CNN's Wolf Blitzer to tornado victim: "You gotta thank the lord". Victim: "I'm an atheist"

This is CNN.


    1. It would have been funnier had she said, “I kneel to my Lord Satan every day.”

      And Wolf Blitzer should be fired on the spot for trying to demand that a disaster victim have a religious epiphany on what’s pretending to be a news broadcast.

      1. He’s probably an atheist himself. He was just trying to speak the language of the natives, down here in Primitive, Oklahoma, and it backfired.

        1. Imagine Anderson Cooper in the Middle East trying to jazz up an interview by saying, “Did you praise Allah?”

          1. Imagine an interview in the Middle East where the interviewed says „I’m an atheist.“

      2. Wayne and Garth were making fun of him on SNL two decades ago. Shy of a serious onscreen meltdown, I don’t think he’s fireable. 

          1.  “Wolf” is the literal translation of “Adolph”.  His real name is probably Adolph Blitzer.

      3.  If you look very carefully at the background, you can actually see what’s going on.

        1.  You mean, like, God punished the neighbourhood for harbouring an atheist? 
          Or am I just being thick again? 

      4. Given the otherwise consistently positive references to God in every other interview I saw over the last few days, I’m curious as to how this one made the air.  I’ve thought it was news station policy to only include interviews where the interviewee thanked Jesus, especially in Oklahoma, Kansas, and Texas.

          1. I thought all networks employed some sorta (blank) second delay during interviews, nothing was truly ‘live’ any more?

    2. Frankly, I’d have thanked Crom and let him figure that one out.  In all seriousness, she replied pretty much the way I would have in that situation. Good on her!  And I truly laughed out loud too. 

      1. “Crom…dwells on a great mountain. What use to call on him? Little he cares if men live or die. Better to be silent than to call his attention to you; he will send you dooms, not fortune! He is grim and loveless, but at birth he breathes power to strive and slay into a man’s soul. What else shall men ask of the gods?”

    1. Except to me it didn’t appear she want to go there when he said “You gotta thank the lord” and she mumbles something like right- For me, this sort of conversational agreement is because as an atheist who just want to get along that is what one often does. You don’t challenge it, even when it is applied to you and your own thoughts because one doesn’t want to make a scene.

       She then gets”Do you thank the lord for that split second decision?” Because she tried to just passed her religious beliefs have to be questioned now more forcefully. 

      Left with a decision to either go along and be a hypocrite, or out oneself  at a time when that is not what she wants to do. She goes with the truth and her conscious. 

      Which she then apparently feels the need to make believers feel okay for their beliefs. Again for me, I use this defensively. I am not a threat stand. I am certainly respecting the right of other people to believe something different. As an atheist, it always feels that this rests on you.  Because it is like you are the one always stating a disagreement. 

      She was more than civil. Wolf Blitzer not so much.

      Blitzer was making assumptions on her religious beliefs that he really shouldn’t have been making. Attempting to put a religious tone that he wanted to report- regardless of whether it was there. He wanted Okie thanks God. He was attempting to put words into the mouth of the person he was interviewing. Which is poor reporting.

      Further he was mansplaining a horrific situation that he had not been through but she had to her. Of course, she made the right split second decision. She was alive and well. She didn’t need Wolf Blitzer or God to tell her so.

      1. If it’s any consolation, CNN is apparently one of two organizations Jody Arias has denied interviews.

      2. I felt much the same way.  I’m an atheist in the bible belt and it’s not a fun subject to bring up.  One of my friends brought it up at happy hour and then spent the next hour being badgered by her other friends about the importance of accepting Jesus.  Personally, I mostly just keep to myself.  I too felt like Wolf pushed her with the second insistence.  He probably just assumes everyone there is Christian.  Still, it sort of sucks for her to be “outed” like that.  This is the state that tries to pass laws against Sharia and is full of rabid Fox News types who hear daily all about how evil the “secularists” are.  Being “outed” as one of those evil people that are ruining America (at least in the minds of the neighbors) can have negative social consequences.  In the history of discriminations, it’s not too bad, but it’s still not totally benign.  And I think it speaks volumes that the woman felt the need to go out of her way to make sure she didn’t come off as anti-Christian.  I only hope her Christian neighbors aren’t anti-atheist.

        1.  Hell, the bibble-pounders are probably already blaming her for the tornado hitting the town.

          1. The Lord giveth and the Lord shooteth holes in your mailbox in the middle of the night.

          2. Having followed this story on the Christian websites: they are indeed slandering, vilifying, and inciting to harass her.

          3. Really, no links? “christian websites” are conspiring to harass her? Darn those “christian websites”. This little website I use to look for things called “google” gave me 3 pages of bigoted atheist rhetoric about how horrible it is to reference faith in a question when i tried to find some “christian websites” conspiring to villify a tornado victim.

          4.  @facebook-1706514600:disqus How exactly is it “bigoted” to say it’s unfair to make assumptions about a person’s faith in a situation like this?

        2. You should try living in Boston.  

          A good friend of ours is a Congregationalist. 

          Congregationalist, for those who don’t know, are like what a liberal hippy think Jesus was like.  They are just accepting hippies who like, you know, also believe in God.  They are cool with the gay and have rainbow flags on their churches, don’t want to shove their crosses down  your throat, like a nice separation of church and state, and are all around chill folks as far from a fire and brimstone bigot as you can get.

          Anyways, our poor devoutly Congregationalist friend hangs out with us on occasion.  He will quietly sip his own beer for the night and look mildly uncomfortable when trying to choke out anything even remotely sexual, foul, or obscene.  He is just an epic good dude.  All who meet him universally on this fact.

          On more than one occasion, a bunch of us godless liberal hippie atheist will get to trash talking religion for one reason or another, and our poor Christian friend will just quietly sit through it and occasionally helpfully point out stupid passages in bible for us without mentioning to the folks that he is a full on believer.  The folks at the table who do know that he is a believer will desperately try and subtly divert the conservation, wincing with each sweeping swing at the stupid of religion.  Everyone just sort of assumes that young educated folks chilling in a indie/hipster pub in Boston are godless heathens, and so have no fear of offending.

