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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. MrHighMighty

    Catastrophes like this pale to the ultimate tragedy that will be experienced by all who die in sin, whether killed by a natural disaster or who expire peacefully in thier sleep at age 120. The power of this storm is nothing compared to the power of our Creator, which is on display throughout this universe, filled with massive destructive forces that boggle our comprehension.

    Typhoons are part of the system that God designed to prepare Earth for man. These big storms actually promote stability to our climate and environment, by restoring and maintaining water temperatures and prevailing currents, stirring up and distributing foodstuffs for microscopic animals and all the way up the food chain, and promoting biodiversity along our coastlines. Dangerous yes, but God gives man a mind to learn where these storms occur, and how to be prepared for them. Most importantly, He also provides a way to enjoy His Love in absolute and eternal safety from all the dangers of this temporary physical world.

    November 11, 2013 at 1:38 pm |
    • CommonSensed

      "Most importantly, He also provides a way to enjoy His Love in absolute and eternal safety from all the dangers of this temporary physical world."

      He provides a way to enjoy his love all while enduring the largest recorded typhoon to make landfall in history.

      Good times.

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

        CommonSensed, you misunderstand my last point, which is that all things in this world will eventually pass away, and be replaced by an eternal creation. Compared to eternity with God, all the disasters and pain and suffering and evil we see here will fade away to nothing.

        November 11, 2013 at 6:28 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      so the 250000 killed in the tsunami a few years back were to blame for not being prepared and not because god didnt do anything to stop it?

      November 11, 2013 at 1:49 pm |
      • MrHighMighty

        cedar rapids, you miss the whole point. Your short-sighted logic demonstrated in all your posts is a symptom of a hardened heart, which will only grow harder the more you resist the reality of your own existence as a created person. These typhoon victims, the tsunami victims, and everyone else is no less deserving of death than anyone else. God has given us all life, but none of us deserve to live a minute longer. We are depraved creatures, unable to reconcile ourselves to God. Our imperfection cannot stand with Holy God, but He did send us His perfect Son Jesus Christ, who at the time of our death and judgment, will stand before God in place for those of us who believe and accept Him.

        November 11, 2013 at 6:53 pm |
  2. Randy

    All of creation moans and groans...we live in a fallen world that wants desperately to be restored by our Redeemer. One day, that will happen, whether anyone believes it or not.

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

      So be good for goodness' sake.

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

        you can't earn your way to heaven....

        November 11, 2013 at 3:07 pm |
    • chollman82

      yeah, we'll wait for our "redeemer" to come and fix the broken would that he created, broken by the beings that he created, and he is now sitting around with his thumb up his ass while BILLIONS suffer in agony.

      Awesome guy this "redeemer".

      Famous message clawed onto the concrete wall of a gas chamber in Auschwitz: "If God exists he will have to beg me for my forgiveness".

      November 11, 2013 at 11:52 pm |
  3. Mark

    God is here, he is everywhere. You will see that in the coming years, more storms will come-wild variations in weather will occur because the world, and our nation especially, has loosed the bonds it has had with God for over 200 years. We are a blessed nation because our founding fathers relied on God's mercy and God's blessings to help the country sustain itself in the early days. Our nation thrived as a result. In the last 50 years, God has slowly been removed from the public eye, because he has become offensive to some. This is unbelievable, and sad. God's wrath is just beginning.

    November 11, 2013 at 1:37 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Only 22% of Norwegians believe there is a God (Eutobarometer poll, 2010).
      In the last 30 years, they've suffered 9 natural disasters with ZERO lives lost.
      They consistently rate amongst the top nations in teh world when it comes to quality of life, education, low crime, personal happiness, etc.

      Why doesn't God smite Norway?

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

        Too cold. He prefers smiting the temperate zones.

        November 11, 2013 at 1:49 pm |
      • Mart

        The Norse god is Odin the Allfather of the gods, ruler of Asgard and his son is Thor. They obviously wield a lot more power than some desert god that couldn't protect his son from a bunch of Romans. You just don't want to mess around with that sort of power.

