Six Questions for Christians Following the Newtown Massacre

This is a guest post by Tracey L. Melody. Tracey is a longtime atheist with a degree and background in communications who lives with her family in Maine.

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As the parent of a young daughter, the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School has hit my family hard. It is impossible to think of the tragedy without projecting the face of my own child onto the young victims, or trying to identify with the agony and anguish of their families, especially the parents.

Because of this I cannot help but view people’s responses through the lens of how they would be received if seen or heard by one of those grieving mothers or fathers. It is also a challenge because as an atheist (or, as I prefer, a Humanist), I cannot escape the avalanche of directives to pray and proffering of religious explanations for the carnage.

Some of these, such as former President of Focus on the Family James Dobson blaming abortion and gay marriage, border on the absurd, and as such are easily dismissed as fringe. The one I have seen the most, though, is the one that has gnawed at me the most, given that I am hearing it even from people I had formerly considered reasonable Christians: God did not protect the children at Sandy Hook because, to use Bryan Fischer’s words, he is “not welcome” in public schools.

Once I choke down the insensitivity of the remark and look at it more objectively, it presents something of a conundrum for those who would make such an argument. I wonder whether these individuals could reasonably answer the following questions without any inconsistencies in order to reconcile this claim with the basic Christian tenet of a kind, gentle Jesus Christ.

  1. If any of the victims were pious, faithful, moral people living as Jesus taught — and since the majority of them were hardly more than babies, it is a safe assumption that they were mostly free of sin — why does that get ignored because they happened to be in a public building? The Supreme Court has upheld the right of students to pray in public schools; the prohibition is only against school personnel leading or enforcing prayer. Would God have protected non-pious individuals in a church or on private property where separation of church & state do not apply? Is where you are physically located in a crisis the determinant of God’s protection or abandonment, or must you be both pious and not in a public building?
  2. What about mass shootings that have occurred in places not subject to separation of church & state, such as malls, theaters, or restaurants? What about the ones at religious schools or churches (such as occurred at the Sikh temple, Wedgewood Baptist Church, or the Living Church of God)? Indeed, these occurred in God’s own house where one can only assume He is “welcome.”
  3. If God loves His children, why let His children’s children be slaughtered simply because they are in a place where they cannot worship publicly? If He gave us free will and we used it to create rules that keep government and religion separate, does it seem fair to condemn people who follow those rules in an attempt to be good citizens to execution by armed gunmen?
  4. If God really could have protected those children but chose not to as a means of teaching us a lesson because we dared to keep institutional prayer out of public schools, what about that is worth worship? Is an omnipotent deity that opts not to intervene to save innocent children from violent, painful, terrifying death truly a God of love and forgiveness, or is He a God of wrath? And if the latter, what reason other than fear of reprisal is there to worship?
  5. If God does not have the ability to intervene and couldn’t have stopped the massacre even if He wanted to, then what does it matter that He is “not welcome” in public schools? If He cannot intervene, then welcome or not, prayer or not, their fate was in the shooter’s hands, not God’s, wasn’t it?
  6. Simply by virtue of offering an explanation for why God permitted this atrocity, are people not presuming to know God’s mind and intent? If He is angered by human arrogance in the separation of church & state, would He not also be angered by the arrogance of this presumption?

I have no quarrel with people who seek refuge in prayer to cope with this or any tragedy; we all must grieve and attempt to make sense of things in our own way, and if God serves that purpose for some, then who am I to argue? However, when fundamentalists begin laying blame for such events at the feet of secular laws and assert that their God could do better, it is fair to require them to demonstrate how, precisely, He would do so. Subjecting their proposals to the scrutiny of critical thought, starting with answers to these questions, seems both reasonable and right. In a world where six- and seven-year-olds are shot to death for no reason, a little more reason and rightness seem in order.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the chair of Foundation Beyond Belief and a high school math teacher in the suburbs of Chicago. He began writing the Friendly Atheist blog in 2006. His latest book is called The Young Atheist's Survival Guide.

  • funnieguy

    Amen

  • Octoberfurst

    Great questions! I too am sick and tired of hearing religious people babble on about how this happened because “God is not welcome in schools anymore.” As if only there was organized morning prayers in the school that God himself would have stopped the gunman at the door or at least made the guns not work. Uh-huh. Tell that to the parents of the Amish school girls who were massacred at the Nickel Mines school in Pa. I have no doubt they prayed every morning. Where was God then?

    All this talk is really about establishing religious practices back in school. The theocrats are using this tragedy to push their agenda and we must use questions like those above to keep them at bay and not let them sway public opinion during these emotional times. Be prepared to hear right-wing politicians use this tragedy to try to get prayer back in public schools—for the sake of the children of course. (Because we don’t want to piss off God now do we?)

  • Renshia

    I think these are great questions. The only problem is asking them to christians. We know that they will always be able to find excuses for the god they worship. We know that there is nothing that their god will allow, that most christians can find a way to excuse.
    Just like daylight atheisms questions to pro-lifers, anything can and will be excused. When you are willing to concede control of your life to an imaginary being, anything is possible. It does not matter how low or despicable it is, it’s god’s right after all.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Shiari-Ryu/821884434 Shiari Ryu

      Actually, not always. The dilemma of #4 is what started my road towards atheism. I was raised christian, but upon reading the bible at 13 I realised that the god portrayed in that book is a monster and unworthy of worship.

    • http://www.persephonespath.com/ PersephoneK

      I think of it slightly differently (as a former Christian)… I’m not sure its about being willing to cede control when belief is somewhat fear driven brainwashing. but the decision to leave faith is about accepting the possibility of eternal damnation, which is pretty terrifying and not surprising that most don’t leave the fold.

  • C Peterson

    Any suggestion that God chooses to protect people from anything simply leads to impossible logical contradictions. It also flies in the face of all that we observe. The best answer I know of is that God doesn’t intervene: not to help people, not to hurt. It set the stage, but allows humans to act as they will. God neither made this happen, nor stood in its way. It was the product of human actions, and human actions could have prevented it. Ask your God to do what it does, and welcome the souls of the dead, but do not blame it or praise it for what happens on Earth, because it takes no role in those things.

    (Of course, these comments only apply to believers in God, not to rational people. But rational people wouldn’t ask the question in the first place.)

    • walkamungus

      Robert Weiss, the monsignor who involved in the horrible task of officially notifying parents, took this very approach:

      From an AP story:
      Weiss said he has “no answer” when families ask him why their children have been taken from them.

      “This was not God’s plan,” he said. “This was a man who has serious issues in his life. Why he’d want to destroy innocent children, no one can figure out.”

      • Doubter

        “This was not god’s plan.”

        The flaw in his thinking is that Christians talk about how god intervenes in their lives all the time. Most of the time when people pray, they’re asking for god to intervene in the affairs of humanity. If they claim that god is omnipotent, then any action or non-action from god is a choice that god makes. If god chooses to help a christian find a good parking space, then christians have to accept that god’s inaction in the Newton tragedy was a choice that god made. If we they further claim that god is omniscient, then god knew, in advance, what was going to happen. All of this adds up to the shooting being part of god’s plan.

