950

      Perfectly and logically presented Colin. Well Done!! And I vote for the third option in regards to the guy from VA.

      November 11, 2013 at 1:44 pm |
    • Greg

      Colin,

      "Please die violently and soon". Up until you added that zinger on the end, your post was well written. Now you have shown us your true spirit of hate.

      There is no "Science of Creation" because all science exists to study creation.

      Evolution itself is a science that studies the creation of life. You are a creation. You can learn about evolution, you can learn about yourself, and you can learn anything you want in this giant universe. It's all there, created for you to observe.

      You who does not even have the ability to make a termite, coming here to boast that there is no God.

      Your lengthy post does nothing to tell us how many of these researchers and scientists believe in God, and how many of them have found that to be increasingly true as they continue their work.

      As for proof of the theory of evolution, using scientific method that requires "observable evidence" that a species has ever changed form. Try it sometime. The scientists will generally point to the Stickleback fish that's "evolved" with adaptations. However, these do not suggest a change of type – that were fish, and they still are fish. Ask for any scientifically validated observation that there has been a change in type – as Darwin theorized. There is NO SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE OR PROOF OF THE THEORY OF EVOLUTION. It is a theory lacking observable proof, and the minute you start speaking with the people in the profession about this you'll start hearing a lot of stutters and some wild reaching for explanations.

      You see, these scientists and educators are using the principle of FAITH to decide what to believe in. They don't have proof of God, and they don't have proof of Evolution, and if they did it wouldn't disprove God anyway.

      So you can put your faith in the scientists and educators trying to match up their worldly theories with the factual realities of creation, or you can put your faith in the Creator.

      Either way, faith is required. Either way, humanity will always benefit from research and understanding about the world around us that is so incredibly complex. Here we are, humans that can't even explain how to build a termite, in a universe that led to the creation of something very valuable and specific:

      YOU

      November 12, 2013 at 4:41 pm |
  2. Free Man in the Republic of Texas

    Where was God in the Philippines?

    For in Him we live and move and exist.
    Acts 17:28

    I am the Alpha and the Omega,
    the first and the last,
    the beginning and the end.
    Revelation 22:13

    November 11, 2013 at 1:20 pm |
    • Get Real

      For "He" is also pretty stupid and will tell people to cure leprosy with dove's blood and special anointing on the victim's toes.

      November 11, 2013 at 1:44 pm |
    • Dan

      Unfortunately, your biblical quotes do nothing to prove your point. The bible is largely fiction. People around the world fervently believe it, yet most of them know almost nothing about the origins of the book. If you did, you wouldn't believe it to be absolute truth. The book that we now call the bible is actually a collection of stories written by people who never met Jesus. The Catholic Church (in the days before it split into the many Christian faiths that exist today) hand picked what would and would not be included in The Bible, and even that collection has changed over the centuries. Even today, depending on what Christian faith you practice, the Bible varies significantly.
      All of that aside, my biggest problem with the justification of God's inaction when something like this happens is that according to religion, God has absolute power and can do anything he wants. I submit to you, that we, as humans, are held to a higher standard than God. If, for example, I stood at the side of a pool and watched one of my children drown, I doubt very much that the police would accept "I work in mysterious ways" as an explanation for why I allowed him to drown.
      The fact is, people are afraid of death and religion is a natural reaction by humans to the knowledge of their own mortality. While I absolutely respect your right to freedom of religion, I must disagree with you. There is no god. When you die, you will simply cease to exist. People should do good things in their life simply because there is inherent value in goodness, not because some fairytale creature will punish you if you don't.

      November 11, 2013 at 1:48 pm |
      • guyFromVA

        I'm afraid you've imbibed from some of the many sources of misinformation about Christian history from the internet. The books of the new testament were immediately received by the early church as authoritative and canonical. The church held councils because of heretics rising up wanting to include gnostic "gospels" which were popping up, and they merely reaffirmed what was already recognized by the early church. It has been said you could reconstruct the new testament by piecing together citations from the writings of the post-apostolic fathers. To say that the church councils created the canonical list of books to be included is utter nonsense and revisionist.