        November 11, 2013 at 2:10 pm |
      • Colin

        He tried Doc, he just missed and hit Sweden.

        ever heard of ABBA?

        November 11, 2013 at 2:16 pm |
        • Doc Vestibule

          Of course I've heard of Abba.
          I fear Abba and their brethren, the other 3 Nordic Disco Bands of the Apocalypse.
          So far we've met Abba, Ace of Base and Aqua.
          When the fourth horseman cometh, the world will suffer groovy, butt wiggling doom.

          November 11, 2013 at 2:38 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      'and our nation especially, has loosed the bonds it has had with God for over 200 years. We are a blessed nation because our founding fathers relied on God's mercy and God's blessings to help the country sustain itself in the early days. Our nation thrived as a result. In the last 50 years, God has slowly been removed from the public eye, because he has become offensive to some. This is unbelievable, and sad. God's wrath is just beginning.'

      so god didnt care one tiny little bit to punish the country during the time of slavery but gets pi$$y at being removed from schools?

      November 11, 2013 at 1:51 pm |
    • chollman82

      Your "God" sounds like a petty dick.

      November 11, 2013 at 11:54 pm |
  4. And Wolf blew it.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-iUcD86YvlE

    November 11, 2013 at 1:36 pm |
  5. Tea Party Patriot

    God punished these people because they started using birth control. They deserve it.

    November 11, 2013 at 1:35 pm |
  6. Colin

    To my Christian friends proclaiming the power of prayer, even though it usually fails, as it did for the dead and injured Filipinos:

    Image I built a golden calf. I put it on an altar and I assured everybody that if you prayed to it, it would answer your prayers. Now think about what would happen when people prayed to it. Most times what they asked for would not transpire. Every now and then, through sheer luck, it would.
    Now, if people doubted my golden calf, how would I respond? I bet I would say things like:

    1. The golden calf always answers prayers, it’s just that sometimes the answer is “no” or “not yet.”

    2. The golden calf moves in mysterious ways.

    3. The golden calf knows what is best for you. You should take into account the bigger picture.

    4. You should not question the golden calf.

    5. The golden calf gives us free will and how we exercise that free will is up to us.

    6. The Golden Calf is not just something that you can just pull a lever and he jumps through hoops for you.

    Now think about the excuses Christians give when God does not “answer prayers.” See any difference?

    Of course there is none. Prayers of all faiths are universally useless. There is no Hindu, Christian, Muslim, Native American or other god there in the first place. We created God (indeed all gods) in our image and periodically attribute good luck to an intervention by them in our lives.

    November 11, 2013 at 1:35 pm |
    • AE

      You are describing idolatry. Of course it fails. God has never failed me. People, religion, atheism, Christianity, secularism, spirituality, etc have all failed me.

      I trust God today.

      November 11, 2013 at 1:38 pm |
      • AE

        Prayer works. And faith without action is dead.

        November 11, 2013 at 1:39 pm |
      • 668NeighborOfTheBeast

        So god never fails you? Why the heck didn't you pray for there to be no more deadly storms in the Philipines to begin with?

        November 11, 2013 at 2:04 pm |
    • Believer 12

      You forgot an important part, the faithful need to give 10% offering to the Golden Calf or the Golden Calf will smite thee down with a vengeance.

      November 11, 2013 at 5:08 pm |
    • Sam

      Wait until you find yourself in a similar situation as the Filipinos. I bet you are going to pray, not only to the God of the Christians, but to the Golden Calf, Buddha, Lucifer, and whatever god come to your feverish mind.

      November 12, 2013 at 12:03 am |
  7. peick

    Our atheist friends like to use that little apparently logical argument whenever the question comes up of human suffering. But it's an unfair argument because it presupposes several things:

    1) That we don't deserve punishment. Orthodox Christianity would say that yes, you do deserve punishment, so it's up to God whether or not to forbear.