        OTOH, they could be wrong about god’s inaction in this event. Maybe it did act. Maybe it steadied the shooter’s aim to drive up the body count. Given god’s old testament reputation, I wouldn’t put it past it.

        • walkamungus

          But (at least in this instance) here’s a Catholic priest who didn’t try to pin it on god — he did, in fact, put the blame where it belongs: on the shooter..

  • NoYourGod

    What? god let 20+ innocent souls be brutally murdered because it’s afraid of some petty bureaucrats?!?

  • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

    “they are in a place where they cannot worship publicly”

    I would re-phrase that. Because they can worship in public. They don’t have to go to a closet to pray in school. They can’t disrupt the class, but they don’t have to hide either. I think any alternative is going to get wordy, but I think something like “cannot be lead in prayer” or “cannot be coerced to pray” would be better.

    IMO part of the persecution complex is the idea that bibles and prayer are completely banned from schools. I like to make the point that the only thing banned is religious coercion.

  • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

    What about mass shootings that have occurred in places not subject to separation of church & state, such as malls, theaters, or restaurants?

    And what about all the shootings that don’t happen in places that are subject to separation of church and state? Like schools in Canada?

    • Cecelia Baines

      You never get credit for the crash you never had….

      As a pilot, that is an old adage we throw around the hangar, and is rather apropos here.

    • LifeinTraffic

      “What about mass shootings that have occurred in places not subject to separation of church & state, such as malls, theaters, or restaurants?”

      Unfortunately, I suspect the answer to that was they were “doing it wrong.” The wrong religion/denomination, not pious enough, not enough time dedicated to worship, no sacrificial virgins or violent protests against gays, etc. No True Scotsman with endlessly moving goal posts seem to be always the order of the day when rational, logical questions are asked of religious folks.

  • LesterBallard

    ” and as such are easily dismissed as fringe”

    Bullshit. There are a fuck load of Christians out there who think like Dobson.

    • xander

      Yeah but there’s a bigger fuck load who don’t. Unfortunately, the crazies tend to be the loudest.

      • http://www.everydayintheparkwithgeorge.com/ Matt Eggler

        Which is why I have so little respect for the “bigger fuck load who don’t”; they cowed and ineffectual, afraid to stand up to the fundamentalist extremists. That is why I define “Christian” as being that extreme end of the spectrum; they have seized the name and if more sane, moderate or liberal Christians don’t want to be tarred with that label they need to get off their asses and take it back.

        • Robert Freid

          So do you define the Muslim as the radical Jihadist?

          • Lagerbaer

            As long as innocent cartoons generate a far bigger outcry in the entire Muslim world than any real atrocities going on? Yes.

          • http://www.everydayintheparkwithgeorge.com/ Matt Eggler

            In countries such as Saudi Arabia and Yemen, I would answer yes; in others, such as Iran and the US I would say no, for the reasons I stated above. Unlike their Christian counter parts, moderate Muslims in the US and Iran make an organized stance against the extremists.

            Unfortunately, in Iran they have the government against them so they can effect little change, but even there they are far more vocal and organized than their Christian counterparts in the US.

  • Troels Jakobsen

    All excellent questions, which of course will receive no answers. I suspect most of the people who subscribe to the idea that God actually allowed this atrocity to happen as a message or a punishment haven’t considered how it makes God look like an absolute asshole (though some of them probably have, and contend themselves with how we cannot hope to understand God’s ways – the usual non-answer).

    I suspect for many the idea of mandatory school prayer is simply a reflex, a solve-all solution to all of society’s problems, so they drag it out at any opportunity. Except this time many of their spokespersons managed to make themselves look like callous idiots. Hopefully a few of their usual supporters will realize just how stupid they sound.

  • coyotenose

    regarding #6: Yes, they are “false prophets”. The Bible has some words about such people, and those words should be thrown in their faces at every opportunity, in every interview, along with the verses about public prayer.

    • Lagerbaer

      So how can we tell false prophets from true prophets?

  • Littleboybrew

    I have two questions:

    1. If the murders were the result of removing god from the classroom, wouldn’t schools in secular Europe be awash in the blood of murdered students?

    2. As many letters to the local paper have commented, god has welcomed these young children into heaven. If that is true, why do we not praise the killer for committing such a kind act, an act that removed the burden of living in a often painful and unforgiving world and replaced it with a infinity of bliss?

    • http://www.flickr.com/groups/invisiblepinkunicorn Anna

      Regarding your second question, a lot of these Christians don’t actually have a problem with killing . It’s a question of who’s doing the killing. They don’t mind if their god kills children, but they’re not okay with a person doing it, even if there’s a positive outcome, ie: the children having an eternity of bliss.
      Their god is “allowed” to end life without being reproached. Humans are not. This appears to be the reasoning of religious people who are against abortion, birth control, the death penalty, euthanasia, etc.

  • mike

    You make it sound like the views of these ignorant people reflect those of most Christians when in reality, it represents a very small minority. If you are a Christian and do not agree with the ridiculous claims by Dobson or Fischer (and most do not), then these questions make no sense.

    • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

      I’m not sure how small that minority is. A few of my relatives feel that way. I think most of them, if pressed would back into “well, it’s just one factor” type of rhetoric. But I think a lot of Americans think more God in our schools would be a good thing. Maybe not a majority, but not a small fringe either.

    • nakedanthropologist

      I can understand where you are coming from, but I do think that these questions have merit – especially as they pertain to the beliefs of a large majority of the populace in the US. My parents are Christian, both regard Dobson as a nutjob, and yet they still entertain the idea that having mandated prayer in schools would have impacted the income of this situation. I think these questions do make sense, because they ask us to honestly consider how one reconciles theological belief, politcal rhetoric, and physical actions. I’ve heard and seen many people express that “if prayer was allowed in school” that this tragedy would never have happened. Part of the problems of this meta-themed social language is that it is ingenuous – prayer is allowed in publics schools, but it cannot be coerced or forced by the faculty/administration on the students. So even if you, I, or others are Christians who do not agree with Dobson, these questions do have a great deal of merit, especially when addressed to a larger audience.

    • Blacksheepaol.com

      The questions make no sense mainly because they are not based in any Christian theology.

      In fact they’re almost like the famous question: “So, are you still beating your wife?”

      There’s no right answer.

      • coyotenose

        Your analogy is garbage and untruthful to boot. The questions are based in precisely the theology that YOU YOURSELF HAVE SEEN POPULAR CHRISTIANS USING BECAUSE IT HAS BEEN LINKED AND DISCUSSED RIGHT HERE WHERE YOU HAVE COMMENTED ON IT BEFORE.

        Or are you shooting for a “No True Christian” here?

        • Blacksheep

          My analogy is 100% truthful. You can call it garbage, your choice to be part of that group.

          Everything else you wrote in all caps is wrong, too. Sorry. Just because popular Christians say something does not make it correct – nothing to do with NTC! Wrong is just plain wrong.