        November 11, 2013 at 10:20 pm |
        • G to the T

          Wow – I couldn't disagree more. Paul's church was not the majority, nor were the gospels that were finally included in the canon written by eye-witnesses. Paul's "proto-orthodox" church won in the end to be sure, but that probably had more to do with being situated in the power center of Rome than it had to do with "right doctrine". Face it, the other "lost" christianties had their own gospels, and had just as much claim to them having been written by the apostles they claimed for authorship. It was the christian church that revised history and it's taken us nearly a thousand years to start piecing it back together again (Oh and FYI – "gnostic" is a label for a very broad group of christians, not just one particular "brand").

          November 12, 2013 at 3:21 pm |
        • G to the T

          P.S. – the "canon" wasn't established until hundreds of years after the death of jesus. The first mention of a PROPOSED canon is in the mid-300 but it wasn't until almost 700CE before it was "official". Even then, the translations/version of the variuos gospels varied significantly until the creation of movable type allowed for higher fidelity in duplicates.

          November 12, 2013 at 3:24 pm |
  3. Colin

    The people who were saved were saved through the sciences of meteorology, satellite mapping, telecommunications, all which warned of and predicted the path of the storm’s approach. Medical science then helped in the aftermath.

    Religion, well it did fvck all.

    November 11, 2013 at 1:19 pm |
    • Alias

      Still not a valid argument.
      I have never seen any christian church actually preach that god was each of their personal servants and obligated to answer any/all prayers inatantly.
      There are lots of good reasons not to believe in god. This is not one of them.

      November 11, 2013 at 1:26 pm |
      • 668NeighborOfTheBeast

        However, I have heard many sects of Christianity claim belief in a benevolent and omnipotent God. If God had both the will and power to preven this tragedy, it would not have happened. If God had the power but lacked the will, then he is not benevolent; if he had the will but not the power, then why call him God?

        November 11, 2013 at 2:57 pm |
        • guyFromVA

          This old "problem of evil" has been refuted many times by theists. I'm surprised this still comes up.

          November 11, 2013 at 11:17 pm |
        • G to the T

          Guy – and that answer is?

          November 12, 2013 at 3:27 pm |
    • PaC

      Sciences of meteorology, satellite mapping, telecommunications, and medicine are generally supported and encouraged by religious people. Religious people have probably done more than you have in those fields.

      November 11, 2013 at 1:31 pm |
  4. delresa

    God is life. Life is about cause and effect. Praying is hope but you still need action. God works in our life if we choose it to be so. By helping out your fellow man you are letting god work through you. By hurting your fellow man you have allowed the Devil (so to speak) to rule your life. We have free will and what we reep is what we sow. There is no man in the sky saying you are good you are bad you are granted life you will die. Life is unpredictable the best way to feel god is to be good do good and love the life you have for it is not promised.

    November 11, 2013 at 1:18 pm |
    • Observer

      "We have free will and what we reep is what we sow.'

      So that's why 10,000 people died. Just the bad ones, right?

      November 11, 2013 at 1:20 pm |
      • G to the T

        This is where the classic christian cop out comes into play – "They'll get their rewards in the next life".

        Every christian theology I've seen about this (suffering) has the odd attribute of being exactly the same as if there was no god in the first place. In other words, the outcome is always indistiguishable from what it would be if there wasn't a god in the first place... neat trick that.

        November 12, 2013 at 12:57 pm |
  5. Wootings

    "where was God when the storm hit?'

    Same place he always is. In your imagination.

    November 11, 2013 at 1:16 pm |
  6. science gives people hope

    Scientific (factual) explanations gradually replace more and more religious dogma (made-up explanations that the public is eager to accept when there are no other explanations at the time). This is a good thing. It fills me with hope that some day, there will be no more Pat Robertsons around taking money from the innocent and using it fraudulently to supply his diamond-mining operations in Africa (but they were gonna be a necklace fer Jeeeezus). The next time someone says you need religion to give people hope, tell them that.

