20 January 2005

Science and YM - God, Man, and tsunamis

Dimitri Vassilaros wrote an insightful piece in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review about the tsunami and God.  I have to say it got me thinking about the decisions we make and who is to blame for stuff.  Many would blame God or say that it is his judgement, but I am of the opinion, as is Dimitri, that it is our own fault that so many people were killed. 


Since 1965, there has been a system in place to detect and warn for tsunamis in the Pacific basin, but there isn't one in the Indian Ocean.  Granted that the Pacific has more earthquake activity and has more tsunamis, but the Indian Ocean is not immune from the same thing.  So along the line, some people made a decision that said that since the frequency is lower we don't need a warning system.  So now close to 200,000 pay for the short sightedness of a few bureaucrats.  While God may have put the natural world into motion so in a way He caused the earthquake, we will be judged for not loving our brothers and sisters enough to protect them, when we could have. 


As Mr. Vassilaros says in his essay,


"What is our excuse in 2005? We know how to track storms, avoid fault lines and even sense tsunamis. We have the capabilities to communicate with virtually every person on Earth, whether by broadcast, telephone, Internet or air-raid siren.

"And yet many continue to act as if this tragedy is proof that God is trying to communicate with us.

"And maybe he is, but not in the way his interpreters would have you believe.

"God might be trying to remind us to place greater value on human life and take responsibility when we are at fault instead of automatically blaming him.

"Or maybe God just wants us to sacrifice a goat."

Christ said that second commandment is like the first (the first being love God with all of your heart and all your mind and all your soul), "love your neighbor as yourself."  

In a way, this is where some would call me quite liberal.  I think that no matter the country, we, the richer nations of the world, should have had a system in place year's ago.  This might have kept the loss of life to lower levels.  Of course, the other way we will be judged is by the amount of comfort and aid to those who have been affected.  Either way, we are the ones at fault.

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