      • Bad_homonym

        The questions are pertainant because they are asked as a counter to statements made by prominent religious leaders. The fact that no 2 scholars or leaders do the exact same mental gymnastics when interpreting the bible, doesn’t make these questions invalid as a response to the statements made by the aforementioned preachers! I suppose they aren’t REAL christians though.

      • Jinx

        The “famous question” that you refer to is quite familiar to me; I believe that you are making a false comparison here.

        “So, are you still beating your wife?” is an example of a loaded question. It is present in almost every logic textbook that has ever been made.

        However, I should remind you that simply asking a loaded question does not make an argument fallacious. A loaded question is very similar to a rhetorical question; in other words, it is a device used in an argument. Many logicians do not consider a loaded question to be a fallacy unless the aforementioned question has only two possible answers.

        In other words, for you to prove to me that this is a fallacy, you would have to go through each of the guest writer’s questions and show me that there are only two (wrong) answers for each.

        By saying that the questions make no sense because they are not based in theology, you engage in a logical fallacy known as special pleading. There are plenty of refutations for the teleological and ontological arguments for God that exploit holes in theology; obviously enough, it would not be possible to ask these questions in a way that affirms Christianity (that would be rather purpose defeating.) In other words, you cannot answer the questions, and your argument is not exactly correct.

  • http://www.travismamone.net/ Travis Mamone

    Now I’m no theologian, and I’m still trying to find the answers, so please bear with me. Here are my answers:

    1. Because James Dobson, Mike Huckabee, and Bryan Fischer are all ignorant.

    2. and 3. Despite what Dobson says, the separation of Church has absolutely NOTHING to do with determining when and where mass killings strike.

    4. I don’t believe God works that way. Details in the next answer.

    5. Now here’s where we get theological. I subscribe to what is know as “process theology,” which is sort of like a Buddhist version of Christianity. In process theology, God is one with nature, and therefore cannot break the laws the nature to intervene. However, according to the founder of process theology Alfred North Whitehead, God is the “fellow-sufferer who understands.” Since God is one with nature, then God experiences all pain and suffering that happens on Earth. God doesn’t just empathize, though. According to process theology, God invites mankind to partner with God (can you tell we don’t use gender exclusive pronouns for the Divine?) in creating a better world.

    With all that in mind, I don’t believe God has anything to do with any shooting. It was a madman with a gun that caused all the suffering in Newtown, not God.

    6. Here’s the kicker: I’m fully aware that I could be wrong about everything I said about God in #5, so, yes, I don’t think it’s right to presume to know everything God is thinking.

    Hopefully that helps. Keep in mind that these are just my answers and not the opinion of every Christian. I’m just a regular guy trying to figure it all out.

    • Troglodyke

      “I subscribe to what is know as “process theology,” which is sort of like a Buddhist version of Christianity. In process theology, God is one with nature, and therefore cannot break the laws the nature to intervene. However, according to the founder of process theology Alfred North Whitehead, God is the “fellow-sufferer who understands.” Since God is one with nature, then God experiences all pain and suffering that happens on Earth. God doesn’t just empathize, though. According to process theology, God invites mankind to partner with God (can you tell we don’t use gender exclusive pronouns for the Divine?) in creating a better world. With all that in mind, I don’t believe God has anything to do with any shooting. It was a madman with a gun that caused all the suffering in Newtown, not God.”

      Travis, with respect, may I ask you this?

      You have obviously thought about your beliefs at great length. When I see explanations for people’s beliefs that are convoluted like yours, I always wonder: with all the time it takes you to mentally construct your beliefs, as convoluted as they are, and defend them, as I imagine you have to do quite a bit, wouldn’t it just be easier and more reasonable to assume that no god exists?

      You obviously reject many of the tenets of Christianity (at least as it is practiced in America), and organized religion, and so you subscribe to a theology that picks and throws away those parts of religion with which you disagree, and strives to make sense of what is left. How is it that, in the midst of all the mental gymnastics, the idea that there is no god at all not taken root for you? You seem like a thoughtful person.

      • http://www.travismamone.net/ Travis Mamone

        Mostly it’s because at this particular point in time, I can’t say without a doubt that there is absolutely no Higher Power whatsoever. Will arrive there someday? Perhaps, perhaps not, I don’t know. I’m still on the journey.

        • Lagerbaer

          Travis, in most modern court systems, a person is presumed innocent until proven guilty. For quite similar reasons, one should presume an entity (god, aliens, bigfoot) fictitious until proven otherwise.

          • God logic

            Lagerbaer, using the court analogy, I think you just made an argument for believing in those things until proven otherwise too.

            Christians believe in an eternal afterlife much like some scientists believe in alternate universes. Has anyone been there? Has anyone sent the test monkey to prove alternate universes exist? No, but hearing somebody in a lab coat saying other worlds exist sounds so smart. Yet believing in an afterlife secondary existence, that’s just sounds weird!
            To Travis’ point, you’d be surprised at the parallels of God, nature and man. For instance, the only way for muscles to get stronger is to literally tear the tissue and then heal stronger than before. There is pain involved in this process – pain knowingly and willingly absorbed to make it happen. Sounds a lot like every man’s journey, and could also be said for what Jesus did. God promised there’d be pain in this world that contains evil. What do we do with the pain caused by this incident? How do we heal? How do we get stronger? For me, it is visiting this website and sharing some things I’ve come to know. For some others, it may be making the world safer through gun control, or involvement in psych care, or securing facilities to keep this from happening again, or reaching out to others in their community or to the families, or prayer. This existence here is but a blink of the eye to an eternity that awaits. You’ll see! :o )

            • Brian Scott

              “Christians believe in an eternal afterlife much like some scientists believe in alternate universes.”

              Not equivalent. http://www.hedweb.com/manworld.htm#unique

              Read Q36. Alternate universe/many worlds has testable predictions.

              • God logic

                Theories – and there has been documented proof that God existed in the Bible – you just choose to dismiss it because you didn’t see it for yourself. The arrogance of man is astounding – can you really believe man is going to disprove a higher being? Also, if alternate universes can be proven, maybe one of those is Heaven.

                • Brian Scott

                  You didn’t read it.

                  Again, testable predictions. Operational requirements.

                  Yes, history has this as well. And there are other hypotheses explaining gods in the bible. You just choose to ignore the probability of them being false.

  • http://www.facebook.com/RichieJ21 Josh M Richardson

    I am a Christian, and do not agree at all with anyone who says that God didn’t protect these children because he is “not welcome” in public schools. That’s a ridiculous perspective.

    I believe that God is both just and merciful. He has given us the right to make our own choices, and that includes those who would use their ability to choose to commit acts of evil.

    Those beautiful and innocent children who were slain have been received into the arms of their loving Father. He sees death differently than we do. Death is just a step in our eternal progression. What we see as tragedy, He sees as some of His beautiful and innocent children coming home.

