Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Prayers for tsunami survivors

If the tsunami disaster was part of God's larger plan...why do we need to pray for the survivors?

I have to say this, even though it's an extremely unwelcome comment. All of the world's religions are sending to their faithful via any number of media the message: Pray for the tsunami survivors. But if the disaster was part of God's plan, the survivors are also part of that plan. Since, for God, the future has already happened, the prayers were answered, one way or another, before they were uttered.

But suggesting a human not pray is like suggesting he not struggle to escape from a dangerous situation. It's an automatic response.

Another question is why would the disaster actually strengthen some people's faith? My natural reaction to the disaster is to wonder if it weren't a punishment for the evil we create in the world. But most religions are interpreting the disaster as simply part of God's larger, if mystifying, plan. So God actually included the earthquake and resultant tsunamis when he laid out the timeline of history? He wrote it into the story? If he did, do you want to continue referring to him as "the merciful, the just"? Or, if he simply set the tectonic plates in motion when he created Earth and let them follow their own course, was the disaster something he couldn't stop after he had set up the conditions? The disaster was too big for him to stop? He could handle the smaller miracles, like those Paula Zahn shows us on CNN, but he couldn't stop the earthquake before it happened? And if he could, he chose not to? None of these interpretations increase my confidence that God is either 1) a good guy or 2) in complete control. (More about this in my other blog, which is posted entirely on virtual T-shirts.)

But every religion, in every disaster situation like this, comforts the faithful with some variation of a statement like this: "God's ways are higher than our ways. It is not for us to understand now, it is just for us to continue to trust that he loves us and will provide for us."

If you can take comfort in those words, then do. Take comfort. But please don't vote.

1 comment:

djayer said...

You Know you are right. That is a bunch of crap the religous geeks are handing out. Those people all died. what is God about? Mystical answer like " we can't understand his purpose" is not good enough. It would be better to say "things happen, now move on". Cold hearted but that is what we have to do. No thanks to the "God" people.