          Later, we tell the godless heathens who didn’t know that that, um, that quieter dude was a full on believer.  They generally curse themselves and are surprised by the fact that he didn’t appear to be trying to wildly impale non-believers, non-virgins, and gays with a cross, as Christians are well known to do.

          My point?  Godless atheist can be kind of assuming dicks too, given a place where godless Pastafarians outways baptist by a large margin.

          1. Weak point when in the other 99.99999999999% of America, christians ram their religion down non-believers throats a whole hell of a lot more than vice versa.

          2. *Shrugs* Not that weak of a point to me since I hear some people claiming that Atheism does somehow make you smarter/nicer/better… and, frankly, it doesn’t. Not being an asshole is apparently an effort for a segment of ANY group of people.

            BTW, this includes me. Not being an asshole is an effort for me too, even though I don’t want to be one. It’s just the kind of thing you have to work on.

          3.  OliveGreenapple, I thought that being smarter tends to make people atheists, not the opposite. 

          4. Yeah, sink to the level of the loudest most ignorant person you hear and pretend it’s all cool cuz “the other guy staaaarted iiiiit!”                           

            Bigots are bigots, atheist, christian or whatever.

          5. The poor woman had her house flattened. Was whether she was thanking God really relevant? Enough to push the point? On CNN? 

            Yes. Atheists can be jerks too. But she wasn’t just drinking beer trying to get along at a party. Your comment reads sort of like a Men’s rights activist on a thread where feminists are complaining about say wage discrimination and he goes on about child support. Not really relevant, especially in the USA. Even Boston is majority Christian (hell it is over 40% Catholic). 

          6. Christians, always trying to shove things down our throats. Or maybe a cross is just a cross?

          7.  Also in Boston: coworker says “I think morality can only come from God.”  I’m left in the awkward position of either implying assent through silence or making some comment to the effect of: “Actually, I’m pretty sure I’m perfectly capable of morality without the intervention of your imaginary friend.”  You hang out with people who have a hate-on for religion.  That doesn’t describe Boston in general.

          8. My go-to response is something like, “If God sent an angel to you tomorrow and explained that he really doesn’t care what you do and everyone gets into Heaven, how many rapes and thefts and murders would you go out and commit? Me neither.”

          9. Use the Jackie O Technique. When someone would come up and start blathering at her in public, she would stare them straight in the eyes with a little half-smile while saying absolutely nothing. After fifteen or so seconds, they would bolt in terror.

    1. The Bible never suggested that because God is omnipotent that disasters or calamity will never occur.  Actually, just the opposite is true.  There are many examples of disasters that took place over the course of the centuries that he Holy Bible was being written. Even the Apostle Paul who penned almost half of the New Testament endured ship wreck and snake bite and beatings and imprisonment and even execution.  Yet he counted it all joy as service to the Lord.  Paul realized that our momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison.

      1. So it says in the Bible, anyways! I sure hope one of the thousands of people involved with copying and translating the Bible all these years didn’t screw anything up. How much would that suck to die and find out it was all a big sham?!

        1. Tyson, that’s why you should read the Bible in English– this obviates possible errors of translation.

          1. Overheard in one of my favourite record shops in the mid 80’s:  Skinhead chatting to an old man in a raincoat :

            Skinhead: “Oh look, “Stormtroopers of Death; Speak English or Die!”

            Old Raincoat: “Exactly!  God wrote the Bible in English so we could all learn to speak it!”.

            No surprise I never went back. 

      2. Sorta like hitting yourself in the head with a hammer, ’cause it feels so good when you stop, right?

      3. very true, in fact according to the Bible, God intentionally created many many disasters specifically to kill humans for such awesome self proclaimed reasons a jealously, spite, disapproval, etc.  The flood being a prime example, the walls of jericho being another, the red sea, the egyptian first born, sodom and gomorrah, the list is almost too horrific and long to recount.

        stupid stories…i mean rejoice god is making us suffer and supposedly committing the largest mass human genocide recorded in history…praise be to him.

        i’m so glad that i’m atheist so i don’t have to be ashamed of this embarrassing BS or believe in such a horrible imaginary figurehead.

        1. Just look at the book of Job.
          god let the devil take a dump all over Job, make him sick, kill his children, his live stock, destroy his house, and let his closest friends accuse him of bringing it on himself.

          This is all because the big g-man in the sky just felt like winning a bet against the devil.

          Even if a god did exist, he doesn’t deserve a modicum of respect, much less adoration and worship.  He’s no better than us if he’s willing to break his favorite people just to spite someone else.  That’s not acting like an all-wise being.  It’s acting like a selfish child.  And honestly I’m disgusted that people take it as an object lesson in never questioning god.  If anything, it should be used as evidence that god if he exists, is so vile and petty, he should never be worshiped.

      4.  So God is basically useless along with being Omnipotent, omnicient and omnipresent.  He could help us, stop disasters but he doesn’t because?…………I doubt you have a rational response and don’t use your Book!

    2. An eternal, omnipotent, omniscient being would probably be bored out of His/Her/It’s infinitely large skull, and would probably be creating tornadoes and floods just to break up the boredom.

      The song “Everything Falls Apart,” by Dog’s Eye View has a great take on that idea.

      1. So do Populous and Sim City.

        I mean, is there anyone anywhere who didn’t at some point drop a volcano on their little citizens just because?

    1. Which of those two should be the journalist – the quick thinking mom, or the God-bully? Give her his show.

      1. But Wolf is so well qualified to be our national reality filter!

        Surely his career can’t be a bizarre result of having an easily branded name during the first Gulf War.

      1.  Clearly, He was trying to do a surgical strike to take out this atheist, and accidentally dialed up the power too high.

        1. God: I’m gonna teach this fucking uppity atheist.

          God starts a tornado which kills some people, but not the targeted atheist

          God: aw, fuck this unpredictable weather! JESUS CHRIST!

          Jesus Christ: whatcha need, dad?

          God: get the Escalade, we’re outta here!

          So, yes, I unapologetically watch a bit of Family Guy.

  1. Let’s be real, invoking god is an easy interview in Oklahoma. It’s likely that almost everyone they’ve encountered to that point voluntarily brought it up.

    That said, that was incredibly awkwardly phrased and not appropriate for the interview, which was already floundering. And I hope she doesn’t catch any flack for admitting it. 

