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November 18th, 2013
08:18 AM ET

Religion as solace in the Philippines

Tacloban City, The Philippines (CNN) - The day after the typhoon, the Rev. Edwin Bacaltos stepped out of the compound of the Church of Our Mother of Perpetual Help in central Tacloban and began his work.

The scene was one of unspeakable horror. Dead bodies were strewn all over the place. The debris of shattered buildings and their contents filled the street.

Bacaltos' self-appointed task that day was to bless the bodies that lay scattered around his parish.

"It was difficult for me," he said. "It was a really emotional experience."

The next day, he said, "When I celebrated the Eucharist, I broke down because of all the suffering I had seen."

Hundreds of survivors were taking refuge in the church compound, much of which withstood Super Typhoon Haiyan's ferocious winds and destructive storm surge.

Many of them asked the pastor how God could let such a calamity befall this predominantly Catholic city.

His response, he said, was to tell them that "God is not the cause of the suffering. God cannot prevent this. This is the work of nature."

But why it had to happen to Tacloban and its more than 200,000 residents, Father Bacaltos acknowledged, is "difficult to explain."

As the people who remain in this broken city attempt to come to terms with the catastrophe that engulfed them a week ago, religion is offering a degree of solace for some of those who have suffered incalculable losses.

It's also providing basic elements of community and support to residents of an area where local government ceased to fully function for several days and is still only slowly sputtering back into action.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Catholic Church • Christianity • Death • Faith • Foreign policy • Philippines

soundoff (1,313 Responses)
  1. Apple Bush

    Nothing but Balut to eat.

    November 18, 2013 at 11:33 am |
    • Apple Bush

      I know this, they WILL find a way to make the rice no matter what. That is why they will get through this tragedy. Rice.

      November 18, 2013 at 11:35 am |
      • Dyslexic doG

        http://freerice.com/

        November 18, 2013 at 11:39 am |
    • bostontola

      ?

      November 18, 2013 at 7:17 pm |
  2. Dyslexic doG

    I am amazed at all the disclaimers and technicalities and obscure Bible references that Christians are coming up with to explain how it wasn't actually God who caused the typhoon or sent tornadoes through the Midwest last night to kill good, honest, god fearing bible belt Christians, or maimed and slaughtered the poor innocent elementary school children at Newtown (the list goes on and on and on and on ...).

    – "God gives us free will" - not sure how our free will changes that God created a typhoon and sent it on a path to kill
    – "Satan is the lord of the air so he did it" - OK ... Satan bad and God good ... maybe read all God's slaughter in the Bible
    – God doesn't want to interfere" - then why is he worried about who we sleep with and all our sins and our daily adoration?

    The list goes on and on, each explanation more pathetic than the last.

    This is from a God that Christians are usually only too willing to proclaim his omnipotence and power to create the universe and the earth and all the miraculous creature on the earth ... and the eye ... for some reason Christians love quoting that one?

    What a joke this religion is. Brainwashed from an early age, christians deny logic, deny fact, and have no hope of reality ever entering their infantile slave minds. Now that's the REAL tragedy!

    November 18, 2013 at 11:29 am |
    • AE

      "more hokey, greeting card sayings.
      like safety blankets for haters
      they can spit them out on demand.
      and somehow think that they proved a point."

      See that?

      November 18, 2013 at 11:31 am |
      • Dyslexic doG

        nice try but it doesn't really fit.

        now if I'd posted something like "into every life a little rain must fall" or "it will take time but soon the dawn will break on a bright new day" then you may have a point.

        as it was, it's another epic AE FAIL.

        November 18, 2013 at 11:35 am |
        • Apple Bush

          I hate to criticize as you know, but AE is an epic bad poster.

          November 18, 2013 at 11:37 am |
        • AE

          Actually, you've posted that little statement before. It was what we call a copy and paste packaged response.

          You spit it out on demand
          And imagine you proved a point.

          But really it says more about you than anyone else.

          November 18, 2013 at 11:39 am |
        • Dyslexic doG

          AE I think you could actually be a contributor to the human race if we could just wake you up from your fairy tale world. I won't take your meanness to heart because I know it's your condition that is making you say it. I hope that you'll come and join us in the real world one day.

          November 18, 2013 at 11:50 am |
        • AE

          Who is "we"?

          November 18, 2013 at 11:55 am |
        • AE

          I mean us! Who is "us"?

          November 18, 2013 at 11:56 am |
        • Apple Bush

          Epic bad.

