Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Search for Spiritual Meaning in the Mist of Tragedy

The New York Times reports that:

"Japanese authorities struggled to contain new nuclear emergencies on Tuesday and the death toll continued to climb as search teams began reaching towns and seaports that were flattened by last week’s earthquake and tsunami....

The National Police Agency said Tuesday afternoon that 2,478 people have died, and many thousands were still missing. Some 400,000 people were living in makeshift shelters or evacuation centers, officials said...

An explosion Tuesday morning at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Station — the third reactor blast in four days — damaged the vessel containing the nuclear core at reactor No. 2 , government officials said, and there was a growing fear of a catastrophic meltdown.

Fears of a deepening nuclear crisis led to panic selling on Tuesday that drove down the Nikkei stock index by 10.6 percent...

From the attic window, Ms. Sato said, she saw the floodwaters hurling cars along, with drivers and passengers still inside. Houses broke from their foundations and were carried along, their owners perched on the ridges of the roofs...

“I saw people trying to balance on the rooftops like surfers,” she said. “It didn’t work. It was like hell.”

My sincere prayers and condolences go out to the people of Japan.  May God bless and keep them.

As the earthquake and tsunami disaster continues to unfold in Japan, many people search for the spiritual meaning of it all. Some speculate that this catastrophe may a sign of the last days.  That is difficult to believe.  Earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, floods, poverty, famine, slavery, war and disease have plagued mankind since the beginning.  For me, as a person who believes in God, such tragedies raise the timeless philosophical question. 

Why would a just, merciful and all powerful God allow such tragedies to occur?  What greater good is being served by the lost of so many innocent lives?  I know that people of faith are not suppose to ask such questions. I know that God's plan is beyond human comprehension.  I understand that believers should be patient and forbearing.  However, God blessed human beings with intelligence.  Why not use it to probe, analyze and question?

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