My God Died at Sandy Hook


My God vanished two years ago today at the Sandy Hook massacre.
He never returned.

Years ago, I visited hundreds of elementary schools when I was a traveling artist in the 1990’s. I taught, read books, drew pictures, sang songs for thousands of children and it was a great highlight of my life.

Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Ct. was such a school – no doubt full of the sweetest kids and most dedicated teachers. Exactly the kind of school where I would typically have once spent an entire day and left with happy memories for a lifetime.

On December 14, 2012 an entire class of 20 first graders ready to be sent home for Christmas break were slaughtered by a mad man with machine gun.

I have had no use for religion ever since.


I can only guess. Something about it hit me like no other horror. If God could watch this particular crime and not intervene it cannot be a good god, nor can it be a powerful god, nor a god worthy of the slightest worship.

So why THIS event? Had I never heard of the Holocaust? Or Vietnam? Or the Tsunamis which killed 500,000 people? Of course I had!

Look. If you are a believing Christian, as I was, you are conditioned to reflexively tell yourself no matter what, you don’t give up on God. We Christians are taught to keep seeking God even when you are at the point of complete doubt – and you are supposed to ‘find Him’ again.

I know the drill. You pray. It always worked before.

But when Sandy Hook happened, this prayer didn’t work. I wept uncontrollably as if these kids were all mine. Because I could see the world through those kid’s eyes. I knew the kids had prayed harder than anyone else, as hard as every other person in that building huddling under those desks down the halls listening to the gun shots and slaughter of the most loving children.

And God didn’t show up for those sweet, innocent kids. But it dawned on me like a light bulb in the darkness – I had no right. I had absolutely no right to expect God to show up for me. To comfort me as I wept, to assure me. No. I had no right at all !! But worse than that, it would be immoral if God DID HELP ME! How dare he come to me when he needed to help those children first?

And that was the shock. It would be wrong for god to help me when he ignored those children. And suddenly God was impossible. I wasn’t angry with God, I simply realized he was a delusion all along.

And I then understood that God probably didn’t exist.
God did not attend to the children’s needs, nor to the needs of those dear parents and heartbroken grandparents – yet he might respond to ME? This was jarringly impossible. Such a god would be beneath humanity. Completely useless to us all.

And then God disappeared. The God I had prayed to simply vanished.
Simple as that (Here is my whole story: “Oh My God! There is no God!”)


Many people became Atheists (non-believers) after 9/11.
Others have seen the absurdity of religion in the Islamic beheadings and decided they cannot believe in a god who could allow himself to be used that way.
Despite all that, I had not allowed my faith to slip away.

But when I heard someone say after the massacre, “Jesus wanted these little angels to be with Him for Christmas” it hit me like ice water. I knew the faking had to stop.

It took Sandy Hook Elementary  to finally show me that God simply does not intervene when it matters most. Rather than hate god for skipping out that day, I came to the more difficult awareness that he probably doesn’t exist – he isn’t real. At least, I cannot believe in it.

The word for Non-Belief in God is “Atheist”. I didn’t like that word.
But I had no choice. And I embrace it now.

The idea of pretending is just cruel to me after Sandy Hook.
If God exists, and intervenes, it must be a very worthless kind of intervention
if it leaves children slaughtered a week before Christmas.


I have given these matters a lot of thought.
I no longer donate to churchesI can’t even bring myself to go into a church. Not because I don’t like my church or my friends there. I did.
It is something else…I cannot support empty claims.

Instead, I donate to these non-religious organizations
which are effectively working for a better world:

-The Brady Campaign to End Gun Violence
-The National Institutes of Mental Health
-Doctors Without Borders
-The Red Cross

Some people say Atheists are sad, miserable and selfish. It is a lie.
I’m a very happy guy. I’ve met mostly wonderful Atheists since Sandy Hook. We all have similar stories of losing our religion and we discuss more freethinking philosophies of life.

I’m the same good person I always was before. I don’t say God is impossible. But I can’t believe in it. If you are going through something similar, I can tell you it is perfectly alright to be an Atheist. You will be fine.

I look forward to seeing my family and friends at Christmas and singing carols as usual. But for me, Jesus is just a myth. Like Cupid on Valentine’s day. And though I don’t believe in vampires or ghosts at Halloween,  I still pass out the candy!