    2) That people had no choice but to live next to a high-risk area. If they didn't have a choice, why not? Perhaps human systems forced them to move to an area where disasters were more likely. If so, then humans are to blame, not God.

    3) That good is defined by what best promotes human happiness. We'd all like that to be the case, but there are higher things in the universe than our own physical and material benefits.

    So to all our thinking atheist friends, you have to provide your own answers to these kinds of questions rather than just react against the straw man arguments you feel you can easily defeat. I have yet to hear an atheist state propositional truth and reason logically from it without any reference to an opposing belief system. Instead, most "atheists" just react against a religious position they hate or feel threatens their sense of self determination.

    Today's atheists couldn't exist apart from Christian belief.

    November 11, 2013 at 1:35 pm |
    • Colin

      Actually, the fundamental atheist position is very simple. We do not believe in God (or Allah, or Shiva or Bramah) becuase there is zero evidence they exist. Present some, and I, for one, will evaluate it and if it is credible, reconsider my position.

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

        Even if there were "0 evidence" that item A exists, it doesn't logically follow from that that, therefore, item A, doesn't exist.

        November 11, 2013 at 4:15 pm |
        • Fan2C

          guyFromVA,

          When an hypothesis cannot be proved nor disproved, the default / fall-back stance is to withhold belief.

          November 11, 2013 at 4:19 pm |
        • guyFromVA

          And so you've withheld belief in something that possibly exists.

          November 11, 2013 at 4:59 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      '1) That we don't deserve punishment. Orthodox Christianity would say that yes, you do deserve punishment, so it's up to God whether or not to forbear.'

      So we are back to the battered wife outlook......he loves me, he really does, its my fault that he hits me, i deserve to be punished for what I do but he does love me.

      '2) That people had no choice but to live next to a high-risk area. If they didn't have a choice, why not? Perhaps human systems forced them to move to an area where disasters were more likely. If so, then humans are to blame, not God.'

      Which has what to do whether god allowed such an event to occur?

      '3) That good is defined by what best promotes human happiness. We'd all like that to be the case, but there are higher things in the universe than our own physical and material benefits.'

      Such as what exactly? What else in there in the universe that is higher than our own physical and material benefits?

      November 11, 2013 at 1:42 pm |
    • 668NeighborOfTheBeast

      CHristians claim to believe in an omnipotent, omniscient and benevolent God, this is not a straw man, this is an assumed axiom of the majority of Christian sects.

      An omniscient god would have forseen the inevitability that people would have to live in high risk areas, furthermore, the question "why didn't god prevent this bad thing?" could be extended to tragedies in low risk areas. The bottom line is that people were allowed to be put in poor situations which were out of their control, and such events are inevitably going to transpire.

      A God who had both the will and the power to prevent this situation would have done so, but it was still allowed to happen. This means that God, if he exists, is either not all powerful, or not benevolent (or both).

      You can go ahead and argue that his definition of good and ours differ, but a being which is capable of preventing 200,000 or more deaths, yet chooses not to is not worthy of my praise. This is not an argument of his existance, this is an argument of his worthiness of our worship. Christians advertise god as a benevolent being when this is inherently dishonest. To give an example as to why this is dishonest, here's a little story: Bob goes to buy a car, and the dealer says "Trust me dude, this Geo Metro is an amazing car in perfect condition". Bob is super excited, in his head, these words are describing an excellent car. He sees it on the lot and it's all rusted out and won't even start. "I'm not buying this, it's total junk!" he exclaims. The dealer sneers and replies "Well, by your definition maybe, but I'm the car expert here and I define an "excellent car" as completely non functional, and "perfect condition" as covered in rust... do you want to set up a payment plan or just pay cash." Should Bob buy the car?

      November 11, 2013 at 2:24 pm |
  8. Weather-or-Not

    For a world that is allegedly cared for and ruled by a loving and merciful god, there certainly is an enormous amount of pain and suffering amongst his "children". I've never been able to get a logical explanation from believers about why this is, most simply say it is his way and not our place to question. Well, that's not acceptable to me.