          November 18, 2013 at 12:22 pm |
        • AE

          But what does he mean by "us" and "we"???

          Are you guys in one of those atheist religions?

          November 18, 2013 at 12:26 pm |
      • In Santa we trust

        AE, You can put an end to it all – provide convincing evidence of a god. Then we'd all be believers. If you apply the logic you use with AE to religion you'd see religion fails.

        November 18, 2013 at 12:20 pm |
        • AE

          You want me to prove to a few posters that spend a lot of time posting on a faith and belief blog talking about God all day long that God exists?

          November 18, 2013 at 12:24 pm |
        • bostontola

          y

          November 18, 2013 at 7:18 pm |
  3. Alias

    Once again people are saying nasty things about the christian god because a natural disaster happened.
    Could one of you please tell me where this catholic church that promises a life without suffering or tragedy is located?

    November 18, 2013 at 11:28 am |
    • Apple Bush

      God picks his nose. That is nasty.

      November 18, 2013 at 11:30 am |
    • Dyslexic doG

      natural disasters prove that your god either does not exist, is not in control, or is an evil, sadistic, malicious freak of a creature. Either way, why the HECK do you worship him?! Just because your bronze age voodoo book doesn't promise a life without anguish and suffering, doesn't mean that your god couldn't do away with anguish and suffering if he wanted to!

      November 18, 2013 at 11:31 am |
      • Alias

        Firstly, I'm not catholic. It is not my god.
        Secondly, just because we agree about god not existing, I do not automatically give you a pass on bad agruements.
        There are something like 270,000 people die every day on thiis planet, but when a few thousand die in one spot at one time you and a few others act like you have proof of something. The logic you are trying to use fails. Epic fail even.

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

        ??

        November 18, 2013 at 7:19 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      God knows Catholics love to suffer.

      November 18, 2013 at 11:32 am |
      • bostontola

        yyy

        November 18, 2013 at 7:20 pm |
    • Charm Quark

      God loves you but he gets off on seeing his creations suffer. Mama Teresa, the saint of suffering, really enjoyed that part of being Catholic.

      November 18, 2013 at 11:40 am |
      • doobzz

        That sadistic old hag made a bundle off the suffering of the poor.

        November 18, 2013 at 11:43 am |
  4. Apple Bush

    Now is not the time to try to make any sense of Filipinos. Let's just try to save the babies.

    November 18, 2013 at 11:21 am |
  5. Dyslexic doG

    natural disasters prove that your god either does not exist, is not in control, or is an evil, sadistic, malicious freak of a creature. Either way, why the HECK do you worship him?!

    November 18, 2013 at 11:20 am |
  6. AE

    The devil surely hates the sound of alleluia.

    November 18, 2013 at 11:10 am |
    • Ted

      Funny that your all-powerful sky fairy can't just deal with your "devil".

      That's one crazy set of superstitions you've got there. Better make yourself a better god than your present manmade one.

      November 18, 2013 at 11:14 am |
      • AE

        http://mrzine.monthlyreview.org/2010/wilson140110.html

        Praise God. Even in tragedy He is with us.

        November 18, 2013 at 11:21 am |
        • Which God?

          AE, you are a bit delusional. Your god is nowhere to be found, let alone being along side you, or anyone else. It is a figment of your imagination, that runs wild.

          November 18, 2013 at 11:30 am |
        • AE

          God is with us and that is not a delusion.

          November 18, 2013 at 11:37 am |
      • Which God?

        AE, no, it isn't. It doesn't exist except in ones imagination. There is no real evidence that there is a god, let alone your god. Your bible doesn't provide any 'proof" that your god exists. None. The book is a fabrication of myths, with some ancient Jewish writings, and palagarized writings from other sources. It is not 'holy,' or a source of 'truth.'

        November 18, 2013 at 11:55 am |
        • AE

          I think you are delusional if you think you can decide for everyone else what is real and what is not. There is evidence for God. And there is evidence that people who believe in God are not delusional and believe in an imaginary sky fairy.

          Thanks for telling us what you imagine.

          November 18, 2013 at 12:01 pm |
    • Anthony Crispino

      My wife's groin doctor told her that he knows a guy that saw the devil walkin' around over by a chemical plant there is Elizabeth City. Yeah. One of the Supreme Court dudes saw him somewhere too. No bull.

      November 18, 2013 at 11:14 am |
    • Dyslexic doG

      more hokey, greeting card sayings.
      like safety blankets for Christians.
      they can spit them out on demand.
      and somehow think that they proved a point.