      1. Young atheist mothers in the bible belt have an especially difficult time connecting with other mothers (all activities/preschool/etc tend to revolve around churches) so yeah it is kind of an “admitting” process. 

    1. The phrasing was amazing.  “You gotta thank the Lord. Do you thank the Lord?  For your split-second decision?”

      It was so perfectly inept and vaguely intimidating.

    1. I think God has a diagnosable illness. Some kind of worship-fetish. The narcissism is evident from the first line to the last line of every one of his biographies. 

          1. DSM V sounds like an old TSR accessory. I know what the DSM V is but in my day we called it the DSM IV.

    1. I’m pretty sure that thanking god in the middle of a lethal disaster zone makes you some sort of collaborationist quisling…

    2. Admitting you are an atheist isn’t denigrating anybody. Why should atheists have to bluntly tell religious people that they accept their right to believe what they want? Would not doing so be denigrating?

      1. well, i blame internet forums for my attitude, but every atheist i have read in forums just loves to talk down to people who believe in god or whoever as if they were some sort of idiot for it. i just liked that she was more even and accepting of others. it was refreshing.

        1. Were those forums atheist discussion forums? Were the theists there “on a mission”?

        2. You blame internet forums for forming a stereotype of atheists? I think the responsibility to not judge people based on stereotypes lies within you. Expecting an atheist to protectively say “but I still think everybody has a right to believe what they want” is like expecting a Muslim to protectively say “but I don’t support terrorism”. It is bullshit and it is discriminatory. A survey has shown that atheists are trusted less than rapists. Perhaps you might want to evaluate your own biases and not force others to bow their heads in submission to the majority.

          1. zomfg — please don’t make this a bigger thing than i meant! YES, it’s all me — that’s what i tried to convey. my impression of atheists is unfair, but that’s the impression i have garnered from reading all their kneejerk responses whenever a religious topic comes up. i freely admit that it is probably wrong. doesn’t make her response any less refreshing to me. and YES, i agree that internet christians are just as bad.

      2. They shouldn’t and don’t “have to.”

        It’s just very considerate to do so.  She was being nice.

        1. It is considerate? Or is it an unreasonable expectation? When someone explains that they are a Christian, you don’t expect them to say “but I still think everybody has a right to believe what they want”. But if an atheist doesn’t do this, they are denigrating everybody? Give me a break. It isn’t being nice, it is bowing before the majority so that they feel at ease and don’t hit you. It is an act of submission.

          1. “It isn’t being nice?”  You’re assuming what this woman’s motivations are.  Maybe I am, too.  My assumptions are based on how I feel as an atheist, as, I’m sure, are yours.

            No one “expected” that woman to say what she said.  No one would have thought less of her if she hadn’t said it.  I think she said it as a consideration of the community she lived in and their reaction to a tragedy.You can call it submission.  I call it compassion.

          2. No, it is a signal. It is letting the listener know that she isn’t one of those ‘bad’ atheists, so people can relax around her. Every minority with negative stereotypes does this because when they don’t then people judge them based on their prejudices. This is completely without compassion (to require such submission).

            If you don’t believe me, then explain to me how often the majority uses these types of signals compared to minorities.

            Q1: How often do Christians explain that everybody has a right to believe what they want immediately after disclosing their Christian identity? A: They don’t.
            Q2: How often do athiests and agnostics do it? A: All the time.

            Atheists aren’t doing this to be compassionate. They are doing this to preemptively protect themselves from criticism and judgement from a society has has extremely negative stereotypes of them (e.g. less able to trust than rapists).

          3. bzishi, the problem with your argument is that you’re basing your assertion on what this individual’s motivations are on the actions of millions of people.

            When Jehovah’s Witnesses come to my door, the first thing I tell them is that I’m an unbeliever and that they’ve no chance to convert me. I also tell them I respect their convictions and their desire to make sure as many people make it to paradise as possible, even though I don’t think that paradise exists or ever will.  They are always polite and we always have a nice discussion about faith and what is knowable and what is not. 

            Do I do that as “a signal?”  A “submission?”  No, I do it because I respect people until they behave in a way that causes me not to respect them. And being polite and pleasant makes for pleasant conversations, even if we disagree.

            I’ve known and know Christians who repeatedly express their opinion that all beliefs are equal, especially after revealing their own faith.  I’ve known and know many Christians who express stark disapproval of violence done by Christians in Christianity’s name.  Just because you’ve not met them, it doesn’t mean they don’t exist.

            Also, in your rush to judge this woman’s motivations, despite the fact that you know nothing about her, her friends, or her family, based only on your obviously limited experience with Christians, you are acting in a rather similar way as a fundamentalist.  

            You believe these things about this person without evidence.  That’s a faith-based argument.

          4. @aikimoe:disqus It has nothing to do with the woman, it has to do with the signal. If I cared about her, I would have posted in the root. Instead I responded to another person who responded the way the majority typically responds to that type of signal (by letting us know that he felt it was classy that she was one of those non-denigrating atheists). You are arguing a different point. I don’t know how you got off track, but you did. I think you think that I’m somehow worried about whether this woman is compassionate or not. I don’t give a shit to be honest. What I care about is others judging the signal and ignoring that these signals are due to the persistent prejudices and discrimination that atheists face when they come out of the closet, and that these signals aren’t really voluntary. And if they put you at ease, that is only because you are an entitled majority.

            If you are not going to respond to the significant prejudice and stereotypes that atheists face, then consider this conversation over. I’m not going to continue to respond to your trolling.

          5. bzishi, considering that you’ve  specifically describing this particular woman’s actions (that’s who the person you were responding to was talking about) as “submision” and saying, “It is letting the listener know that she isn’t one of those ‘bad’ atheists, so people can relax around her,” (if you don’t “give a shit” about her, maybe you should refrain from pretending to know what she’s thinking?) then asserted blatant falsehoods about the way Christians behave (as if they’re all the same), I’m not surprised you’re frustrated.

            Are atheists discriminated against?  Absolutely, all the time, all over the world, and it’s a terrible thing.  You can address that point without making stuff up about what this woman is thinking or about how all Christians behave.