    I think I have a better answer ... it's all a load of you know what. It seems a significant portion of the human population has been mislead and completely duped. He/she/it simply does not exist.

    November 11, 2013 at 1:33 pm |
    • Topher

      There is death and suffering because of sin. When sin entered the world, so did these things.

      November 11, 2013 at 1:38 pm |
      • Apple Bush

        God created the sin. That is just a stupid statement Topher. How are you?

        November 11, 2013 at 1:42 pm |
        • Topher

          What?! God didn't create the sin.

          I'm good. How are you?

          November 11, 2013 at 1:43 pm |
        • Charm Quark

          Topher
          God created the serpent that caused Eve the air head to take the bite, ergo god created sin, all part of the plan to make you feel like a worthless sinner. Actually, I kind of agree that you are a worthless sinner, never thought I would agree with you 2fer.

          November 11, 2013 at 1:50 pm |
        • Apple Bush

          T, I am good and thankful for our veterans today. And miserable about the Philippines.

          November 11, 2013 at 1:57 pm |
        • Topher

          It's a tragedy, no doubt about it.

          November 11, 2013 at 2:01 pm |
        • guyFromVA

          Quark, if God created a being with ability to choose between good/evil, and it chooses evil, that doesn't mean God created evil. It just means he created a being with ability to freely choose evil. can't blame God for evil.

          November 11, 2013 at 11:47 pm |
        • Over It

          guyFromVA,

          If your "God" character, as is claimed in your book, knew before the person was created/born what he/she would eventually choose and created him/her anyway, that is evil.

          November 11, 2013 at 11:57 pm |
      • ME II

        Exactly how does sin cause death and suffering?

        November 11, 2013 at 1:42 pm |
        • Topher

          Sin put the world under a curse. Before it we lived in a perfect creation.

          November 11, 2013 at 1:44 pm |
        • ME II

          Okay, how exactly does a curse cause death and suffering?

          ....oh, and how does sin cause a curse?

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

          If you want the "physics" of it I can't tell you. But what I can tell you is before sin there was no death. No disease. And thus no suffering. How do we know this? Well, for starters, when God finished the Creation week, "And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good." If there had been death, disease and suffering, He wouldn't have been able to call it "good."

          November 11, 2013 at 1:52 pm |
        • ME II

          @topher,
          If the basis for free will and the potential choice of sin is for the overall good, else why would God allow free will, then death and suffering could also be viewed as 'good' in an overall sense and might have existed even back then.
          So, again, how exactly does sin cause death and suffering?

          November 11, 2013 at 2:04 pm |
        • guyFromVA

          Sin causes death and suffering, because God is holy and just, and must punish sinners because of their rebellion. God cursed this world after Adam and Eve sinned, thus plunging the whole world into death, suffering and misery.

          November 11, 2013 at 11:45 pm |
        • Observer

          guyFromVA,

          Yes. God so badly misjudged how things would turn out that the very first human baby KILLED the second human baby.

          Trump would have fired him.

          November 11, 2013 at 11:49 pm |
  9. Apple Bush

    Jesus has been disabled since he rose from the dead carrying with him the burden of the sins of every human soul, past, present and future. Sins that He, indeed, created to begin with and must have been pondering the wisdom of that choice about the time the miserable world he created was becoming all he would ever know. For he had sacrificed himself and accepted this unfortunate doom. But who am I to be critical. Anyway, that is why atheists think there is no god. The fact is he’s just beat down and will be for all eternity. So it is LIKE there is no god even when there is a God. Common sense.

    November 11, 2013 at 1:31 pm |
    • Charm Quark

      AB
      God has an MO and history on this kind of thing. If people p!ss him off he picks a few to survive and snuffs the rest, see Sodom and Gomorrah or the great flood, for example. Following these crazy precedents maybe he noticed some LGBT activity and decided to punish everyone. Didn't one of the crazy evangelists blame hurricanes on sins. Hard to believe the crap they come with.