    November 11, 2013 at 1:14 pm |
    • jon

      Their answer is always: "God works in mysterious ways." That seems to satisfy them. ????

      November 11, 2013 at 1:20 pm |
  7. Sam

    The answer is simple... there is no God nor has there ever been a God.

    November 11, 2013 at 1:13 pm |
  8. Sergie Kent

    I know its a waste of energy but I will go ahead and say it anyway. The human mind is a fantastic tool for ordinary life. It is worthless when it comes to assessing true infinity. A carpenter's tape measure works well when dealing with household distances. It is not helpful with interstellar ones. True we have tools that can measure interstellar distances but none that can turn stars on or off. To say that one worships some 'being' that is infinite, omnipotent, and omniscient, and then to assume that because that 'being' does not comply with our wishes or behave according to our expected human norms, that it could not exist is so absurd. The fact people do it is proof positive of the need for something that is so beyond their comprehension as to be inaccessible. No God (no matter what human name or human gender or human characteristics you give "it" is bound by silly little human rules, needs, wishes or norms. In almost all human games, there is both skill to reward good decisions and practice and random chance to keep things interesting. In life there is free will to make good and bad decisions and random chance. Those are apparently part of The Rules. Make bad decisions, (poor skills) or be in the wrong place at the wrong time (bad throw of the dice, bad bounce of a ball) and bad stuff happens (lose the game). In American style football, a kicked ball can bounce unpredictably. If the ball goes the "wrong" way and the safety misses catching it and making a big gain and you lose a game is, well, part of the game. Blaming the architect who designed the stadium where you played, or the company who maintained the artificial turf for that bad bounce is just as silly as the above rants about how this is all God's "fault" so he therefore he can't then exist.

    November 11, 2013 at 1:11 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      'The fact people do it is proof positive of the need for something that is so beyond their comprehension as to be inaccessible. '
      that just shows some people need something to help them cope with life, not that a deity of any kind actually exists.

      'Blaming the architect who designed the stadium where you played, or the company who maintained the artificial turf for that bad bounce is just as silly as the above rants about how this is all God's "fault" so he therefore he can't then exist.'

      and yet it doesnt stop believers wish to claim the architect was behind a friendly bounce

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

        dude – clue in – god is only there when good things happen

        November 11, 2013 at 1:23 pm |
    • CommonSensed

      So god exists, let's you suffer due to bad luck and hates football.

      Or did I get that wrong?

      November 11, 2013 at 1:21 pm |
      • Mart

        He had a real hate on for the Cowboys after last nights display

        November 11, 2013 at 2:24 pm |
  9. Starmar13

    Where was God in the Philippines? Everywhere. We can discuss and debate and express our thoughts and opinions for as long as we want. It doesn't change a thing. God just goes on and on infinitely and eternally. Your opinions and thoughts don't change a thing. God is everywhere. God is everything. *** And no, I am not a Christian, or any other religion.

    November 11, 2013 at 1:11 pm |
    • brainwashed christians

      God is only in you imagination.

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

      Is god in pedophiles and serial killers? Is god in jello? Is god in the manipulated currency of a central bank? is god in your underwear?

      November 11, 2013 at 1:23 pm |
      • Charm Quark

        God put silver nanoparticles in my underwear, nasty b!tch that he is.

        November 11, 2013 at 1:35 pm |
        • cedar rapids

          no, that was me, sorry. it seemed funny at the time.

          November 11, 2013 at 1:37 pm |
      • marshall

        I think you're confusing pedophiles for rapists. To answer your question 'is god in pedophiles' well since god impregnated marry at 12 years old yes god is in pedophiles.