      November 18, 2013 at 11:21 am |
    • Jude Maverick

      Perhaps he would like Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" better.

      November 18, 2013 at 11:24 am |
    • AE

      Why would you hate somebody praising God?

      November 18, 2013 at 11:26 am |
      • Alias

        the same reason you wouldn't want somone to praise the IPU or FSM.

        November 18, 2013 at 11:30 am |
      • Jude Maverick

        Who even brought up the word hate? Besides you, I mean.

        November 18, 2013 at 11:32 am |
        • AE

          Good point. Not sure why people get offended by praises to God, I should have said.

          November 18, 2013 at 11:45 am |
      • Which God?

        No hate, AE, just pity for those who have an out of control imagination, that allows them to believe they can feel the presence of the great sky-fairy, and that it answers prayers of beseechment

        November 18, 2013 at 11:36 am |
        • AE

          Is that what you imagine?

          November 18, 2013 at 11:49 am |
      • doobzz

        Why are you confusing laughter with hate?

        November 18, 2013 at 11:45 am |
  7. AE

    A light shines in the darkness and the darkness can not – will not – shall not overcome it.

    November 18, 2013 at 10:58 am |
    • Ted

      Will you be fair and give your sky jerk blame for the event happening, as well as giving him credit for the human-driven relief efforts?

      Seriously, AE, get a brain. Your ancient, foolish superstitions should have no place in the modern world, and are on their way out.

      November 18, 2013 at 11:03 am |
      • AE

        I think even in tragedy we can find some good. The people that are coming to the aid of those in need are the light in this darkness.

        November 18, 2013 at 11:09 am |
        • Ted

          Just don't give god credit for that, unless you also give him blame for the tragedy.

          November 18, 2013 at 11:11 am |
        • AE

          What are you, some kind of internet cop who gets to tell people what they can and can't do?

          November 18, 2013 at 11:17 am |
      • 116

        That is what Voltaire said in the 1700s, after he died his home became a printer's lab where they printed Bibles

        November 18, 2013 at 11:14 am |
        • Fan2C

          @116,

          Incorrect.

          The two Bible societies that are variously mentioned both deny the story and say that the story was invented in America. One journal makes a pretty good case against it, with several authoritative citations (see http://www.nzarh.org.nz/journal/2004v77n1aut.pdf page 14). According to the report on the anecdote. . . the closest affirmation of this version of the story is that the British and Foreign Bible Society depot in Paris stands on a site once occupied by a prison for those convicted of minor offences (embezzlement, debt, etc.) in which, according to the choice of sources, Voltaire may or may not have been confined. No other residence of his has been an office of any Bible Society.
          –http://www.housetohouse.com/HTHPubPage.aspx?pub=3&issue=455&article=3814

          November 18, 2013 at 11:24 am |
        • doobzz

          A church in my home town closed and they made it into a bar. The old police headquarters was remodeled into a shopping center. Buildings get repurposed. No god required, no hidden messages from your sky daddy.

          November 18, 2013 at 11:47 am |
        • 116

          fine, it appers i was mistaken, there is no proof that Voltaire's house was used to print Bibles. But my point is people have been saying christianity will die out for centurys under the claims of enlightenment, science, etc, the fact that we are still around is proof otherwise.

          November 18, 2013 at 2:20 pm |
    • tallulah13

      There's a light, over at the Frankenstein place.

      November 18, 2013 at 11:04 am |
      • Alias

        there is a time warp joke here somewhere, but I haven't found it yet.

        November 18, 2013 at 11:12 am |
      • Colin

        As a young kid, I had, shall we say, some very nice private moments, to the scene where Susan Sarandon is in her bra and panties seducing Rocky..........

        November 18, 2013 at 11:12 am |
        • tallulah13

          Oh my.

          November 18, 2013 at 11:20 am |
      • Jude Maverick

        Heh heh heh.

        November 18, 2013 at 11:27 am |
    • Dyslexic doG

      more hokey, greeting card sayings.
      like safety blankets for Christians.
      they can spit them out on demand.
      and somehow think that they proved a point.

      November 18, 2013 at 11:21 am |
    • Which God?

      AE, I believe that the light you see is the beam passing through, from one ear out the other.

      November 18, 2013 at 11:37 am |
      • AE

        You imagine I don't have a brain? Do you imagine you are smarter than all believers?

        November 18, 2013 at 12:02 pm |
  8. ME II

    The survivors deserve any solace they can find at this time.

    November 18, 2013 at 10:54 am |
    • Live4Him

      We agree.