      November 11, 2013 at 1:45 pm |
  10. angel

    Satan = evil.
    Blame him, not God.
    duh.

    November 11, 2013 at 1:31 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      God created satan. Duh.

      November 11, 2013 at 1:33 pm |
    • 668NeighborOfTheBeast

      If god is benevolent and omnipotent, the why would he allow Satan to cause such suffering?

      November 11, 2013 at 1:39 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      'Satan = evil.
      Blame him, not God.'

      dont you blame the parents when their children grow up to be nasty pieces of work? whats the difference here, especially when the 'parent' is a supposed supreme being?

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

      If you reflect on the spiritual history of the earth, Jesus got rid of Satan (Lucifer, Beelzibub, etc.) long before he was crucified. Any evildoing going on now is the result of free willed and intentional human beings. We are all responsible for our actions. There is no other being to blame bad behaviort on.

      November 11, 2013 at 1:46 pm |
      • G to the T

        "spiritual history" – I'm sorry but that makes no sense.

        November 13, 2013 at 7:58 am |
  11. Steve Fielder

    With all due respect, Reverend Martin, "magic answers" is the basic concept the God-centered Abrahamic religions are founded on. ...

    November 11, 2013 at 1:31 pm |
  12. LETS HELP

    If you are looking for God, you will see him in all of the efforts of churches worldwide that will be helping with the relief,,,as always.

    November 11, 2013 at 1:30 pm |
    • 668NeighborOfTheBeast

      1) God creates a natural disaster (or allows one to occur despite his omnipotence).

      2) God's followers send aid in his name.

      3) The church's image is boosted

      4) Christianity becomes more powerful.

      A brilliant business model indeed!

      November 11, 2013 at 1:42 pm |
      • The Beast

        Keep your dog quiet!

        November 11, 2013 at 1:51 pm |
  13. Kyle

    God seems like he's getting pretty p!ssed.

    November 11, 2013 at 1:28 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      Yes, he is sick and tired of poor Filipino people.

      November 11, 2013 at 1:29 pm |
  14. angel

    Why don't people blame Satan when bad things happen? He is the evil one afterall. God is Love. Do you love someone or something? That is only because of God. Bad things happen in this world because Satan rules it. #commonsense

    November 11, 2013 at 1:27 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      God is not love.
      God is petty jealousy.
      It says so in the 1st Commandment.

      November 11, 2013 at 1:30 pm |
    • ME II

      Are you saying that God cannot stop Satan?

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

        Atheists do not believe in God, yet they talk about Him. hahaha

        November 11, 2013 at 1:32 pm |
        • ME II

          They also don't believe in Santa Claus...

          November 11, 2013 at 1:38 pm |
        • 668NeighborOfTheBeast

          He's clearly speaking theoretically. Theoretically, if your magical sky wizard existed as Christians claim him to be, and he is omnipotent, as most Christians assert, then he would be able to stop Satan, were Satan also real, and the cause of the disaster (as you have claimed). Therefore, if God is real and omnipotent, he must not care about Philipinos as he chose not to protect them.

          November 11, 2013 at 1:47 pm |
        • cedar rapids

          'Atheists do not believe in God, yet they talk about Him. hahaha'

          okay, that wasnt exactly a sane post you know?
          but what they talk about is the attributes assigned to god by his followers, not that they believe god to be real, anymore than you would believe superman or batman is real if you took part in a who could take whom discussion.

          November 11, 2013 at 1:56 pm |
        • Mart

          WOAH there ME II you keep Santa Claus out of this god stuff. Santa is real he brings toys, has elves and flying reindeer

          November 11, 2013 at 2:17 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      A. There is no Satan
      B. If there was, God made it.

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

        That is right, Satan at one time was an angel and became bad........just as we have that choose also.

        November 11, 2013 at 1:32 pm |
        • Apple Bush

          We have no free will so you must be wrong OR there is no god. I will take the latter.