    On the other side, there are souls who will have to answer for what happened to those children. The blood of the innocent will stand as a witness against those who could have prevented this act. I don’t know how accountable Adam Lanza is, but God does. Adam will have to account for his actions, but he is not the only one. Could his mother have done something different to prevent the crimes? Could anyone have done anything? I don’t know, and thankfully I don’t need to. Judgement is reserved for a wise and all-knowing God.

    I realize that my beliefs put me in the minority on this blog, but I wanted to make it clear that not all Christians can be so easily classified. I respect your right to believe (or disbelieve) any way you choose, and I expect you to afford me the same right.

    Also, the author is my cousin, and while we don’t see eye to eye on some issues, I love how articulate and thoughtful she is. Thanks for inspiring intelligent discussion, Tracey!

    • Baby_Raptor

      So you’re admitting that God sits back and does nothing? Except for judge people after they die, apparently?

      This is one of the bigger problems I have with Christianity. Your god seems to have no sense of justice. He doesn’t stop people from abusing, hurting or out-right killing each other, even in his name, down here. And once they die, all that seems to matter was whether or not they “got saved,” so even if they were giant pricks, they’re fine.

      There’s no justice there. And to me, that makes your god completely unworthy of worship.

      • http://www.facebook.com/RichieJ21 Josh M Richardson

        What would you have Him do? Would you have Him take away your right to conduct your life as you see fit? That’s not part of the plan. If He prevents us from making choices, even if those choices are doing harm to others, then none of us are free.

        Would you want to lose your right to decide for yourself what you will and won’t do? What you will and won’t believe?

        Neither would I. I will be judged for what I do. So will you. So will everyone else. In order for that judgement to be fair, we have the agency to act for ourselves.

        • http://www.facebook.com/skeptical.cat.96 Skeptical Cat

          What right? who said anyone has a right to kill children? Your god accepts it as a right to murder children?

          • Rwlawoffice

            No. God allows us to have free will to act. Some people abuse that free will to kill children.

            • coyotenose

              Thus taking away those childrens’ free will. Logic am hard.

              • Miss_Beara

                I don’t know why this is so difficult to understand. The murderer, rapist, drunk driver, any other person that can take another person’s life away has the free will to carry a weapon for murder, to sexually violate another person, to have many drinks and get behind the wheel.

                Where is the free will of their victims? Where is their right not to be murdered, raped or hit by a drunk driver? The victim doesn’t have free will, the victimizer does.

        • Troels Jakobsen

          It’s strange how God seems to be so concerned about protecting the rights of the criminals while not giving a crap about the rights of the victims. The murderer takes away the free will of his victims, yet he is the one who should have his free will protected? Your god has some fucked up priorities.

          • Rwlawoffice

            What makes you think that God only protects the rights of the criminals? We have the freedom to act how we want. That goes for acting good and acting bad. It works both ways. With this free will there is evil and sin in the world. If God took away the ability to act bad, there would be no real free will.

            • Troels Jakobsen

              What makes you think that God only protects the rights of the criminals?

              The simple fact that a murderer robs his victims of their free will, and God does nothing about it. Doing nothing is an action, with real consequences. In this case it has the consequence of removing the victims’ free will. No matter what, God intercedes in our free will, whether his actions be active or passive.

            • Miss_Beara

              “If God took away the ability to act bad, there would be no real free will.”

              Again, “bad free will” trumps “good free will.” The murderer (bad) takes away the free will of a child (good). Where is the free will of the child, or anyone, to not be murdered?

              • rwlawoffice

                Free will just means we have the freedom to act and think without being controlled by God. That applies equally to all people good and bad. One doesn’t trump the other.

          • Blacksheep

            It’s clear from your comments that you don’t understand the concept of free will.

            • coyotenose

              We understand it perfectly well. By giving “free will” to both victimizer and victim, God is siding with the victimizer, who takes away the victim’s ability to make choices.

              Not that it matters, because the simple concept of brain damage refutes “Free Will” without any further argument needed.

        • Brian Pansky

          glad the reasonable “all that ‘not welcome in public schools’ stuff is silly” christian came here give us the other face of christianity.

          because “the plan” and “our physically possible choices that do not include levitation and must include the bullets actually hitting their targest after the choice is already made” are much less silly perspectives.

          we couldn’t choose or think for ourselves if bulets were not allowed to strike children after the choice was already made! Somebody please think of the Choices/bullets!

        • Moor Walker

          Since I regard belief in any kind of deity as akin to believing in fairies your post has no meaning or relevance.

        • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

          I would have him give as actual free will. Free will does not involve threats of eternal torture.

          • Blacksheep

            It’s free will, in a universe that has right and wrong as part of it.

            • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

              Except that the only absolute wrong is denial of God.

              Is it rational to punish my son for disagreeing with me? I may out of anger (I sure hope not) but is that rational? If I manage to change his behavior via punishment, have I really convinced him? Or just forced his will?

              Pretty sure the response will be along the lines of “you’re trying to measure God by your own limited human measures”. So be it, but if God can’t exceed my limited human morality, then maybe I’ve exceeded the capacity of my creator? Isn’t that what any good parent should wish for?

              • Blacksheep

                Rich, I have serious issues with the whole concept of hell and eternal punishment. MANY Christians, my own pastor included, pretty much do not believe in it – and hold fast to the idea that when Christ said he came to save everyone, he meant EVERYONE. But like you, I can’t hide from the actual words in the book.

                That’s not enough to take away my faith, (which is not based on whether or not I like all of the doctrine) but I do believe that the net result will be just.

            • Cecelia Baines

              You sound like a five-year old. Seriously, have you ever actually listened to how you and your fellow nutjobs known as Xians talk?

              You sound just like five-year olds.

            • Bad_homonym

              There is no free will! god is omniscient and knew this tragedy would occur, but he created those children and their killer anyway! If the killer exercised free will and didn’t murder those children gods omniscience wouldn’t be! So it all was according to a destiny set in motion by god with his prior knowledge that it WAS going to happen. No free will at work there! If I do any one thing outside of gods plans it would be free will, but the christian

          • Robert Freid

            “Free will does not involve threats of eternal torture.” That’s a negative consequence of free will.

            • God logic

              If you commit murder you’ve just made the choice to spend the rest of your life in jail. No difference for eternal damnation. Conversely, having no threat of a negative outcome offers no reason to play by the rules.

        • Bad_homonym

          I don’t actually have a choice! If I am his creation, then I am performing as designed! I have a sceptical mind and am unable to believe without evidence. Where is my free will. If god is omniscient he made me to fail, and I am in fact doing what he designed me to do! How is that free will?

    • Don Deakins

      God calls his children home so elegantly.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1236820759 Stephanie Martin

      So Josh you think the “god didn’t protect the children because he is not welcome in public schools” a ridiculous perspective eh..Well I think the fact that you believe this god being exists in the first place is ridiculous..And buleeving you know what goes on in the mind of this imaginary big pappy living in the sky is even more ridiculous!..You have absolutely no tangible evidence for your off-the-wall assertions but that doesn’t matter to you does it? Nah ’cause you jest know it in yer heart and don’t care a fig about logic and reason.Oh yeah and that worn-out chestnut “Judgement is reserved for a wise and all-knowing god” relieves you of having to do any kind of critical thinking (facepalm)..Sure, you have every right to any crackpot idea that appeals to you, and I have the right to not respect your batshittery!