            You’ve been reflexively judgmental of millions of strangers (a key component of religious bigotry) during this conversation, so if you take from this that I’m a “troll,” for calling you on it, then you’re merely confirming the kind of atheist you presently are.  You have more in common with religious fundamentalists than you think.

            Good luck.

          6. @aikimoe:disqus You yet again failed to address any key point and are using strawman arguments (pretending that I’m talking about the woman when I repeated “the signal” about ten times). You then absolutely and outright dismiss that the signal is being used to assuage discrimination fears. You are trolling. I doubt you have ever lived outside of privilege. Otherwise you might recognize prejudice and not blow it off as a mere inconvenience. Goodbye.

  2. Serious question:

    1) Isn’t Wolf Blitzer Jewish? 
    2) Do Jewish people use the phrase “Thank the Lord?” I grew up in the South and understood that to be a Christian expression (and kind of a southern one, at that).

    1.  For #2, I’ve definitely heard my Jewish friends and acquaintances say, “Thank God” when feeling relief from something scary, but (a) I always “hear” it as a secular expression, if it makes any sense, and (b) to my ear, it also doesn’t have the fervor, say, of “Thank the Lord” or “Praise the Lord.”

      1. Religious Jews I’ve known are very cautious about mentioning God at all, by any name, because you never know what counts as “in vain”. But there are many kinds of Jews.

        1. Look, I’d had a lovely supper, and all I said was – that piece of halibut was good enough for Jehovah.

    2. 1) Not only is he Jewish, but he’s a member of Alpha Epsilon Pi, a Jewish fraternity.

      2) As @disqus_7ir6KKKdjN:disqus  suggests, he probably just tried tossing a softball to the wrong team.

    3. “Thank the Lord” is uniquely christian.  No Jewish person would say that conversationally.  This was Wolf trying to “speak Oklahoman.”

      1. I guess I’ve been too immersed in a reread of A Feast For Crows… my first thought is to wonder which Lord he’s talking about, and looking at the devastation assume it’s Bolton. 

    4.  The word Adolph means “Wolf” in German.
      I’m guessing that his given name is Adolph Blitzer, and he changed it.

  3. I get the impression that many people live their lives as a sort of video game.

    There’s the player character, a few named NPCs in the PC’s party, and then a whole lot of NPCs who rank somewhere between ‘expendable to establish a set piece as ‘tragic” and ‘you have to kill them to advance the main questline’…

    1. Speaking from personal experience, I agree. However my game is played on a tabletop with pencils and paper.

      1.  Bah. You didn’t let slip what rule-book you used there, so now no-one can denounce you as a heretic. No fair…

  4. Let’s not blame God for what happens in this world… There is a prince of darkness that rules the air and his name is satan. There is evil in the world because “man” chose to disobey God. This wasn’t God’s original plan for us. God gives us free will and therefore, we suffer because we chose not to obey Him. God is good and He is real. One day each of us will stand before him and being mad at God because you feel life was unfair won’t be a good enough answer. I think we should look at all that’s going on in this world and know that Christ return is near. Choose Christ while there is still time. God bless…

    1. ya, done been brain-warshed, son. Go on down to the saloon and keep drinking til it goes away.

    2. yeah….because supposedly God didn’t create the flood which was supposedly the largest mass genocide in human history…nor did God supposedly kill all the people in sodom and gomorrah, or all the egyptian first born or or or….wait he supposedly did all that for such awesome self proclaimed reasons as disapproval, jealousy, spite, etc.  I mean what kind of jerk describes himself as a jealous wrathful God who is quick to anger….wait God that’s who.  What a rad imaginary ahole.  if you are going to believe in a ridiculous imaginary being there are much better choices imho.

      1.  Christian God can’t even conjure a unique disaster. Look at the way God-man completely ripped off Enlil by rehashing the whole flood thing. Already done dude!

    3. How can you not hold God responsible for any and all events, in a world in which you believe he created and set in motion all things?
      That would be like not holding a car company responsible for the wheels falling off a new car, the responsibility lies with the designer.

      On the other hand, you are right to not hold God responsible for disasters, because he/she/it/thing/divine being Did Not Exist, Does Not Exist, Will Not Exist.

      As proof, consider the following:  The Bible is dumb.

      1. Cafeteria Christians pick and choose what they like from the Holy Buffet.  The rest be damned.

    4.  Man if anyone needed to read your Bible it is you friend! Sanitizing your faith doesn’t take away the ugliness because it is written in your book!  God, Yaweh has the morals of a serial killer!  There is absolutely no proof of his existence so you “choose” to believe in this horrible myth.  I would guess that you never had a choice because your mind, logic and reason were hijacked by religion when you were young.  There is another way!

      1. I don’t think you’ve found some one who believes in a safer happier bible there. That quote sounds like a Pauline, the bit about air comes from somewhere or the other in Ephesians. That ain’t no love light and peace Christian. That’s a God will purge this world of sinners and YOU DESERVE IT FOR NOT LOVING HIM Christian. So less like a serial killer and more like an abusive parent or spouse. 


        1.  As an adult, using rational thought and reason as one would apply to a secular book or a book from a differing fith.  Read it that way with no coaches or tranlators.  People like this are cherry-pickers and spoon fed

    5.  When Christ gets back, first thing Wolf Blitzer will as him is:

      “What was it like when your father let you die like that?” 

      “How did it feel on the cross?’

      “Was Judas a good friend of yours before he sold you out?”


      1. And what is a delta but an equilateral triangle?

        And what is the internal angle of each vertex? 60°

        Divide each by the number of Commandments and you get six.

        Put them in row and you get 666.

    6. See, once you go down this road, God becomes something very different. If God is a personal entity but lacks either the power, the knowledge or the inclination to defeat Satan, aren’t we just left with a couple of really powerful supernatural entities? They both seem like real dicks to me, when you put it like that. Superman and the other bad guy from Krypton. I mean, you wouldn’t want the bad guy ruling the planet, but Superman could wipe the smirk off his mug, too.