          November 11, 2013 at 1:34 pm |
        • Nina

          Oh so you don't have the free will to do whatever you want?

          November 11, 2013 at 1:36 pm |
        • Apple Bush

          Nina, yes I do. Thanks for asking.

          November 11, 2013 at 1:39 pm |
        • cedar rapids

          why would god give satan free will? his whole purpose in being created was to serve god so free will is a bizarre choice. and why make such a flawed being that would even contemplate revolt in the first place?

          November 11, 2013 at 1:46 pm |
    • Susan StoHelit

      So god is weaker than satan? Either god allows satan to do what he does, or god is unable to stop him. Which is it?

      November 11, 2013 at 8:15 pm |
  15. Sally

    Natural disaster is part of the earth experience. God is always here and everywhere and doesn't interfere with the natural course of things. It doesn't mean he doesn't exist just because he doesn't react to our expectations. Everything is in perfect order and as it should be and our placement here and how we live is part of our spiriutal journey. God doesn't have to prove anything to us. How we behave using our free will and reflecting God's will determines our growth.

    November 11, 2013 at 1:25 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      Humans do not have free will according to the bible. Your whole post is just poop.

      November 11, 2013 at 1:27 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      'Everything is in perfect order '

      what 'everything'? do you actually live in this reality?

      November 11, 2013 at 1:32 pm |
  16. variance in definition

    God might not mean the same thing to everyone, so why argue over its broad definition a definition that is greater than us. How could we possibly define it.

    November 11, 2013 at 1:25 pm |
  17. PaC

    Bereaved Filipino: I'm suffering. Can you help me, not use me to prove your stupid and selfish points?

    Colin: No. I hate you because you are a Catholic.

    November 11, 2013 at 1:25 pm |
  18. Doc Vestibule

    God is punishing them for having gay citizen / dessing immodestly / eating pork / failing to stone witches / or whatever other nonsense believers think God abhors.
    Either that or, you know, it was a plain old natural disaster – the kind that can happen anytime, anywhere regardless of the "righteousness" of the people.
    Nature cannot be placated or reasoned with and it has no pity.

    November 11, 2013 at 1:24 pm |
  19. Apple Bush

    The grave digs a while, deep enough for you and your flat screen and a few other gadgets. The worshippers believe if you are buried with your valuables you will get to set up a “cloud” in heaven and you can access your music from any of your wireless devices.

    The grave leans on his shovel and thinks for a moment.

    Being older and more knowledgeable, the dirt guru decided to just fill in the hole and quit for the day. The sun burned bright and the pebbles in the grave’s dirt sparkled.

    He found some shade and quietly hoped no one would try to bury themselves.

    November 11, 2013 at 1:23 pm |
  20. Mayline

    I never fail to be amazed at the stupidity of atheism.
    They just can't accept the fact that God does not toe their line or jump through their hoops.
    This is their basic problem.

    November 11, 2013 at 1:22 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      What line?

      November 11, 2013 at 1:24 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      er no, because atheists dont believe in god so that kind of makes your claim a rather difficult one to fulfill.

      November 11, 2013 at 1:26 pm |
    • Jason

      Ding Ding, Mayline just won the award for dumbest internet comment on 11/11/13! congratulations!

      November 11, 2013 at 1:29 pm |
    • ME II

      Yeah who are they to think that God must exist, just because they require existence for belief? sheesh
      /sacrasm

      November 11, 2013 at 1:34 pm |
    • Fan2C

      Mayline,

      Yeah, it really ticks me off that I can't get Poseidon to quit creating and sending these storms. But, you know, in the old days these giant typhoons never occurred in the Mediterranean when people were sacrificing horses to Poseidon. Hmmmm.....

      November 11, 2013 at 1:34 pm |
      • Fan2C

        p.s. I guess the protection from those ancient horse sacrifices continues today - Mediterranean Hurricanes ("medi-canes") are pretty wimpy compared to storms elsewhere!

        November 11, 2013 at 1:39 pm |
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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.