        November 12, 2013 at 4:47 am |
    • G to the T

      Then you should really use "god" or "gods" instead of "God". A picky point but most christians assume you mean "El/Yahweh" when you use the capital "g". Unless you did, in which case you are a christian (or a jew I suppose).

      November 12, 2013 at 3:48 pm |
  10. Huh?

    So God can't control natural disasters? God can only control canned food drives? Makes perfect sense.

    November 11, 2013 at 1:10 pm |
    • George70

      Who said He couldn't control them?

      November 11, 2013 at 1:18 pm |
    • brainwashed christians

      Don't forget football scores.

      November 11, 2013 at 1:21 pm |
    • frauds for gods

      Since god is all-knowing, all-powerful, and loving, by fundamentalist 'reasoning', the innocent newborns that died in that monstrous storm had it coming too. Unless, those newborns weren't as innocent as we'd like to think... what if they were plottin' agin' Jeeeezus? Why, gawwwwd wouldn't have any other choice but to smite them, right? Or what if Jeeeezus was lying when he said he took on all the sins of mankind and so (as Billy Graham liked to say so often) those infants were paying for the sins of their ancestors? Only a simple fool could believe fundamentalist dogma. That is why fundamentalist 'authoities' have such an easy time committing fraud (innocent, easily-fooled victims). Franklin pocketing millions from church donations is already a public disgrace that has scarcely flowed the donations. Pat Robertson and his fraudulent use of church donations to fund his diamond-mining operations in Africa under the guise of feeding starving Africans. It is sad how these frauds can get away with taking advantage of innocent, simple, trusting, generous people whose only failing is they are not wise to the ways of serpents. It make me sick.

      November 11, 2013 at 2:40 pm |
  11. elmgreen11

    Super-Typhoon Haiyan proves that the Flying Spaghetti Monster does exist!

    November 11, 2013 at 1:09 pm |
  12. derp

    God is punishing the Philippinos for their acceptance of the gay lifestyle.

    Well, that or he does not exist and it was just nature doing what it has been doing for several billion years before man made up the idea of gods.

    November 11, 2013 at 1:09 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      He thought he was aiming for Philadelphia but didnt have his glasses on.

      November 11, 2013 at 1:22 pm |
    • derp

      He got us last year with Sandy.

      November 11, 2013 at 1:23 pm |
  13. Dan

    What is it with CNN and attacking Christianity?? My goodness what a silly article

    November 11, 2013 at 1:08 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      It has something to do with Christianity being a really bad thing.

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

      Dan,

      Yep. It's much better to pretend that every good thing in the world is God's work and every bad thing he had nothing to do with.

      November 11, 2013 at 1:10 pm |
    • CommonSensed

      Do you perceive all questions regarding the validity of your religion an attack?

      If so, question why you follow such a fragile religion.

      November 11, 2013 at 1:14 pm |
    • ME II

      @Dan,
      The only reason you think this article was attacking Christianity is because Christianity doesn't have a good answer.

      November 11, 2013 at 1:21 pm |
    • i bee leeve in tinkerbelle jeeezus

      Christianity and fundamentalist dogma are entirely different things. Fundamentalists are fading because their dogma is mostly untrue and facts (science) are exposing their misguided (being kind here) notions. The world is not flat, there are no witches, natural disasters are not caused by a magic being with anger-management issues, people who hear voices are not hearing gawwwwwd they have are schizophrenic. Beliefs are hard to shake. Every charismatic leader knows this and exploits it (Hitler, Billy Graham, Jim Jones, Jerky Foulwells, Joel O).

      November 11, 2013 at 1:23 pm |
    • Charm Quark

      Dan
      Love how your Christian gang always jump to the conclusion that it is only your delusion of god that is being criticized, where is any of the many gods, just residing in their story books as always. Lets see how the RCC reacts to this tragedy, perhaps they will return some of the funds that they have been robbing from the people for hundreds of years.