      1.  I totally agree.
        I think that’s why Superman is modelled after the Greek God version of Christianity of the Old Testament.
        The Greeks had their gods, and they were jealous and backbiting, and hurt each other for sport.
        Just like the God of Moses.  It’s not an accident, and the allegory in the Superman stories is similar to that of the Greek gods.  Each Greek god had some Achilles’ heel, like kryptonite.
        The God of the OT is petty, vain, clueless about science, not very intelligent, a warmonger and all around genocidal freak.
        He messes with Ur, who is killed for not boffing his dead brother’s wife.  Abraham consents to murder his son.  Moses does all this work, only to get shafted in the end.  Job becomes a human potholder over a reckless bet with God’s arch villain enemy, Zod.  Lot saves his daughters from rape gangs, only to lose his wife.  Jonah spends three days inside a “fish”, somehow does not get burned by stomach acid and avoids death by suffocation.  Daniel comes close to being a headless extra in the film “Gladiator”.  Hell… pretty much everyone gets a raw deal.  God of the OT is into loyalty tests like a mean-spirited frat house leader with new pledges.  He never apologizes for the mean tricks he plays.  Even Naomi loses her husband and becomes a starving lesbian.  It’s pretty grim.

        I can’t think anything that I like about the Old Testament.
        It’s a horrible account of a horrible time, ruled by a horrible God who is mean to everyone.

    7. Is “darkness” code for knowledge and freewill?  I don’t get how anyone can read Genesis and not realize that “the serpent” is a fucking hero that deserves a little praise.  In Genesis, god is a psychopath that had glorified human jellyfish wandering around naked praising him until Satan shows up and is like “um, dude, that is fucked, here, let me show you reality”.  God, the egomaniacal psychopath throws a hissy fit that his creations are not wandering around naked worshipping his feet all the time, and so curses them.  God sounds like a real swell dude.

      If you believe that fairy tale, God is the dad who beats his kids for wanting to go to college, and then blames their mom for giving them fool ideas about education.  He then explains that the beating he is handing out is totally their mom’s fault.  Swell god you got there.

    8. Look, satan’s getting a bad rap here. He’s being doing the Big G’s outsourced wetwork for millenia and the job just keeps getting tougher and the rewards aren’t what they used to be. The hours are hellish, the pay barely adequate and the workforce frankly leave a lot to be desired. Do you miserable meatsacks have any idea of the logistical nightmare of managing a bureaucracy of 133,316,666 individual workers? Who all happen to be of a rebellious bent? I doubt it – unless of course you work for the EU in Brussels, in which case you have my sympathies.But seriously your god has managed to get away with a lot over the years. I remember when El Elyon was just another jumped-up sun god with big dreams followed by a handful of faithful goat farmers. None of us thought he’d amount to much… but you can’t underestimate driving ambition and a preparedness to do whatever it takes to hold on to the top spot. He certainly isn’t afraid of a bit of strike-busting and banishing his overworked and unappreciated workers for having the temerity to speak out against his poor industrial practices.
      And maybe it’s something about being born in the collective consciousness of goat-eating agrarian hominids, but He does seem rather fond of a good ol fashioned soul harvest every so often.
      Good luck with that, by the way…

    9. Let’s not blame God for what happens in this world… There is a prince of darkness that rules the air and his name is pazuzu. There is evil in the world because “man” chose to disobey God. This wasn’t God’s original plan for us. God gives us free will and therefore, we suffer because we chose not to obey Him. God is good and He is real. One day each of us will stand before him and being mad at God because you feel life was unfair won’t be a good enough answer. I think we should look at all that’s going on in this world and know that Enki’s return is near. Choose Enki while there is still time. God bless…

  5. It’s been mentioned in this thread as a punchline a few times, but to me it’s really shameful that a journalist in a disaster zone would say something so stupid and religion-oriented. The woman is standing next to a destroyed house in a destroyed town due to what will be described for legal purposes as “an act of God” and he asks her if she’s thanking the Lord. Even if the person were religious, I don’t think she would be thanking the Lord at that particular moment, esp. given that he says something like, “Are you thankful to the Lord…that you had that thought.” Nonsensical.

    Too-long stuff about his decline in performance in the last 20+ years:

    Additionally, the interaction with the child and his persisting after she was dismissive of his first religious mark is indicative of a journalist resting on cliches during a time of disaster. Because of recent news events (elections, Boston, kidnap rescue, this), I’ve been watching TV news more often than I have in the past, and it seems to me that Wolf is terrible. He says factually incorrect things on air without a thought, and now this. During his coverage of Ariel Castro’s bail hearing, he asked his legal team *several questions* about what would happen if (paraphrasing) “Let’s say some crazy, twisted rich person decided to pay the bail of Ariel Castro and free him, would the courts actually allow Castro to be free?” The correspondents were all but rolling their eyes at him yet he kept up with this line of questioning for an uncomfortably long time. 

    Long way down from when I first watched him during the Gulf War, where he was sharp and on point.

    1.  I suspect he is just trying to get her to cry by asking her to think about how her baby could have died.   

      1. Well fuck him even harder with an even rustier chainsaw, then.  New moms cry during slightly sappy TV commercials.  Been there, done that, couldn’t watch Hockey Night in Canada for at least a year because the damned Canadian commercials and their blatent emotional appeals.

    2. Even if the person were religious, I don’t think she would be thanking the Lord at that particular moment, esp. given that he says something like, “Are you thankful to the Lord…that you had that thought.”

      Funny you should say that, because just this afternoon, I was thinking to myself  how it seems there’s nothing like a bunch of homes pulverized and little children crushed to death to have people thanking and  praising the lord left and right. The majority of interviews I’ve read/heard had the interviewees volunteer that god was so wonderful for sparing them (and that god would supposedly bandage up the little kids in heaven and give them hot cocoa so that makes dying all good) among utter destruction.

      But yeah, it’s awful that this woman has to find herself cornered, feeling she has to somehow defend her very worldview right after emerging from a wrecked house. This doesn’t even deserve to be deemed journalism.

  6. As an Atheist I am a little put off that Wolf assumes everyone is a nice christian.

    As a consumer of news I am more offended by the shitty journalism.

    All they do is fly teams of reporters to town to ask victums questions like:

    ” How did you feel when it happened?”

    “Don’t you have to thank the lord your baby/dog is alive?”

    “Were you afraid?”

    “Could you please tell us a story that ends with you crying like a baby?”