      November 18, 2013 at 11:02 am |
      • tallulah13

        We? Is that the imperial "We"? Is there a mouse in your pocket? Do you have multiple personalities?

        November 18, 2013 at 11:07 am |
        • Live4Him

          @tallulah13 : We? Is that the imperial "We"?

          As in MEII and I agree.

          November 18, 2013 at 11:09 am |
        • Doris

          Must be Live4Him and her "precious", her inerrant copy of Gullible's Travels, parts 1 & 2.

          November 18, 2013 at 11:11 am |
        • Charm Quark

          Lie4Him
          Has taken on the persona of god, his musing are gospel.

          November 18, 2013 at 11:15 am |
      • tallulah13

        Fair enough. It was awkwardly worded, though.

        November 18, 2013 at 11:21 am |
    • tallulah13

      I agree.

      November 18, 2013 at 11:05 am |
  9. realbuckyball

    Thank you Jebus for the typhoon.
    Thank you Jebus for the tornadoes.

    Jebus is a loving god.

    Oh wait.

    November 18, 2013 at 10:40 am |
    • Ted

      Exactly, bucky.

      November 18, 2013 at 11:05 am |
  10. palintwit

    Rather than send food and water to the Philippines, Sarah Palin has decided to send the many thousands of unsold copies of her daughter Bristol's book. She thinks that even if people are starving to death they will still enjoy the memoirs of a drunk, pregnant teenager.

    November 18, 2013 at 10:33 am |
  11. Woody

    " God cannot prevent this." – Rev. Edwin Bacaltos

    Claiming that god is not actually almighty (official teaching of the church) will get you in deep do do with the Vatican.

    November 18, 2013 at 10:27 am |
    • realbuckyball

      "God is not the cause of the suffering. God cannot prevent this. This is the work of nature."

      Wow. Some omnipotent deity they got over there.
      So their deity is not in charge of the universe, but instead subject to it, and in fact impotent to control it.
      Hmm. I'd take that one back, and get a new god.

      Just AMAZING the lengths humans will go to to disconnect their cognitive dissonances with respect to their delusions.

      November 18, 2013 at 10:37 am |
    • Live4Him

      This has been discussed below, but here's my comment on it.

      Live4Him

      @Rev. Edwin Bacaltos : God is not the cause of the suffering. God cannot prevent this. This is the work of nature.

      I believe these statements are being misconstrued by some on this forum. The question is WHY can't God prevent this? I would posit that Bacaltos is referring to the law of non-contradiction. In essence, God cannot give man free will while denying the natural consequences to those choices and expecting man to learn from said consequences. Mankind rejected God's leadership and the result is we are no longer protected from nature itself.

      November 18, 2013 at 10:39 am |
      • Woody

        "Mankind rejected God's leadership and the result is we are no longer protected from nature itself."

        Yeah, right. What a crock!!!

        November 18, 2013 at 10:44 am |
      • Jude Maverick

        I believe you completely ignore the simplicity of truth in the Reverend's statement; I posit that this is yet another clumsy attempt to put forward another of your cockamamie ideas to start a conversation you will ultimately run away from.

        November 18, 2013 at 10:53 am |
        • Live4Him

          Argumentum ad hominem (argument directed at the person).

          November 18, 2013 at 11:01 am |
        • Ernie

          Live4Him is quite famous on the blog for that behavior, Maverick

          November 18, 2013 at 11:09 am |
        • Charm Quark

          Lie4Him
          Of course the ad hominem has appeared just a little earlier than usual but you must know that it is bound to show up. The fact that you are a liar about almost everything you posts brings on personal attacks.

          November 18, 2013 at 11:11 am |
        • Live4Him

          @Charm Quark : The fact that you are a liar about almost everything you posts brings on personal attacks.

          The only thing that brings on a personal attack is the inability of my opponent to refute my posit.

          November 18, 2013 at 11:18 am |
        • Jude Maverick

          How can my opinion be argumentum ad hominem? I didn't call you any names.
          Do you know what ad hominem even means?
          Commenting on the behavior you display isn't ad hominem.
          You did run away from the conversation the first time you posted this; my statement is true.

          November 18, 2013 at 11:21 am |
        • Paraphrasing Live4Him

          Paraphrasing Live4Him: "I'm not paying attention to that.. it's not pertinent to my point.. "

          There's an expression for that behavior: walking around with blinders on

          November 18, 2013 at 11:26 am |
        • Live4Him

          @Jude Maverick : How can my opinion be argumentum ad hominem?

          another of your cockamamie ideas

          Does this address ME, personally, or does it refute my ideas with evidence? The former, of course.