      • http://www.facebook.com/RichieJ21 Josh M Richardson

        You absolutely have the right to believe anything you want. And I do lots of critical thinking every day, and I do care about logic and reason.

        This is now a conversation I won’t participate in. I pride myself on logical and thought-out comments, and rather than respond in a respectful and courteous manner, you call my beliefs “ridiculous”, “off the wall”, “crackpot”, “batshit”, “worn-out”. I’ll bet you consider yourself open-minded, too.

        I’ll never make fun of your beliefs, even those I don’t agree with.

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1236820759 Stephanie Martin

          Well that’s your choice to not make fun of my beliefs, I’m certainly not going to be offended if you so choose too, so what..What I have a hard time wrapping my head around is how someone like yourself who claims to pride themselves on logic, reason and critical thinking, but when it comes to religion it all goes right out the window..Yes I do consider myself for the most part an open-minded individual, but not so much that my brain drips out my ears..lol

          • Troglodyke

            I disagree with Josh’s explanation, and I agree with your argument.

            I often get annoyed with religion and those who refuse to entertain that they could be wrong.

            But your reply was as rude as any I’ve seen. I sometimes do not enjoy using the word “atheist” in public; not because I’m ashamed of my lack of belief–far from it–but because, in so many people’s minds, “atheist” has come to mean “arrogant asshole.”

            I’ve rarely heard of anyone becoming atheist because they argued with an asshole and were convinced to his or her viewpoint. Atheist assholes are absolutely entitled to their opinions and can express them in any way they choose, but please do not think for one second that choosing to treat believers like ignorant idiots helps our cause IN ANY WAY.

            Oh, you aren’t arguing to convert anyone? Don’t give a crap about the “cause”? Think that your rudeness doesn’t matter? Think again. Think I am suggesting we all be meek and “yessir, nosir” to everyone so we don’t step on anyone’s precious Christian toes? Think again. In everything under the sun, there is middle ground.

            It’s an art to be able to defend one’s beliefs eloquently, and it is eloquent confidence that changes people’s minds. What you write, and what you say, has meaning–even if you don’t mean for it to.

            • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1236820759 Stephanie Martin

              Ok point well taken..I won’t promise though to be less rude..Quite frankly I just don’t have the patience for that kind of Bronze-age thinking..You know as well as I that trying to reason with these people when it comes to their religious beliefs only serves to make the Atheist feel like he’s at the Mad Hatters Tea-party….As the saying goes”Rational arguments don’t usually work on religious people.Otherwise there would be no religious people.” :^)

              • ImRike

                Stephany, I so empathize with you, because when I see the same weak arguments for the hundredth time, I want to scream all those “nice” words you used!

                On the other hand, I agree with Troglodyke also. Even as an atheist, I often get turned off when I read aggressive posts, even when I am thinking the in same way. That’s why I am mostly a lurker; but I do appreciate both your and Troglodyke’s participation. Maybe some day I’ll be able to contribute to the conversation also.

                • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1236820759 Stephanie Martin

                  But you did contribute…It takes effort to write something well thought out and I don’t always feel like spending that much time on a thread..I fence-sit myself quite a bit and then when the mood strikes, I jump in:^)

            • Blacksheep

              Trog,
              Most religious people that I know (myself included) entertain the idea that they could be wrong. Christianity definitely has room for doubt – even the disciples had doubts.

              • http://www.facebook.com/bestlittlestudio James Henline

                You said “Most religious people that I know (myself included) entertain the idea that they could be wrong.”.

                I have some bad news for you, you are eternally damned and can never enter the kingdom of heaven etc.

                You see the one unforgivable sin is denouncing the holy spirit, if you doubt the holy spirit even for a split second, your father who knows every hair on your head etc will know and you will be damned beyond saving.

                Nice huh. Never even doubt me or you are completely boned, which means, never think critically about it.

                • Troels Jakobsen

                  Not believing is not the same as denouncing. In fact, according to Catholic doctrine (they’re the ones who are the most serious about this decree), denouncing or otherwise badmouthing the holy spirit is anathema (unforgivable) only if you “know” it exists, ie. if you already believe in the holy spirit. And even then, I think you have the option of repenting, so this unforgivable sin is in fact forgivable (the Catholic Church is very good at bending the rules when it suits them).

                • Rwlawoffice

                  This passage does not mean what you think. Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is not the same as having doubts in your faith.

                • Brian Scott

                  Doesn’t matter. Doubts leading to rejection still results in damnation. You cannot truly be free in your reasoning because your reasoning is damaged by the threat of punishment for thinking in certain ways.

              • Glasofruix

                The problem with religion, is that you have to pick one and they are mutually exclusive. But how can you be sure that the religion you picked is the right one? For all i know god is Thor, Quetzalcoatl or Krom, who all have different criteria in order to access their “heaven”.

    • MichaelBrice

      Thanks for letting me know what god thinks, see question #6.

    • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

      Justice is sticking to the rules. Mercy is bending the rules. If you bend the rules to be merciful and not punish something, then you are no longer perfectly just.

      • Blacksheep

        That’s where Christ comes in. The Gospel means that the rules were upheld 100% through Christ’s death, and as a result mercy is offered to anyone who wants it. It’s perfectly just.

        “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”

        • Hypnerotomachia

          The rules weren’t upheld in his death, you realize. Nor is it particularly merciful to tell someone that if s/he doesn’t do exactly what you say, s/he will be tortured forever and ever and ever and ever.

          • coyotenose

            Tortured forever for what actions taken during a time that is infinitesimal compared to eternity, no less. That fact destroys the “God sees death differently than we do” argument. Either a human lifetime is as valuable as eternity or it is not. They want to argue both.

            • Rwlawoffice

              Of course God sees death from an eternal perspective. That is why Christ came so that all could be saved. Even you. If you choose not to accept that gift that is your choice but it is a choice that can only be made during your lifetime There are no do overs. The consequences good and bad are eternal.

          • Blacksheep

            Yes, the law was satisfied in his death, so that there is “…now no condemnation for those who are in Christ.”

            The Bible never says, “do exactly as I say” – it just says to follow Christ. Remember the thief on the cross, all he said was “remember me…” and that was good enough.

            • Bad_homonym

              So the 613 laws in the bible don’t matter?

        • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

          The rules changed. Whether or not Jesus fulfilled them for us, the result was we no longer were held culpable for our ‘sins’. Changing the rules is incomparable with the word ‘justice’. I’m merely arguing semantics, not theology. Mashing those to words together sounds nice, but to me it’s a bit like saying “My next sentence will be true” “That last sentence was false”.