    “Did anyone you truly loved die in a particularly gruesome way that you could describe in detail on the air?”

    “How much blood was there?

    “Is there anything else painful in your life we could get you to speak about on national television?

    If I experiences a tragedy like this and got these questions i think I would respond:

    “What?  Do you want me to cry on television so you can sell more commercials you heartless scumbag?”  And then punch Wolf right in the dumb ass beard.

    1. “The peanut-crunching crowd 
      Shoves in to see 
      Them unwrap me hand and foot– 
      The big strip tease. 
      Gentlemen, ladies These are my hands 
      My knees.”

    1. His first name is Wolf, which is “Adolph” in German.
      His last name is Blizter, which means “lightning”.
      So, his real name is Adolph Lightning.     No really.

  7. I have heard to many stories of people terminally ill that did not believe.
    Only to have something happen to them, that at the end even having
    there non believing friends turned to believers after there friends
    have passed because of there incredible experience. I have had my own experience with the lord, certainly in a room with me in a very dark
    moment in my life. After you experience something like I did, there is
    no possible way I can deny he exists. Everyone has the right to there
    own beliefs. Life is tough, so for me I am comforted by knowing he is
    there for me. Someone wrote basically if your a Christian and you die
    you will find out it was a big scam. How do you know that for sure?
    And I don’t mean that to be a hostile question. What happens if you
    don’t believe and he is real? We are a long time dead. For me, while
    I’m down here I need to be good person and follow the 10 commandments. Not man’s rules that most religions put on us, that
    turn people away from the lord. By the way, as a young woman I broke
    a lot of the commandments. That’s the way we learn. I believe this
    life we live on earth is our test. Please don’t read into this that I
    think that atheist are not good and kind people either.    

    1. sorry
      i tried to read this but couldn’t follow it
      due to the way it was formatted
      i’ll try to read it again in my text editor
      i can take out all the unnecessary and distracting
      breaks and fix the formatting.

    2. Well, good for you!  I am really, really glad you found something that you felt like you needed.

      Everyone is indeed entitled to their own beliefs.  I am a firm believer in mine and you yours.  So as long as you don’t feel compelled to talk of yours in public, I won’t trot mine out either.  We’re not going to change each others’ mind.

      Non-hostile answer to your non-hostile question:  If you don’t believe and find out He is real you get tossed in a lake of fire and brimstone.  Unless you are wrong about who to believe in.  Because if it turns out the Jews were right, you’re out of luck.  And if Mohammed was right, well, you’re out of luck there again.  And if the Catholics were right, let’s hope you got those confessions heard before the end.  If it turns out the Buddhists were right, well, that’s not so bad, since you get to try again.  So you believe what you want to believe and trust you got it right probably because of ancestry and where you were born.

      So good luck out there.  It’s tough enough, take comfort where you can.

      1. Your “Buddhists” refers to Tibet Buddhists. Zen Buddhists are not so much into the Hinduism-style reincarnations.

      2. It may surprise you but the Catholic church doctrine regarding afterlife, hell, heaven yada yada is quite tolerant towards believers of other monotheistic religions:

        3. The Church regards with esteem also the Moslems. They adore the one God, living and subsisting in Himself;
        Nevertheless, God holds the Jews most dear for the sake of their Fathers; He does not repent of the gifts He makes or of the calls He issues-such is the witness of the Apostle.

        1. That’s brilliant.  So, converting a Muslim or Jew to Catholicism is doing them a huge disservice, because then God will hold them responsible for not repenting at the last minute?

        2. Wow.  Invisible ignorance takes care of, like, two of them.  And as long as they didn’t live in a place where they couldn’t have come to the Catholic Church.

          What does the Church say about Protestants who have had an opportunity to be Catholic but chose not to?  You know, the other people just down the street that pretty much believe all the same big ideas but differ on the earthbound organization?

        3. I understand the tolerance, but they cannot really believe that anyone non-Christian can get into heaven because to do so would be to invalidate the entire reason for the crucifixion. I think it is pretty  unequivocal to say “No one can come to the Father except through me”

          1. No, invisible ignorance is a real Catholic thing and takes care of all those kids who weren’t baptized or those that died before Jesus came around.

            But, if you had a chance to be Catholic, if you knew about the Church and decided not to follow it’s teachings?  Well then, that’s a different story, right straight downstairs for you to get poked by demons in all your naughty bits.

            Mormons do the same thing by baptizing people like Anne Frank after the fact, thus making them Mormons and eligible for their version of things.

          2. There’s an old joke about a hunter gatherer tribesman who realizes if he hadn’t heard about Jesus he couldn’t b e sent to hell and tells the missionary, “so why did you tell me?”

            Obviously, based on the actual consequences given these premises, God sent Jesus to Earth to ensure that more people went to hell.

    3.  I just don’t understand why so many people like yourself seem to think that there are only two options: atheism or the Christian God.

      What are you going to do if it turns out the Hindus were right all along?  Or the Wiccans?  Or the Zoroastrians?

      1. This is so true.  Right now, there might be an actual god or gods that are fuming with the idea that they are unrecognized and unworshiped by the vast majority of earth’s population, and are just waiting for people to die so they can gloat over them while they endure everlasting torment.

        1. “You yourself are an atheist with respect to nearly every god anyone has ever believed in. I just go one god further.”
          -Richard Dawkins in one of his less abrasive  moments

    4. What happens if you don’t believe and he is real? We are a long time dead. 

      It depends.  If it turns out that there really was magic in the world and there is a big ol’ Christian god sitting there (as opposed to all of the other gods throughout history), there are two possibilities.

      1) God is good.  If god is good and looks like a Congregationalist vision of god, he slaps me on the back, gives me a congrats on living a great life that involved being close and faithful to friends and family, showing kind to strangers, and in generally not wandering around being a dick.  Maybe me, god, and my friends flick on the TV and watch Santorum burn in hell for  torturing millions of gay folks.  I have eternity with my friends, all is well, and my good life as a godless atheist is validated.  Hurray.

