Sunday, January 02, 2005

Of God and Man

This is an excerpt from an ongoing discussion about God, faith, man and their relationship and reactions to the tsunami in Southern Asia. Thanks to David for the refrence to this over at Baylor Fans .

"Perhaps no event in living memory has confronted so many of the world's great religions with such a basic test of faith as the tsunami, which indiscriminately slaughtered Indonesian Muslims, Indian Hindus, Thai and Sri Lankan Buddhists and tourists who were Christians and Jews."
"In temples, mosques, churches and synagogues across the globe, clerics are being
called upon to explain: How could a benevolent God visit such horror on ordinary people?"
It was put eloquently this past week by an old woman in a devastated village in southern India's Tamil Nadu state. "Why did you do this to us, God?" she wailed.
"What did we do to upset you?"

______

How often have you heard someone say "I prayed to God, for his protection/care/guidance/help..."? Who do you turn to when God answers "No"? Where was God on that day, as the sea rose up and took the lives and homes of so many? Was he watching from afar? Did he weep? How could he allow this to happen? Then again how can HE allow any tragedy to happen? Little children are murdered at the hands of their parents. Soldiers are killed fighting in wars. Drunk drivers wipe out families in automobile accidents. We pray to God, to intervene when we are faced with a crisis. Where exactly does God draw the line? Why is one child,lost, then found safe, and we say, "angels/God watched over him". Yet another child is lost, never found or found dead. Where were the angels? Where was God for that child? Why one and not the other? Why is one person miraculously saved from the ravages of Cancer/leukemia, ect., while another loses their battle? How do we find a way to sustain our faith when there is so much we do not understand?
Is our faith simply our inability to believe that this life really is all there is ? Do we cling to our faith because we cannot accept that with death we simply cease to exist? I will admit there have been times, when I have wondered, "is my faith in God, my way of coping with the unacceptable finality of death..."?
Is the man who says, "The questions you propose will not resolve anything or lead to productive thinking, they have no useful answers...or at least no answers that would be enlightening or enriching or comforting. Indeed, they might result in some foolish speculation that could end up validating those who are unscathed and condemning those who have suffered." Is he right? Should we simply accept these as tragedies as facts of life and not question why?
What do we say in reply to the likes of Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell, who would suggest that disasters and suffering are punishments from God? What could so many people have done to deserve to die that day? Why there? Why not here in the US?
Then there are those who say, it had nothing to do with God. It was a simple act of nature? Could they be right?
For me, in the end, it comes down to faith . You must have a strong faith in God, and be willing to accept that it is not meant for us to understand all that happens. For we are only humans. The vastness and depth of life's complexities is too much for us to comprehend. Your faith must sustain you.

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