I wish you a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah or just Happy Solstice.
It’s all good.

Atheist Max


About Atheist Max

I'm a former Christian who became Atheist in middle age. My blog is a journal of how I lost religion and discovered a better life. For Peace, Civility and the Separation of Church and State
This entry was posted in agnostic, Atheism, god, godless, Hell, love, Nonbelief, Positive Atheism, religion, unbelief and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to My God Died at Sandy Hook

  1. spambot3049 says:

    Good morning.

    Everyone’s experience after a tragedy is different and I can understand your reluctance to continue to have faith in something that seems to defy reason. As you must know, Catholics are taught that faith and reason must not be in conflict, rather “faith and reason are like two wings on which the human spirit rises to the contemplation of truth.” (Fides et Ratio, Sept. 1998). Our finite, human reasoning capability can provide some insight into the nature of an infinite God, but at some point faith will (or will not) kick in. All I can do at this point is hope that you continue to work through doubts, though I cannot promise any of us will have an answer as to why the Sandy Hook shootings occurred.

    I was in the extreme vicinity of a mass shooting last year and I have no answers for that one either. Mutual Christian faith among the survivors was helpful, not a hindrance (but as I acknowledged, everyone’s experience after a tragedy is different).

    For info, I replied to your comment from Adelle M. Banks’s article, though maybe there are more important things to talk/argue about:

    Wishing you the best and Happy New Year.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. God let it happen because free will in the bible he tells us we have free will and if he stop it he would be lying because the person did not have free will to do it and God NEVER lies


  3. Pingback: Hug a Believer and Fear Not – Questioning Claims is not Bigotry | Atheist Max – God to Godless

  4. Angeldawns says:

    Thank you Max. I feel the exact same way and I just cannot get past it. I miss God and I still pray…but it is just a reptition of memorized words. They are hollow and empty for me. It is very sad what happened and I just can’t let it go. Some part of me feels God exists but if that is true then what???? How???

    Liked by 1 person

    • Atheist Max says:

      Oh Angel, thank you for commenting.

      I completely understand what you are experiencing and what you are dealing with. My situation was the same – I missed God. My heart goes out to you. I really do understand.

      When God vanishes after so many years of belief it is so astonishing. It is like a cold bucket of water on your head. It is like a bell ringing: “There is no god …yet how is it possible I ever believed?”

      But it gets easier and it gets much better as time goes on. Don’t be afraid to let go of God. It helped me to reach out to other people going through the unraveling of religion. The truth is wonderful when you finally get through it.

      God is not real. But people are VERY real and their LOVE is REAL – and they are waiting to comfort you and to enjoy you in a way the god beliefs simply cannot!

      Much love to you. Write anytime and I will try to respond.

      – Atheist Max


  5. 1 John 3 says:

    From my understanding you are saying because an evil person killed children you don’t believe in God. My house is right behind a planned parent hood. They kill children there according to the news on a regular basis. Abortion is legal in the U.S. If the government says killing children is o.k. and you voted for Obama then when you ask God not to let children die, you are not being truthful in your request. How can you vote for Abortion and then ask God not to let children die? God is not listening to people like that. He listens to people who keep his commandments and do what pleases him. I am not God but how many of those kids parents voted for Obama?


    • Atheist Max says:

      It was not the deaths of the children which made me lose faith in god.
      Nor was it the viciousness of the crime.

      I lost belief in god when I realized it would be immoral to pray to the same god who would not save the children fffirst.

      I have never heard any religious person address that problem.
      If God can intercede – yet he refuses to do so – he cannot simultaneously ask me to pray and be moral at the same time.


  6. 1 John 3 says:

    Galatians 6:7King James Version (KJV)

    7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.

    King James Version (KJV)
    by Public Domain


  7. 1 John 3 says:

    P.S. forgive me for saying that the man who killed all those children was evil. I’m not God and I feel guilty for even calling him evil. Please forgive me if I said anything that God would not approve of on this site. Please forgive me if you feel that I’m not even supposed to post on this site. ” But if ye had known what this meaneth, ‘I will have mercy and not sacrifice,’ ye would not have condemned the guiltless (Matthew 12:7 KJ21).” I’m not guilty.


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