      2) God is the most evil fuck imaginable.  Now, if someone raped and tortured a friend of mine for just one night, I would put them pretty high on my “horrible humans” list.  If some entity had all of my friends raped and tortured for all of eternity, they will have earned the #1 spot on my “most fucking evil entity in existence”.  I have a lot of non-Christian friends.  If there is an evil and malevolent god tossing them into a pit be raped and tortured for all of eternity out of spite for not believing what is, by all accounts,  fucking magic, that is an evil ass god.  If I could kill that evil Christian god, I would do it without a second thought, and I would happily sacrifice my existence to do it.  That god would send me to hell.  That would suck, but you know what?  Better an eternity in hell with the second most evil entity in existence than being in “heaven” with the most evil entity in all of existence while everyone I know is being raped and tortured for all of eternity.

      1. The only people who worry (or even believe, for that matter) in the torment of an afterlife are the feeble-minded.

        If hell exists, how heavenly could heaven be, given that hell was created by this same psychotic demon?

      2.  That’s generally my feeling. I’m an atheist, but I figure if there is a God, when the time comes he’s going to look at my life and see if I was a dick while I was alive. If not, come on in through The Gates. To think otherwise is to believe in a petty God who would damn you for the smallest indiscretion. And in that case nobody is getting into heaven.

        1. “For I and he (Tash) are of such different kinds that no service which is vile can be done to me, and none which is not vile can be done to him.”

          — Aslan

    5. Many people change their positions of faith. There are people who find a Christian faith, and there are people who lose that faith. Likewise there are people who switch faiths from Christianity to Islam, from Christianity to Buddhism, and back again. 

      Your experience is your experience. Most people have differing experiences. The stories of terminally ill people go all ways in this regard. I only ask here that you consider the experiences of others have them same sort of validity for them that you claim for yourself. 

      We agree that life can be tough. People however find comfort in many different ways. Some people actually find comfort in the idea that to be dead is to be sort of like before one is born. A non-entity. Others, Hindu’s for instance, go for reincarnation. Can you prove that this isn’t the right way? For John Stuart Mill, that comfort if wrong is no comfort at all or as he put it-

      “It is better to be a human being dissatisfied than a pig satisfied; better to be Socrates dissatisfied than a fool satisfied. And if the fool, or the pig, are of a different opinion, it is because they only know their own side of the question.”
      I am happy that you and others find comfort, but I am not always comfortable with the method. But there are lies everyone tells themselves that help get them through the day, so who am I to judge those who are different from mine as long as they don’t appear to be causing harm to others, and maybe even be acting as a Placebo.

      To many atheists, like myself, we can tend to be sort of scientifically minded. So in answer to your question about an afterlife. I find more that the claim of the afterlife is that which requires evidence. Otherwise the hypothesis is the afterlife. What is your proof? I work under the idea of null hypothesis with anything else requiring evidence. 

      Personal Revelation which works in many people’s religious context, actually doesn’t to many atheists. We really are “show me” sorts of people. In my experience, many claims of revelation don’t hold up to experimental scrutiny. Because of that experience, that they are very often wrong, I am highly skeptical of any claims made in that way and require other evidence. 

       In essence, I find your the question “How do you know for sure?” to be impossible. I am human, I don’t, nor do I believe anyone else to be in a superior position- without showing the evidence. Again sort of a null hypothesis. 

      I actually find to be utterly sure a dangerous proposition. An act of hubris, and a claim people, by their very nature, can’t really back up. 

      I am glad that you think that atheists can be good and kind. We can also be asshats. Same with Christians. I would, however, point out that many of us are quite taken aback by Christian Dogma which has consistently treated us otherwise. Heretics and non-believers have quite a history with those of that faith, often not pleasant. 

      1. “I actually find to be utterly sure a dangerous proposition. An act of hubris, and a claim people, by their very nature, can’t really back up. ”

        But isn’t that really what faith is really about?  Something that cannot be proven?  I’m an athiest because I don’t believe in any of the spiritual works after taking the time to study them and found them to be more about food safety practiced before refrigeration and very concerned about how people treated each other.  The fact that the majority of all believers I met were less concerned about following in the teachings was enough to drive me away from any religion.

        But the very act of faith itself *requires* a non-evidential belief in something that must remain unproven.  If they could back it up, it wouldn’t be faith and every other religion would instantly be incorrect.  Some people need something bigger than they are to believe in.  I picked humanity and science, you appear to have picked evidence, but without utter sureness of no god, would you consider yourself more an agnostic than an atheist?  I’m not being semantic, just curious about your choice of, well, belief.  :)

        1. It is a kind of a circular argument religious people get themselves into. Faith is believing in something without evidence, but if you ask them why they believe the only thing they can fall back on is whatever evidence convinced them. So the leap of faith ends up being ignoring all countervailing evidence against the evidence which they have chosen to put their faith in.
          Everyone could be called an agnostic in certain sense, but we need to start talking about probabilities here. What are the decreasing probabilities of 
          A. An uberpowerful unknown un-directional force?
          B. An uberpowerful intelligent being
          C. A God
          D. The God that happened to be worshipped by middle eastern nomads a few thousand years ago
          E. The Christian God
          F. Your particular flavor of Christian God.

          1. I’ve found most belief systems when questioned don’t fall back from any evidence other than “That’s just what I’ve always believed.”

            The fact that they likely believe in Mohammed because they’re from the Middle East, or Jewish because they were born in Israel, or Mormon because their parents moved to Utah years ago is something they always dismiss…

    6. What you are talking about (“What happens if you don’t believe and he is real?”) is called “Pascal’s Wager” and the problem with it is that it becomes infinitely complex if you adjust it for every possible belief system. That being said, I’m glad you have something that does comfort you and gives you hope.  I’m the last one to be telling people not to do what works for them.

      1. That is the problem with Pascal’s Wager: it only works with a binary exists/doesn’t exist wager, but not with the roulette wheel of different religions and denominations, where only one of the hundreds on the wheel wins, and you are told that choosing wrong will result in a huge loss.

        1. It’s important to bear in mind that Pascal intended the wager as a propaganda/recruitment tool; he wasn’t such a poor mathematician that he wouldn’t have seen the obvious ways it falls apart.

    7. But see, there are so many differing religious gods to worship, so many different afterlives that are promised, so many different punishments for worshiping false gods.