          November 18, 2013 at 11:28 am |
        • Jude Maverick

          It addresses your ideas, and your tendency to run from conversations that are uncomfortable for you.
          If I called you an insipid lying sack if moldy cheese, that would be an ad hominem.

          November 18, 2013 at 11:39 am |
        • Jude Maverick

          If I told you the meat loaf you made didn't taste good, does is that an ad hominem comment about you, or the meat loaf?
          Same kind of thing, except I'm probably not using the best example.

          Fin.

          November 18, 2013 at 11:54 am |
      • ME II

        @Live4Him,
        "God cannot give man free will while denying the natural consequences to those choices... Mankind rejected God's leadership and the result is we are no longer protected from nature itself."

        I'm sorry, but my understanding was that, according to the Bible, God cursed the Earth. In other words, death and a "fallen" world were not the natural consequence, but instead a choice made by your supposed God.

        November 18, 2013 at 10:53 am |
        • Live4Him

          @ME II :I'm sorry, but my understanding was that, according to the Bible, God cursed the Earth. In other words, death and a "fallen" world were not the natural consequence, but instead a choice made by your supposed God.

          Not quite. What lead to God 'cursing the earth'. Lets read the scripture.

          Gensis 3:17 To Adam he said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate fruit from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat from it,’ “Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat food from it all the days of your life.

          So, God didn't curse the ground, but it was a natural consquence of Adam's actions.

          November 18, 2013 at 11:00 am |
        • Ted

          Sometimes god intervenes, and sometimes he doesn't. When he intervenes is only when it suits the Christian fairy tale supporters, and they don't even agree on when that is. Funny that.

          Pathetic religion.

          November 18, 2013 at 11:07 am |
        • Madtown

          Seeking out religion for an answer here doesn't provide a "real" answer, only an answer you're comfortable with. There are other humans that will come up with a completely different answer, because they look to a different source than you do. They are not wrong, relative to you.

          November 18, 2013 at 11:08 am |
        • ME II

          @Live4Him,
          Oh please.
          1) Does not "cursed" imply someone did the cursing and who but God could do that?
          2) if you read it in context you will see that God is handing out judgement, to the serpent, "“Cursed are you above all livestock...", to the woman, "“I will make your pains in childbearing very severe..." and to Adam, "“Cursed is the ground because of you..."

          November 18, 2013 at 11:12 am |
        • Live4Him

          @ME II : Does not "cursed" imply someone did the cursing and who but God could do that?

          According to scripture, it was Adam's actions. Adam rejected God's leadership and thus rejected God's blessings. As such, all that was left was the cursed ground.

          @ME II : to the woman, "“I will make your pains in childbearing very severe..."

          Good point, but WHY? Did Eve do no wrong here? No, she rebelled against God.

          Think of it this way – If you reject all of society's laws, you either go to jail or leave. You don't get to stay and enjoy the benefits of our society.

          November 18, 2013 at 11:23 am |
        • ME II

          @Live4Him,
          "Good point, but WHY?"

          Immaterial. God played an active role and therefore it was not a "natural consequence".

          November 18, 2013 at 11:38 am |
      • Which God?

        AE, ther is no such 'law of non-contradiction.' That is totlay made up BS.

        November 18, 2013 at 11:43 am |
        • Tom, Tom, the Other One

          There is a Law of Non-Contradiction. It is important to the definition of (logically) possible worlds. Perhaps AE would like to go into what makes this, our world, a possible world.

          November 18, 2013 at 12:31 pm |
        • Tom, Tom, the Other One

          I'll put this on top because that is where Live4Him likes to put things.

          There is a Law of Non-Contradiction. It is important to the definition of (logically) possible worlds. Perhaps Live4Him would like to go into what makes this, our world, a possible world.

          November 18, 2013 at 12:37 pm |
  12. Honey Badger Don't Care

    Using delusional behaviour to create solice is so dishonest. Why cant these people be honest with them selves and deal with reality on it's own terms?

    November 18, 2013 at 10:14 am |
    • bostontola

      huh?

      November 18, 2013 at 7:22 pm |
  13. Griffin

    "Many of them asked the pastor how God could let such a calamity befall this predominantly Catholic city." Yes, we live in the Garden of Eden and not in a fallen world. #Not!

    November 18, 2013 at 9:49 am |
    • Firwood

      How would Jesus address that question posed by a group of people that are suffering?