      November 11, 2013 at 1:25 pm |
    • lets all clap real loud

      Let's all run to church and clap our hands and stomp real loud and sing... otherwise He will disappear. Tinkerbelle Jeeeezus. I bee-leeev in fairies I do beee-leeeve in fairies. It always leaves me feelin' all warm inside. I just love how you can pretend and if you do it long enough you believe it's real. Thank you Tinkerbelle. Any bad things that happen can't have anything to do with gawwwwwd. I have to find someone else to blame... otherwise I might start wondering if gawwwd really exists. Oh... there I go again. I dooo bee leeeve in fairies.....

      November 11, 2013 at 1:37 pm |
    • Jackie

      Please spare me the persecution complex. Where's your outrage regarding the question being put to the Muslim, Jew and Buddhist in the article?

      November 12, 2013 at 7:52 pm |
  14. Alien Orifice

    Why do random, non-offensive posts keep disappearing? That didn't use to happen. Lame.

    November 11, 2013 at 1:06 pm |
  15. Melissa Brewer

    I'd like to know where is God AFTER the hurricane? Where are the churches and relief organizations gathering relief supplies? Why aren't the televangelists forking over millions of dollars to help the needy?

    November 11, 2013 at 1:06 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      Priorities.

      It is Billy's birthday.

      November 11, 2013 at 1:07 pm |
      • brown skin is a seee-yun

        Billy's followers wouldn't feel comfortable if their leader hinted that their gawwwd was also the gawwwd of those brown-skinned islanders... dark skin bein' a sign of evil and all ...

        November 11, 2013 at 1:29 pm |
        • John the Blabtist

          Now, now... our Jeeeezus is a fair Jeeeezus. Gawwwwd made a separate little heaven for people who don't look like us (his chosen people).

          November 11, 2013 at 1:31 pm |
    • CommonSensed

      Too busy praying away the gay.

      November 11, 2013 at 1:14 pm |
      • just submit and be a good slave wife

        My pastor told me that really works, so it has to be true. He says that a woman can wake up one day and say: "I think I'm gonna be quaaar today". The next day, he can just say: "Even though I prefer sleeping with women, I'm gonna become straight today." Poof... jest like that, she'll want to lay with a man and become his wife." Life is so simple when I listen to my pastor. That's why I quit reading and watching the news and Hollywood anti-christian propoganda just like my pastor suggested. I don't do no thinkin' stuff... he does it for me. I encourage all wimmin to do like me. It is all so easy.

        November 11, 2013 at 1:45 pm |
  16. Colin

    Bereaved Filipino: God, you killed my little girl. The hurricane ripped her out of my arms and dashed her against a tree. Why, oh Lord? I have been a good Catholic all my life. I have kept your commandments and attended church every Sunday.

    God: It’s all part of my “grand plan” for you. Your small mind cannot comprehend such matters.

    Bereaved Filipino: Try me. You killed my little girl! You expect me to turn up at church next week and acknowledge and praise your endless love. I think you owe me an explanation. She was only five years old!

    God: I was moving in mysterious ways.

    Bereaved Filipino: What the hell does that mean?

    God: Well, I kill thousands of small children all over the planet every day, and if I say I am “moving in mysterious ways,” for some reason people stop asking questions and go back to worshipping me. My most common method is starvation. I also use wars, preventable disease and miscellaneous acts of violence.

    Bereaved Filipino: I can’t believe what I’m hearing.

    God: Yeah, it’s pretty rare that I speak so frankly. Look, if it makes you feel any better, tell yourself it was Satan’s work. Satan sent the hurricane, I just sat back and did a quick miracle to save that church cross you see in all those photos to demonstrate my omnipotence. I did the same thing with the cross I miraculously left standing at Ground Zero, having allowed Muslim terrorists to murder 3,000 people.

    Bereaved Filipino: But you’re God! You just said you’re omnipotent, you could have stopped Satan.