          • Blacksheep

            I understand the semantics thing. But when the Jews (and other religions) sacrificed an animal, it was to “pay” for their wrongdoings.

            Your point is that it’s not “just” to be forgiven through Christ’s sacrifice, because the wrong was still committed?

            • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

              I think so. I think ‘justice’ is making people follow the rules, and punishing them if they don’t. If you add a loophole so people don’t really get punished, then it’s no longer “justice” but “mercy”.

              As an aside, the whole idea of transfer of blame is a no-start for me. I can understand giving something up, but someone (or some animal) else suffering for something I did doesn’t absolve me of anything. It just doesn’t. And you know I’ve heard the arguments about how my sin was too great etc etc. To me it’s a cop out and a guilt trip. And it’s like a game of Calvin-ball, where rules are made up and pulled out of asses. And I know we’re not supposed to be able to understand or comprehend God or his rules. I just don’t have the faith to believe something that not only makes no sense, but is the exact opposite of what I think makes sense.

        • Lagerbaer

          It’s perfectly nonsensical. It’s not just to have someone punished for someone else’s sins.

          • Rwlawoffice

            It’s grace.

    • Moor Walker

      So how tdo you answer Hemant’s questions? You write soft words but avoid the hard parts.

      • Blacksheep

        Hemant’s questions are not based in Christian theology, so they really make no sense. They assume certain things (for example that prayer is supposed to create a force field around believers) when in fact some of the most faithful people throughout time have had a tough go of it.

        For example, he says, “…why does that get ignored when they are in a public building?” On what scripture is Hemant even basing his asertation that being “mostly free of sin” has any bearing on bad things happening in this world?

        It would be like me saying, “Atheists avoid the hard question of how much faith it takes to be an atheist.” That wouldn’t make any sense y
        to you.

        • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

          Just a point of clarification for everyone, they’re not Hemant’s questions, they’re Tracey L. Melody’s

        • Glasofruix

          Yeah except that there’s somewhere a passage in the bible when jebus says: Ask my daddy whatever you want and he’ll grant it.

    • Rwlawoffice

      Josh, As a Christian who posts here on a regular basis, I enjoyed your perspective. I agree that anyone who makes the statement that God allowed this to happen because He is not allowed in schools, is making a political statement, not a theological one. It may be a shorthand way to say that this happens because of the moral decay in our society, but if so it is poorly worded.

      I also agree with your comments on God having a different perspective on death than we do. Atheists who post in response of course don’t acknowledge that difference and will never see it because they believe that this life here is the only life there is.

      The questions asked by your cousin are good ones and if anyone making these statements meant them literally and not as a shorthand statement of an overall moral or culture problem, then they should be ready to answer them. But if they do i would suspect that they would do so with questionable theology.

      • coyotenose

        Considering that you defend passing laws to murder gays predicated on the commonly known lie that the legislators are trying to reduce the spread of AIDS, I’ll have to acknowledge that you are personal expert on moral decay.

        Mass murder was being committed by “moral” Christians long before the modern era, and even during it. Your “shorthand” argument is at best that of a shallow thinker with no grasp of even basic history. But given your own documented history, it’s more likely just another desperate lie from someone trained in Seminary on how to move the goalposts.

        • Rwlawoffice

          You really are a broken record. Where did I ever defend the law passed or considered by the Ugandan government?

          My understanding of history is just fine. It is liberals who like to distort history for their own agenda. The shorthand comment about the moral decay in our society is the difference in how we view the world. I see an overall devaluing of the sanctity of life and a breakdown of the family as being a cultural issue that leads to tragedies that we have experienced several times already this year and experience daily in smaller numbers in cities across this nation.

    • pagansister

      When you find that wise and all-knowing god, let me know, would you? All I see is a god that doesn’t seem to care about all the families—parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts/uncles etc. who loved those babies that were gunned down. Is that god so desperate for love and attention he has to have children killed periodically to keep him company? Not just those beautiful children in Newtown, but all over the world that are dying daily in conflicts (many caused by religions), or from famines, illness etc. Great god in charge here.

  • Zac

    Epicurus would be proud of the bottom three of those questions.

  • ADL

    To the Theists AND Atheists who have rushed to make points off this…A Pox On Both Your Houses!

    • coyotenose

      The atheists have been defending themselves against the theists doing so. There’s no original anti-theism point to be made in this case. Please try again.

  • http://www.facebook.com/rickmcopy Rick Middleton

    The headline should be more specific. These questions are not applicable to all Christians, but are for the fringe Christians who believe the worst about secularists and atheists.

    • coyotenose

      That “fringe” is actually quite large, considering the popularity of the sick twists that are espousing it, such as Mike Huckabee.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1365295498 Lisa DeMott

    I can’t presume to know the mind of all those who say things like Bryan Fisher did, however, when discussing this sickening atrocity with my friends who have said similar things, I believe their point is that, objective morality, which is generally based in theocratic ideals centered around God (think 10 commandments) has been eschewed for a more relative morality, along with the marginalization of God in the public sphere. This, in their view, creates a vacuum in the lives and hearts of those who are not learning morality at home and open them up to acting on such dark and devastating impulses and fantasies that result in the heinous actions that played out in CT. When our society what more centered on religious institutions, there was a certain point where people “just didn’t do” certain things, even if they thought about it.

    I am NOT saying that this is MY point of view, but I don’t think what they mean is that God only protects those in churches. Rather, because God and objective morality is more and more disdained by those in the society at large, then the moral checks on the dark side of humanity are becoming less and less.

    For myself, my faith teaches me that sin is tied inexorably to free will. It wasn’t the sin, or lack of sin, of those child victims that brought about their demise. It was the sinful choice of the killer, his sin, his free will that victimized not only the children, but their families and communities, as well as the wider nation. God follows his own rules, including free will, and that included “allowing” – for lack of a better word – each of us to act on our choices. We don’t know what went on that may have hindered the killer. He had to choose to gather the weapons. He chose to kill his mother first, he chose to go to the school; he chose to push past the adults into the school; he chose to continue on to the classrooms, and on and on. These were not random impulsive actions. We don’t know how many times God tried to touch his heart and stop him, but he kept choosing evil.

    I have had the devastating burden of burying one of my children. I can’t imagine how much worse it would have been if it was an unspeakable act such as this – instead of a medical condition that we tried to cure but failed – that had taken my daughter. To be rendered so powerless, without even the possibility of trying to act on my child’s behalf, would be truly crushing.

    As a religious woman, I see the hand of God in many places as I look around this world, but when we ask “why” we can’t forget to acknowledge the evil (lack of good, not opposite of good) that we allow into the world when we stray from the path of love and goodness. I pray for peace for the families. It will come eventually as they get through this and absorb it into their lives.

    • http://www.flickr.com/groups/invisiblepinkunicorn Anna

      When our society what more centered on religious institutions, there was a certain point where people “just didn’t do” certain things, even if they thought about it.