      November 18, 2013 at 9:57 am |
      • Morton Sean

        "Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted."

        November 18, 2013 at 9:59 am |
      • How

        How

        November 18, 2013 at 7:23 pm |
  14. Reality # 2

    "But why it had to happen to Tacloban and its more than 200,000 residents, Father Bacaltos acknowledged, is "difficult to explain."

    No, it really is not. When you live in country that has four or more typhoons a year, one should expect such occurrences. Praying to some god won't change the situation. Making changes to house designs (storm cellars, safe rooms etc.) and restricting living quarters to safer locations would.

    November 18, 2013 at 9:31 am |
    • Sara

      Percieved control is what matters, though, not true control. These individuals have very little control over the construction and none over the weather, so the only level of control is in where one lives and in religion or percieved political power which jis likely almost as imaginary as the religious power.

      November 18, 2013 at 9:39 am |
    • Crom

      They war upon the poor and so will never provide any shelters if they can help it.
      They also allow low-income criminals to immigrate so they can justify any crackdowns using military force when the violence erupts as it always does.
      The Phillippine islands have always been ruled with an iron fist that takes all money and does nothing for the people, often pretending to use religious reasons for doing so. Too bad the storm didn't wipe the islands clean of greedy people or we'd all be trying to make global warming worse with that happy goal in mind.

      November 18, 2013 at 9:46 am |
    • Where was non-belief when...

      Prayer isn't meant to get everything you want answered by God. He isn't some genie in a bottle that grants you wishes. That's not even the point of prayer to begin with.

      November 18, 2013 at 10:01 am |
      • In Santa we trust

        What is the point of prayer if not to request your omnipotent being to change the course of destiny? And then maybe you could explain why an omniscient being needs to be told?

        November 18, 2013 at 10:28 am |
      • stevep44

        Then what is the point of prayer? If your god has a divine plan, what can we, as mere humans do to influence the creator of the universe? Prayer is futile and/or redundant – other than for the self-gratification of the person praying.

        November 18, 2013 at 12:31 pm |
  15. Live4Him

    @Rev. Edwin Bacaltos : God is not the cause of the suffering. God cannot prevent this. This is the work of nature.

    I believe these statements are being misconstrued by some on this forum. The question is WHY can't God prevent this? I would posit that Bacaltos is referring to the law of non-contradiction. In essence, God cannot give man free will while denying the natural consequences to those choices and expecting man to learn from said consequences. Mankind rejected God's leadership and the result is we are no longer protected from nature itself.

    November 18, 2013 at 9:27 am |
    • Reality # 2

      "Mankind rejected god's leadership" ? Give us a break !!!

      November 18, 2013 at 9:34 am |
    • Sara

      Two problems here. First, the concept of free will makes no sense and is just used to fill the holes in the Christian position. Second, this supposed "free will" afftects others and their behaviors and timeliness of death impacting their ultimate destinies, making this a grossly unfair system.

      You have to wear blinders to imagine this makes any moral sense.

      November 18, 2013 at 9:35 am |
      • Live4Him

        @Sara : First, the concept of free will makes no sense and is just used to fill the holes in the Christian position.

        First, it is in the Bible (i.e. don't eat the 'apple'). Second, do you believe that you have no choice in life? If you believe you have a choice, then why doesn't it make sense to you?

        @Sara : Second, this supposed "free will" afftects others and their behaviors and timeliness of death impacting their ultimate destinies, making this a grossly unfair system

        Of course if affects others (remember Cain and Abel?). Why do you think that your choices shouldn't impact anyone else? Think about this: Her: I'd like to spend the night with you. Him: You can't because you're affecting my life. Her: Hmmmm.... How do I spend the night with and without you?

        Again, this is the law of the excluded middle. You cannot make a decision that will affect another person, while not affecting them.

        November 18, 2013 at 9:46 am |
        • Sara

          L4H, I believe I make choices but by choices I mean something very different than the Christian. All my choices have causes that with enough information we could understand and ultimately originate outside of the self. I am an integral part of the universe and subject to the same laws as other parts of the universe.

          Yes, of course actions affect others. Your problem is in explaining how given that one's decision whether to teach one's children a certain way or to abort a fetus would impact their immortal souls the whole system could be considered remotely ethical.

          November 18, 2013 at 9:53 am |
        • Live4Him

          @Sara : First, the concept of free will makes no sense and is just used to fill the holes
          @Sara : L4H, I believe I make choices but by choices I mean something very different than the Christian.