    God: Ok, you’ve got me there. Look kid, the truth is, I don’t exist. I never have. Wasn’t it obvious to you that you made me when I seemed to love all the same things you love and hate all the same things you hate? Haven’t you noticed that every culture that has ever existed has had its own gods and they all seem to favor that particular culture, its hopes, dreams, and prejudices? Do you think we all exist? If not, why only yours?

    Bereaved Filipino: That’s a shame, because I intended to give you a free pass. I was going to still believe in you, despite everything telling me you are nonsense, simply because I have nowhere else to go. The cold hard truth of my daughter’s death – and my own mortality – is pretty tough to face. And look at it from my perspective, I have been taught my whole life to believe in you and told I must never question you, so I accepted it when they told me it was wrong to doubt.

    God: Well, look at it from my perspective. How long would I last if I positively promoted free thought, healthy skepticism, and independent inquiry? You people would see right through me in a minute. Ever noticed that there is not one passage in the Bible in praise of intelligence and open enquiry?

    Bereaved Filipino: Ok, I have to go now. My wife needs me. We have a little girl to bury.

    God: Good luck. I’ll say a prayer for you. Hey, even I need a god sometimes.

    November 11, 2013 at 1:05 pm |
    • PaC

      Ironic that you use imaginary people and stories to try and make a point so much! (Just like the Bible) 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

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

        Ironic that you post that his post is ironic.

        November 11, 2013 at 1:15 pm |
      • Colin

        You can compare to to that odious tome the day I claim I heard a snake talking or that it is ok to r.ape a virgin from a neighboring tribe.

        November 11, 2013 at 1:15 pm |
        • PaC

          A talking snake is probably more real than what you imagine a "Bereaved Filipino" and "God" would discuss.

          November 11, 2013 at 1:21 pm |
    • guyFromVA

      A very creative piece. Nobody ever said skeptics/unbelievers don't have vivid imaginations.

      November 11, 2013 at 1:17 pm |
      • guyFromVA

        After all, evolution is the grandest fairy tale of them all, and requires fertile imaginations to dream up.

        November 11, 2013 at 1:19 pm |
        • PaC

          No sh.it.

          November 11, 2013 at 1:22 pm |
        • ME II

          @guyFronVA,
          The scientific theory of Evolution has plenty of evidence to support it.

          November 11, 2013 at 1:22 pm |
        • cedar rapids

          compared to what? talking snakes, burning bushes, walking on water and magical superbeings?

          November 11, 2013 at 1:23 pm |
        • brainwashed christians

          Unlike your imaginary sky daddy who will punish you in the fires of an imaginary heII

          November 11, 2013 at 1:24 pm |
      • will not give money to frauds

        I too bee-leeeve every word revealed to us by the schizophrenics who heard voices thousands of years ago when people were ignorant enough to believe that they were hearing gawwwwwd talking. Yessir. I have no doubt in my mind that the good lord had to create mental illnesses for that purpose. He could have visited every living person individually (all-powerful, right) and removed any bit of doubt that he existed... heck he could have animated the moon with his own smiling face for all to see. Look, fools, if there was a gawwwwd, he could easily convince all of us. All the excuses religions have to make (well, you can't TEST faith, cuz then it, uh, wouldn't be faith) are pure BS. Is it any surprise that these religions also promise that a secret (and, again, hidden-from-view) hereafter paradise if you'll just believe it exists? For crying out loud... stop believing myths that shysters use to take your money. If you want to donate money to help others, find a non-fraudlent organization to send it to. There are organizations that rate them. You can find them online. Don't send any money to Pat Robertson who has already been exposed for fraud, or Franklin Graham who has pocketed millions from donations that were offered up to help those in need. Open your eyes.

        November 11, 2013 at 2:02 pm |
  17. I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

    Didn't we do this "Where was God after .... " with a tornado story and Hurricane Sandy already?

    We won't see any more inspiring answers just the usual

    "It is just God's will, and we humans cannot presume to understand God"

    Why people create the concept of then choose to worship an almighty being that routinely destroys those who love him is quite beyond me.

