Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Tsunami disaster

The tsunami disaster is hitting home for us here. Two of my friends and coworkers were in Thailand for beach holidays, and as of yet, nobody here has heard anything from them.

Sifting through the reports of the damamge and death, seeing pictures of little children dead in their parents' arms, I'll admit, gives me some real theological trouble. It is almost easier, thinking about God and all that, to hear of disasters involving human evil, because there humankind and all its evil choices are clearly the focus of the blame. But what to do in a situation like this? Just cry and shake your head I guess.

I remember reading an interview with the famous agnostic Charles Templeton wherein he describes to the interviewer the photograph that led to his loss of faith:

"Was there one thing in particular that caused you to lose your faith in God?" I asked at the outset.

He thought for a moment. "It was a photograph in Life magazine," he said finally.

"Really?" I said. "A photograph? How so?"

He narrowed his eyes a bit and looked off to the side, as if he were viewing the photo afresh and reliving the moment. "It was a picture of a black woman in Northern Africa," he explained. "They were experiencing a devastating drought. And she was holding her dead baby in her arms and looking up to heaven with the most forlorn expression. I looked at it and I thought, ‘Is it possible to believe that there is a loving or caring Creator when all this woman needed was rain?’"

As he emphasized the word rain, his bushy gray eyebrows shot up and his arms gestured toward heaven as if beckoning for a response.

"How could a loving God do this to that woman?" he implored as he got more animated, moving to the edge of his chair. "Who runs the rain? I don’t; you don't. He does — or that’s what I thought. But when I saw that photograph, I immediately knew it is not possible for this to happen and for there to be a loving God. There was no way. Who else but a fiend could destroy a baby and virtually kill its mother with agony — when all that was needed was rain?"

That really bugs me.


.r a e h. said...

powerful post.
I hope that nothing stops you from wrestling through those types of situations....
I agree with you...I have a friend who works around people who are suffering and those types of questions arise....
I share the termoil.

Adrian said...

Thanks for the link to the templeton quote- have used it over on my own blog musing about faith and tsunamis

Paul Fromont said...

It bugs me too mate. Thinking of you too and hoping for a good outcome with regards to your two friends in Thailand.

Anonymous said...

There are theological counter-arguments, some better than others (intellectually I think some are very good), but I agree that they don't much help the emotional impact and the sneaking suspicion that God doesn't care that much.


+ simonas said...

i read this post a few days ago, and only today, when i discovered free music videos on yahoo, i watched and listned to one of my favorite songs by u2 - sunday bloody sunday (you can search for it on Yahoo's Launch. i think the song (see lyrics) really fits the situation. "how long, how long must we sing this song". don't you think the psalmist felt the same way?

p.s. the bloody server my site is on is down, so it's unavailable just like my email... this sucks...

ursa smaller said...

bugs me too. exactly what I've been struggling with.