      How can I know which one is true? What if, by picking christianity, I anger the real god and I end up losing my chance at an afterlife?

      1. And then there’s one of my (million) favorite Terry Pratchett quotes . . .
        “The Quirmian philosopher Ventre put forward the suggestion that “Possibly the gods exist, and possibly they do not. So why not believe in them in any case? If it’s all true you’ll go to a lovely place when you die, and if it isn’t then you’ve lost nothing, right?” When he died he woke up in a circle of gods holding nasty-looking sticks and one of them said “We’re going to show you what we think of Mr Clever Dick in these parts…”

    8. You seem like a genuinely well intentioned person. I respect that you come from a place of tolerance. Everyone takes a different path to the truth. My path is science. If there is a God, we’ll find him/her/it, eventually. I believe a just God would respect that.

    9. Where do you single-comment Christian wonders keep spilling in from?  

      According to your own dogma, St. Peter will judge you based on how morally you lived your life, not by how hard you believed in Jesus.  

  8. Watching Wolf Blitzer improvise is always a treat. He’s clearly adept at making word-noises without actually thinking about what he’s saying, filling airtime with sounds. When he does think about what he’s saying, it becomes apparent that’s just not particularly intelligent. And yet there he is, making a very comfortable living as a communicator.

    1. Occasionally, I think Stephen Colbert is too glib with his constant gibes at Blitzer. 

      Then, incidents like this remind me that there is little difference between Blitzer’s head and a ripe honeydew melon.

  9. The tacky interaction distracts from the almost obvious fact that this is a greenscreen shot made in a studio.

    1. I disagree:  Too much wind in her hair.  I’ll grant you it looks fake due to the massive diffuser they’ve erected above them and lighting truss they’ve added on the camera side, but it’s much easier and less expensive to actually fly a crew there and shoot than to fly a crew there and shoot background shots just to be used on a properly lit chromakey large enough to get a two camera setup like this while taking the chance that they won’t get called out for such chicanery by any other network seeking to make CNN look like blundering fools.

  10. This is a picture from the aftermath of the tornado.

    I’ll just let this picture speak for itself…

    1. That’s a no-win of a photot.

      Believer:  Look, the church building itself was saved!
      Non-believer:  Look, your god strikes out even at you!

  11. To be fair to Wolf, it’s Oklahoma, and the odds of getting an affirmative, Christian response is pretty damned high. The guy just beat the odds and happened to ask the question to one of the three or four people in that town who are brave enough to publicly admit to atheism.

    1. Yes, but then he persisted, despite it being an obviously stupid and intrusive question.

    2. To be fair to Wolf, it’s Oklahoma, and the odds of getting an affirmative, Christian response is pretty damned high.

      I guess that we should be grateful that he didn’t try to prompt her to blame the tornado on gay marriage.

  12. I am so proud of this woman for the bravery it took to express her true beliefs — in centuries past that would have earned her torture and death from the “good” people of the church.  Thank goodness in these modern, educated, and enlightened days, the religious people in her town (and millions across the country who see this video) will instead simply make her life a living hell. 

    I really, really feel for her.  I live in the exponentially more-tolerant, educated, upper-middle-class northeast and even here my daughter got harassed on the school bus (as a Satanist!) when it came out that we are atheist (actually, I use humanist, first because I don’t like to describe myself in terms of a negative of something, and second, because it doesn’t give the religious as horrific a panic attack.)   From the whippings and executions of the Quakers (by the “religious freedom” spouting Puritans) to the Star Chamber to the pogroms to the Inquisition, the religious have an almost “perfect” record of making the life of non-believers a nightmare of epic proportions.  This woman should just take her insurance money and start life over somewhere else.

      1. Just to be clear, I don’t believe in any god.
        I feel pity for all who take an offhand comment on a meaningless news clip and run with it like its a big brave choice. 100+ comments because some Okie is an atheist? She probably can’t spell the word.
        Our world is now a palace of pundits and boing-boing is one of the most self-righteous conglomerations of nothing burgers I’ve ever seen.
        But they all come tumbling down one day, don’t they?

        1. Thank goodness you’re not one of those ubiquitous pundits that comments online.  Or one who makes baseless statements as to the literacy of someone you’ve never met.  Or ends posts with bizarre non sequiturs. 

        2. Hey Tim, I gave you a “Like” because it sounds like you need a hug, and there is no “Hug” button.

        3. She is actually a member of the local atheist group. Coming out as atheist in that area takes almost as much courage as coming out as homosexual. The threats to life, limb and livelihood are all too real. Your comment seems much more self righteous than the ones on here showing support for a fellow human being.

  13. She survived the tornado but now will she survive the wrath of the religious community?

  14. The part that always bugged me was that God commanded Adam & Eve to be fruitful and multiply, but they couldn’t know about sex until they ate from the Tree, which he commanded them not to do.

    But, if you point out this epic mindfuck of contradictory commandments in Sunday school, your parents get called in for A Serious Talk.

    1. Yeah, Genesis is all kids of messed up.  Your parents get the same kind of  Talk when you ask where did Cain and Abel’s wives come from.

        1. Hey now, Lilith was no floozy, she refused to be subjected to the rule of men. that makes her awesome.

  15. Someone should put together a Kickstarter to help this particular woman out.  She might not enjoy the community help being organized around church groups, especially in the long run.  Give her a stack of money and tell her to keep it or hand it out however she likes.

    I’d set it up but I’m already involved in a KS…

  16. As a longtime resident of tornado alley, I’m just thrilled to see them interview someone in a shirt who still has all of their teeth. It never fails that after every tornado from my childhood, the only witness who makes it on TV comes across (however unfairly) as a stereotypical hick.

  17. So the true cause of the tornado has been discovered:  revenge against the infidel woman.

  18. “Well, Wolf, Solomonoff induction shows that you have to penalize the prior probability of the Christian God hypothesis exponentially based on its Kolmogorov complexity. How long is this shortest complete mathematical description of God? Oh really? And where, in this devastation, am I to find the infinitely many bits of evidence needed to justify belief in such a concept?”

    I know I wouldn’t *actually* think to – or choose to – say such a thing in context, but I really wish someone would. 

  19. I’m pretty sure that the only logical response to this video is that we should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity. 

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