    November 11, 2013 at 1:04 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      its 'battered wife' syndrome.

      November 11, 2013 at 1:08 pm |
    • Mayline

      I'm not surprised that someone with your thinking would use a child's death to promote your erroneous thinking.
      Why don't you do what God wants you to do send a donation to help these people to rebuild.
      All your comment is is a typical atheist response that no one in his right mind takes seriously.
      I pray to God you could find something better to do with your time

      November 11, 2013 at 1:18 pm |
      • brainwashed christians

        Why does god allow the destruction in the first place??....

        November 11, 2013 at 1:27 pm |
      • who let you out of the kitchen

        Why are you assuming the comments were made by an atheist? Jeeeeezus had doubts. Why are you assuming the commenter has not made donations to help the needy? Generosity is a human trait, not a Christian one. I mean, afterall, if you believe there is a gawwwd who made us, your gawwwwd made all kinds of people: quaaaaars, darkies, lezbos, smart people who use science to improve the world and disprove fundamentalist dogma, and so on...

        November 11, 2013 at 2:09 pm |
  18. guyFromVA

    The Bible teaches the God is sovereign, so He had full control over the storm:
    " I form the light and create darkness,
    I bring prosperity and create disaster;
    I, the Lord, do all these things." isaiah 45:7 NIV

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

      It also teaches that a man can live in a whale's belly, that snakes talk that the World is about 6,000 years old and that men walk on water and raise the dead. What's your point?

      November 11, 2013 at 1:06 pm |
      • PaC

        It also teaches that evil comes from within and that man is extremely selfish and self-centered and left to his/her own devices leads him/herself to become incredibly arrogant and rude. And there is plenty of evidence in you that proves this right.

        November 11, 2013 at 1:10 pm |
      • guyFromVA

        "If any man have ears to hear, let him hear." – Jesus

        November 11, 2013 at 1:23 pm |
        • Brainwashed christians

          "If a man has a nose to blow, let him blow" Some guy.

          November 12, 2013 at 12:32 pm |
    • Fan2C

      guy,

      Moses said: "These are the commands, decrees and laws the Lord your God directed me to teach you":

      Deuteronomy: "11 If two men are fighting, and the wife of one man tries to rescue her husband by grabbing the other man’s private parts, 12 you must cut off her hand. Don’t have any mercy."

      November 11, 2013 at 1:07 pm |
      • brainwashed christians

        "It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live, remember that."

        Harry potter

        November 11, 2013 at 1:29 pm |
    • Fan2C

      "And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying:

      take a handful of the sacrifice of that which is offered, and burn it upon the altar: and so give the most bitter waters to the woman [suspected adulteress] to drink.

      27 And when she hath drunk them, if she be defiled, and having despised her husband be guilty of adultery, the malediction shall go through her, and her belly swelling, her thigh shall rot: and the woman shall be a curse, and an example to all the people." - Numbers 5

      November 11, 2013 at 1:15 pm |
      • guyFromVA

        "20 Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?
        21 Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?"
        Romans 9:20-21

        November 11, 2013 at 1:29 pm |
      • brainwashed christians

        "As much money and life as you could want! The two things most human beings would choose above all – the trouble is, humans do have a knack of choosing precisely those things that are worst for them."

        Harry Potter

        November 11, 2013 at 1:30 pm |
    • CommonSensed

      So, by your definition, he's a pretty malevolent bugger.

      November 11, 2013 at 1:17 pm |
  19. Duh Lord

    Waiting for Godot.

    November 11, 2013 at 1:04 pm |
  20. Poop Francis

    Where was God? Same place he always isn't. Anywhere.

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

      It's a amazing to me how people are asking where was GOD?
      True be told do they only know GOD disaster strike
      How about getting to know before the tragedy?

      November 11, 2013 at 1:15 pm |
      • Nancy

        Alias, my thoughts exactly!

        November 11, 2013 at 1:29 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.