      The people who believe that need one heck of a history lesson. The deadliest attack on an American elementary school occurred in 1927. There has never been a time when people haven’t done horrible things to children. Living in a religious society has never stopped people from beating, raping, or murdering kids. Many religions, in fact, encourage physical abuse. We see the continued advocacy of this style of parenting in the modern evangelical world, from people like James Dobson and the Pearls.

      • NickDB

        Add to that, that the 50s was one of the worst decades for school shootings. Pretty sure that society was more centered on religious institutions in the 50s.

    • Troels Jakobsen

      We don’t know what went on that may have hindered the killer. He had to choose to gather the weapons. He chose to kill his mother first, he chose to go to the school; he chose to push past the adults into the school; he chose to continue on to the classrooms, and on and on. These were not random impulsive actions.

      I don’t know about this particular case, but there are many cases where the murderer (or otherwise criminal) is not mentally able to evaluate or control his/her actions, meaning the criminal was effectively not in possession of free will.

    • ImRike

      “For myself, my faith teaches me that sin is tied inexorably to free
      will. It wasn’t the sin, or lack of sin, of those child victims that
      brought about their demise. It was the sinful choice of the killer, his
      sin, his free will that victimize…”
      THIS is where I want to start using words like “silly”, “stupid”, “dumb”…. but I won’t!
      Again and again, it was reiterated here how the killer had the free will to do whatever he wanted to do. But NOBODY has explained what happened to the free will of the Victims: they did not go to school on that day with the will to die, the will to get shot down, the will to have THEIR free will taken away from them. Would somebody PLEASE EXPLAIN what happened to those children’s free will and why it was taken away from them for the next 60 or so years????

      • Rwlawoffice

        So do you think the children went to school that day and decided that they would not get murdered and yet they did? Free will is a conscious idea. It takes will.

        • LifeinTraffic

          Seriously? You’re arguing that if only a 6-year-old child had gone to school with the conscious decision to “not get murdered” that day, it wouldn’t have happened? And that 6 and 7 year old should be held accountable for what they do and don’t decide (even if they don’t know they “should” be deciding it)? If only those parents had talked with their kids and helped them to understand that violence happens in schools, and so the children should make a decision each and every day to come home alive an unharmed, this whole damn tragedy would have been avoided?

          So all a “faithful” person has to do is consciously decide, every time they get into a car, to not die at the hands of a drunk driver, and it will be so? Or, all a woman has to do is “decide” that she’s not going to be raped as she walks home from work? As long as it’s consciously willed, it is so?

          That is, hands down, the dumbest thing thing I have ever read.

          • LifeinTraffic

            Also, don’t you think that, at some point during the committing of this horrible crime, the adults (and possibly children), decided they didn’t want to die? Isn’t that a conscious decision? Again, the killer’s “free will” seems to always take precedence over that victim’s.

          • rwlawoffice

            My point was in response to the free will of the victims being taken away. Of course the children didn’t go to school thinking that. That is why the arguments that their free will was taken away are wrong. That is not how free will works, yet you who say that their free will was taken away make the assumption that you claim in your response is silly. Your response actually proves my point.

            • LifeinTraffic

              No, it doesn’t prove your point at all; but, if you can’t see the fault in your statements and logic, and if the only thing you consider “free will” that can be taken away is pre-made conscious decisions before something happens, I am very glad you are not my lawyer.

            • Myrmidon

              If someone locks me in a box for the rest of my life and i am unable to do what i want — things like raise my family, continue in my career, pursue my hobbies, go on a jog, drink coffee — is my captor not depriving me of my free will? And if my free will is taken away by such a thing, how is killing someone not also taking away their free will?

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1365295498 Lisa DeMott

        I am not sure why you link the free will of the killer to the free will of the victim. What happens to your free will when I do something wrong? Nothing. They lost their life, that is true,and horrible. without life there is no free will. So, yeah, I guess they lose the ability to make choices in this world, since they no longer live here. You can’t explain why this happened to these particular children because that is a metaphysical question and we can only answer empirical questions with any certitude. I hate that about life, believe me, but there it is. Why did my daughter die at 2 weeks? She did nothing wrong, yet she lost her life from an infection. Why are innocent people killed in drunk driving collisions? They certainly did not will that they would be in an accident. These are questions that can’t be answered with the information we have at our disposal. But, I believe, and I may be wrong, that our wills are not linked to the choices of others, even though we might suffer the consequences of the evil choices of others. Maybe that is silly, or stupid, or dumb, but I’ve seen a lot of things in my time on this planet, and one thing I’ve discovered is that there is something beyond the empirical.

    • Derrik Pates

      And yet statistics show that crime rates are continuing to go *down*, not up. However, we have the dedicated cable news networks and resultant 24-hour news cycle to shove down our collective throats endless reporting about horrible things.

      Also, the morality of the Bible is no less relative than any other. With a secular morality, we all come to an agreement on what is and is not acceptable. However, the bible’s morality, while constant and unalterable, is apparently a sliding scale. If I kill a person, I’m hell-bound. If, say, King David killed 200 men, he’s a hero. (But if he counts his citizenry, 70,000 of them must be killed!) The Bible is full of examples of a blood-thirsty deity, and plenty of examples of people doing bad things for dubious reasons that that god is apparently totally okay with, and others who he isn’t. That’s not objective morality, that’s as subjective as it gets. “As long as this god loves you enough, you can do pretty much anything you want!”

  • Julie

    A well written article and a good argument. Precisely the reasons why I choose not to believe in a god.

  • Guest

    Hated that I did this, but it shut some of my family up (The ones going
    on about how God not being allowed in schools caused it) but came up
    with this argument which is just as false as theirs, but can be proved
    at least.

    Before 1956 (from 1700s), in the US there were 64 school shootings.

    After 1956 there have been over 100 and more people have died.

    In 1956 the USA changed their motto to “In God we Trust”

  • roberthughmclean

    The prroblem for the godbots is to find some evidence, any evidence that their god or the baby jesus has had any impact on anything, at any time, anywhere. Good luck….

  • Civil Qurage

    To the people in the community, who doubt, that the killings happened, because, “God is not welcome in schools anymore”. I agree with you. Would God have been welcomed in the school, the massacre could have happened as well. Only if God and Jesus would have been welcomed in the gunman, it could not have happened.

    • Troels Jakobsen

      History says otherwise.

    • piet puk

      So, was your god unable to stop the massacre, or was your god unwilling to stop the massacre?

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1236820759 Stephanie Martin

      “I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do because I notice it always coincides with their own desires.”

  • Civil Qurage

    To the Atheists and Humanists, who are so despaired due to the mass killing of the children in Newtown. Please, preserve the feelings you have now. Remember them and call them the next time you scold Christians who protest against abortion. It is the exact same way many of us feel, when we hear about the millions of slaughtered children in the wombs of their mothers, may they only be 3cm tall. It does not make a difference for many of us, how old or tall the children are. Please next time you scold them Christians, hold on for a minute and remember your own feelings about the Newtown victims nowadays and know, that your counterpart just has the same feelings right then.