          Nothing in your post leads be to believe that your view on choices is 'very different' from the Christian view on it. So, you seem to agree with the Christian view of free will. Thus, it should make sense to you. So, what's your point here?

          @Sara : to abort a fetus

          If you want to start on a new topic, then start a new thread. In the meantime, I'll stay focused on the issue of whether mankndss's free will to make choices leads to consequences from which he/she can learn.

          November 18, 2013 at 10:04 am |
        • Sara

          L4H, I was giving examples related to the current topic, not attempting to change the topic. If you don't want to address it just say so. If you don't understand how the destiny of an aborted fetus relates to free will I'm sure someone can explain it.

          There are many different Christian conceptions of free will. Most are libertarian (logically and scientifically nonsensical) others compatiblist (inconsistent with the rewards and punshiments of Christianity). Either way, it just doesn't work.

          November 18, 2013 at 10:13 am |
        • yep

          Sara: "others compatiblist"

          yes and semi-compatibilism allows for moral judgment whether free will exists or not! pretty cool stuff!

          November 18, 2013 at 10:17 am |
        • Live4Him

          @Sara : I was giving examples related to the current topic, not attempting to change the topic.

          Since I see them as an attempt to start a rabbit trail, then I'll ignore them.

          @Sara : Either way, it just doesn't work.

          Care to elucidate your response? How do you define 'libertarian' and 'compatiblist' and why don't they work?

          November 18, 2013 at 10:20 am |
        • Jude Maverick

          Then what was this??

          L4H:
          Why do you think that your choices shouldn’t impact anyone else? Think about this: Her: I’d like to spend the night with you. Him: You can’t because you’re affecting my life. Her: Hmmmm…. How do I spend the night with and without you?

          You are doing the same exact thing that you accused Sara of doing. Really, you are just too disingenuous!

          And stop picking one part of one sentence in one paragraph to comment on; taking things out if context is a hallmark of your posts and it is one reason why you are generally regarded as a dishonest debater.

          November 18, 2013 at 10:42 am |
        • Sara

          L4H,

          "Since I see them as an attempt to start a rabbit trail, then I'll ignore them."

          LOL, well isn't that a convenient way to ignore any topic you are too lazy to address?

          "Care to elucidate your response? How do you define 'libertarian' and 'compatiblist' and why don't they work?"

          Those are pretty basic terms in free will discussions and you should review original sources for the meaning. Try here if you need clarification:

          http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/compatibilism/
          http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/incompatibilism-theories/

          I have already explained why they don't work.

          November 18, 2013 at 11:25 am |
        • Reality # 2

          Cain and Abel are myths as are Abraham and Moses. One more time some 21st reality from those who have studied the OT/Torah:

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

          New Torah For Modern Minds

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

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

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

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

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

          November 18, 2013 at 11:51 am |
    • Westboro Baptist Church membership questionnaire grader

      OK, you passed question #1, Live4Him, please continue.

      November 18, 2013 at 9:39 am |
    • ?

      The question is WHY can't god prevent this? The answer is gods do not exist except in the story books they dwell within.. No amount of your lies will change that fact, L4H, but knock yourself trying to prove your particular delusion.

      November 18, 2013 at 9:58 am |
      • ?

        knock yourself out

        November 18, 2013 at 10:01 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      If bad weather is the result of man exercising free will?

      November 18, 2013 at 10:09 am |
    • In Santa we trust

      Lie4Him, So you're saying that god sat Adam and Eve down and explained what nature was like and knowing that they chose to be exposed to disaster. Where does the Easter Bunny fit into this fairy story?

      November 18, 2013 at 10:32 am |
    • Reality # 2

      As per the famous contemporary theologian, Edward Schillebeeckx, God (if one exists) is not omniscient. Please read, pause and contemplate the following by Schillebeeckx:

      Church: The Human Story of God,
      Crossroad, 1993, p.91 (softcover)

      "Christians (et al) must give up a perverse, unhealthy and inhuman doctrine of predestination without in so doing making God the great scapegoat of history."

      "Nothing is determined in advance: in nature there is chance and determinism; in the world of human activity there is possibility of free choices.

      Therefore the historical future is not known even to God, otherwise we and our history would be merely a puppet show in which God holds the strings.

      For God, too, history is an adventure, an open history for and of men and women."

      i.e. No one, not even God (if one exists) can prophesy since that would violate the human condition of Free Will and Future.

      November 18, 2013 at 11:55 am |
  16. rhaj

    "God is not the cause of the suffering. God cannot prevent this. This is the work of nature."