    • Red Shasta

      I’ve always felt that riding the coattails of a tragedy of this nature to promote your own agenda is in scorchingly bad taste. In any case, most people would agree that a living, breathing child outside the womb trumps a fetus in the womb. Unless you think that dropping a petrie dish full of embryos is the same as shooting a bunch of little kids.

    • piet puk

      Please remember this feeling when you pick up your bible and read about the slaughterings by your god, and in the name of your god, and ask yourself why you think your god is a good god.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Sandy-Kokch/100000074576649 Sandy Kokch

    How about what sort of just and loving deity would choose to punish people who took “him” out of schools by slaughtering innocent kids who didnt make the policy, had no ability to change the policy, or probably didnt even have any awareness of the policy? Truly innocent victims?

    Ah yes…. the small minded, jealous, psychotic genocidal god who supposedly did the same thing to parents in Ancient Egypt because an unidentified Pharaoh with whom the parents had no power nor influence supposedly enslaved some other people who had apparently previously robbed the Egyptians and picked fights with them and had also apparently “broken their covenant” with said psycho god and thus allowed them to become enslaved as punishment. The psycho god who makes the Pharaoh enslave and punish his chosen, then in turn punishes the Pharaoh for doing it, then immediately afterward again punishes his chosen for not grovelling enough in gratitude for being released from slavery at the cost of innocent lives. Oh, and also ensures that the Egyptians never ever record any of that ever happening and clears up all the physical evidence that may be later found.

    Confused? You will be…….

    Face it. American evangelicals, Protestants, and even Catholics are apparently worshiping some form of bloodthirsty vengeful Aztec Yaweh Jesus. One who moves in such mysterious ways anyone with an IQ bigger than their shoe size cant work out what the hell he wants or is up to.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=774489394 Michael P. Daniel

    My only advise, speaking as a church pastor, is to beware of those “wolves in sheep’s clothing” who speak outside of a Scriptural context and create clever phrases that have no scriptural basis. These are all valid questions fundamentalists would be unable to answer except for their own “humanist” bent; that is, making something up according to their own personal viewpoint. I certainly cannot answer them, as it is rightly pointed out: I do not pretend to know the mind of the Lord. I prefer Catholic Archbishop Chaput’s thoughts (paraphrased): “We [humans] are free … so we are responsible for the world we live in, for good or bad.” That such an atrocity occurred does not prove or disprove the existence of the Almighty, but it should always invoke some serious soul-searching. This soul-searching manifests itself, more often than not, with more questions than answers. There is evil in the world, and the Bible teaches that evil’s days are numbered. We simply possess the faith to endure.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1236820759 Stephanie Martin

      Evil’s days are numbered eh..lol..Of course what you mean by that is this “evil” is the devils work..It’s always the supernatural with you people isn’t it..Your brain is filled with god, devils and angels, creatures there is no evidence for, but no matter, you were spoonfed this fantasy-filled world of fairytales from that atrocious horror-filled nonsensical bible and so can’t reason your way out of a paper bag..(face-palming)..There is no force for evil..

  • sognwqogn

    To all the atheists AND theists using this to gain points off this… A Pox on Both Your Houses.

    And go fuck yourselves.

  • bernardaB

    I may have mentioned Revelation before. In answer to questions one and three, God does not love or respect children. In Revelation Jesus says he will kill a woman named Jezebel’s children because she is impious by having multiple sex partners, maybe she was a harlot, but Jesus’ way to teach her a lesson is by killing her children. Those children were in no way responsible for their mother’s supposed behavior. What kind of loving God is that?

  • blub blubber

    Commendable that you deign those Fisher-ly guys with debate logic so close to their turf. In terms of godly involvement, the shooting looks like a high profile cry for attention and it therefore seems reasonable to ask whether maybe the nation prays to the wrong god. Maybe, if they were to put up some buildings in the honor of Thor, who is woefully neglected these days, this wouldn’t have happened? It would just be great if these gods gave us a good unmistakeable sign who they are and what they want after they do sth terrible.

  • mel

    What does being sin free have to do with being in a public building?

  • http://twitter.com/RTgrl_ Mary

    RE: Point 3

    Children are allowed to worship in schools so long as it’s not disruptive. It’s the schools that are not allowed to endorse a religion.

  • Cole Oehlers

    I apologize on behalf of those so called christians that made those statements. They are uneducated and immature. I am a very loyal and faithful christian who loves God but would never push it on someone persay. People are arguing the wrong issue. Shooting like this happen not because God is not in the schools but because that shooter is not christian. Dont misinterpret that, I do feel we need religion in schools, I’m saying that a person doesnt shoot up a school because of the fact God is not in schools but it is the lack of god in our schools! The Bible teaches us good morals, trust, love, faith. All stuff that many households lack leading to failed relationships and families falling apart. Kids these days dont learn any of these traits, they would prefer to sit in their room killing as many people as they can on Call of Duty…

  • Cole Oehlers

    I also disagree with the statement “God will not go where he is not welcome” As I read the Bible I know our God is not that kind of God. He is the all forgiving, loving, caring God who desires a relationship with all of us. Is is absolutely disgusting that people say God didn’t stop this because he isnt welcome there and they dont worship him! We all sin and no matter how much we sin when we turn to God he forgives those sins.

  • Aspen

    all your questions are completely irrelevant. your questions are based on the assumption that god is mad cos of church and state. who said that? wheres that in the bible? mike huckabee is the one who suggested this happened cause we took god out of schools. you need to ask him these questions cos the majority of christians i know myself included do NOT believe in such things, we do NOT believe this happened cos god wanted to teach us a lesson for taking him out of schools. so before you try and ask questions as a way to make a point, try and have a real point. u need to send these to huckabee cause these questions only apply to him.

  • Charles K

    My answer to the questions posed in the article that any Christians offering those explanations are stupid. Just like there are stupid Christians, there are stupid atheists, Muslims, Buddists, etc. Half of us are below the median IQ! I’m not a Christian, but I do understand that if there is a God as described in the Bible, our understanding of such a being is equal to a grain of sand as compared to the solar system. Personally, I accept that from the Christian point of view, all the horrible things that happen in this life are as a result of the fall of man, and necessary if we are to have free will. Ultimately, all of society is responsible for the horror at Sandy Hook, and until we act that way, taking action for personal political gain is not going to help.

  • cnk12

    I think we have to learn to ignore the dumb things extremists say in the
    aftermath of major tragedies. This is a reprint of their moronic words, thereby
    giving them more attention, so they can be used to promote the writer’s own
    agenda. The language in the article is divisive and tends to push all Christians
    and all Atheists apart rather than just the extremists. I’d rather see reasons
    for reasonable people of different religions and cultures to come together and
    share in our grief. It’s generated 142 comments of which the majority are extreme
    in nature; filled with anger and intolerance. A more appropriate title for this
    article is, “Using the words of a few extremists to cast dispersions on Christians,
    including six more reasons they’re morons, and here are the acceptable ways to
    think in the aftermath of the Sandyhook Tragedy!”


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