    I am athee and I am so happy hearing this from the Reverend : that is one step towards reasonability.

    (next step, God is not the cause of ... anything, except in believer's imagination)

    November 18, 2013 at 9:09 am |
    • 116

      Ok, rhaj, explain this fact: Voltaire, a famous French writer during the 1700s he frequently said that Christianity would die out as a fool's religion with in 100 years, after he died, his home became a printer's lab where they printed bibles, Dunkirk, WW2, the entire German army mysteriously stops ten miles outside of the vulnerable Belgian town where over 300000 Alied soldiers were waiting to be transported off the mainland, why did Hitler Stop? it makes no rational sense, also the weather over the English channel happened to be the best weather for mass transportation. So you try to tell me there is no God,
      I seek an Explanation

      November 18, 2013 at 11:10 am |
      • rhaj

        I would say, whatever Voltaire said, that was him, and the state of knowledge he had that time. (I am not into any a "cult" of personality, or of... Voltaire). But if I understand what you are trying to say, it is because Voltaire said something that God "gave a sign" and "show the opposite" ?
        I would say, that is a coincidence, and the "sign" is only your imagination (collective).

        As for Dunkirk, I (or anyone else) may not have explanation now, but maybe someone else will have one, later...

        There are so many "coincidence" or "unexplained" that were attributed to God, but then, at a later time, it appears... the "explanation" is no more than folk's (collective) imagination.

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

          For instance.. you wrote at 11:10 am. I reply at 1:11 pm. What should we make of that ? is it also a "sign" ?

          November 18, 2013 at 1:14 pm |
        • 116

          the Miricle at dunkirk problably has been the most examined event of all of WW2 in europe besides D-Day, you think there would be a leginimate explanation why Germany did not make the simple move of attacking a very vulnerable enemy, it defies logic and common sense, there is no other explanation God did it.

          November 18, 2013 at 1:43 pm |
        • Joey

          There are literally thousands of better explanations.

          November 18, 2013 at 2:10 pm |
        • rhaj

          There are so many things that "defy logic and common sense" in the history of mankind, but in fact, they defy "our" logic and common sense "of the day".
          I am comfortable for NOT having an explanation.
          I am very uncomfortable to accept an "explanation" that "defies logic and common sense" and, likely, will be proven erroneous in the future.

          November 18, 2013 at 2:52 pm |
  17. bacbik

    Godless morning!

    November 18, 2013 at 8:37 am |
    • Crom

      Godless reality and it always has been. How do you miss what was never there?

      November 18, 2013 at 8:56 am |
      • bacbik

        True. Fine godless morning here. Love fall.

        November 18, 2013 at 9:05 am |
        • Crom

          Time to get over it and move on. If you define everything by what it lacks, then happy lack-of-magic day to you.
          I'd better get out my lack-of-magic-Santa tree, decorate it with scientifically-produced baubles, and give things to people necessary or not, as finances permit, using only one day a year to commence the transaction of gift-giving as opposed to the regular giving I do year-round.
          With special obscuring festive paper wrapped around said gifts. Ribbons optional. Individual results will vary.

          November 18, 2013 at 9:34 am |
  18. Doc Vestibule

    "A religion is sometime a source of happiness, and I would not deprive anyone of happiness. But it is a comfort appropriate for the weak, not for the strong. The great trouble with religion – any religion – is that a religionist, having accepted certain propositions by faith, cannot thereafter judge those propositions by evidence. One may bask at the warm fire of faith or choose to live in the bleak certainty of reason- but one cannot have both."
    – Robert Heinlein

    November 18, 2013 at 8:28 am |
    • How

      who?

      November 18, 2013 at 7:25 pm |
  19. Crom

    What is left out of the Phillippines news coverage is just how much violence, murder, and looting is being done by Muslim immigrants in these areas. Go ahead and check. A news organization that ignores religious crime is guilty of it.

    November 18, 2013 at 8:23 am |
    • Crom

      And the lack of government assistance has them shouting in the streets. Why the BS?
      "Ohhhhhhh....
      We're the Editor Chorus
      We hope you like our show
      We know you're rooting for us
      But now we have to go-o – !
      "

      November 18, 2013 at 8:31 am |
  20. Levi

    May the God of all hope and comfort, comfort the people of Philippines.

    November 18, 2013 at 8:20 am |
    • bacbik

      May people give and help them rebuild. Later we help them al Levi ate superstition.

      November 18, 2013 at 9:21 am |
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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.