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Old 01-02-2005, 05:41 AM   #76
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Anyhow I question my faith, such as it is, all the time. I'm anything but sanguine, however I might sound in print.
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Old 01-02-2005, 07:08 AM   #77
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Maybe God has not had ultimate control over the Earth since the wheels were put into motion.

FREE WILL baby.

Maybe we sit here for thousands of years saying, oh a flood, what did I do wrong to cause this to happen. God is causing it to happen. why isnt God protecting us.

ITs all about US BABY.


Maybe the true test of our souls is how we react to tradjedy. Maybe the true test of mankind is the continuous reactions to the world arround us, good, bad and ugly, and maybe, just maybe it is not about God causing it to happen.
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Old 01-02-2005, 07:42 AM   #78
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This is a good question...honestly events like this make me wonder if it's not a bit silly to assume there's some "Big Brother" up there watching our every move.

And it's purely ridiculous when people suggest that they were saved "by the grace of God" or whatever else. If you are the only one in your village to survive such a disaster and claim this as evidence of a God...then that means God didn't care about the other innocent people?

Things like this have been happening for billions of years, and we are just "a drop in the ocean" to be U2-related, the length of our lives just a flash, of little or no consequence to the order of the world.

Now I'm actually not an atheist, more of an agnostic, because I do believe something somewhere had to cause this universe to come into existance. But in my mind, there is no All-powerful All-loving God, some image of a guy with a beard holding a staff, deciding whether to let people in through the pearly white gates or to send them to burn forever in a pit of fire while the Devil pokes at them with a pitchfork just for shits and giggles.

I find it highly amusing that all good things in the world are attributing to this loving God and that all bad things are automatically derelgated to nature or karma or some Devil-like creature living at the core of the Earth.

I guess my point is this: natural disasters like this are nothing more, just natural disaster.s A result of the natural movement of the plates that make up the Earth's crust. It's not a part of "God's plan" or anything like that, and if there is a God he's not very invovled in anything in the world. I know that sounds cynical, but that's just logic to me, and I'm content with it.
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Old 01-02-2005, 08:29 AM   #79
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Urge ya fellow americans to donate one dollar to an aid organisation. You are a populous nation, and if everyone gave a dollar, your nation would be donating a total of close to $300 million! That would be a great help and is urgently needed. Same goes to everyone, Billions of dollars could be raised if people donate just a mere dollar.
that's what I've been thinking also I've send an letter to the Dutch government and organisations to create something like this but they haven't replied so far

who says God wouldn't love us......
remember all the wars, all the disasters(food, nature disasters)
but why would God take action......so you say if God would love us he didn't let it happen? that's rubbish
mostly it is the people who are guilty almost 99% and the nature disasters.....something(God?) created earth and something will destroy earth
but I'm sure if there's a God he would let the people learn by suffering because otherwise they never gonna learn something.....

instead of thinking if God has done this we could blame the governments of the rich countries....
I blame them for this, they could have bought some material which warns for natural disasters for the poor countries if they had did this I'm sure there would be less dead people because you can evacuate them on time........
just like what happened in US last year I believe with a tornado
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Old 01-02-2005, 08:54 AM   #80
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Maybe God has not had ultimate control over the Earth since the wheels were put into motion.

FREE WILL baby.

but this is precisely what makes natural disasters different from the Holocaust, Rawanda, or whatever. those are instances of humans killing humans -- the most perverse expression of Free Will imaginable.

a natural disaster is 100% different -- where's the Free Will in the shifting of the earth's crust, the counterclockwise rotation of a category 4 hurricane barreling towards an impoverished Caribbena island, or the mixing of hot air from the Gulf of Mexico meeting up with cool air from Canada over a great, flat expanse that turns into a tornado that flattens a trailer park in Oklahoma?

i think that sentimental notions of God, as someone with rules and righteousness and who gives a shit about your specific prayer to win the football game and a Kingdom to give us if we believe it to be so, are more byproducts of Western culture than anything else.

i have always struggled with faith, and would have called myself not so much a Christian but certainly a believer even just a few years ago -- and a lot of that had to do with consuming nearly ever word uttered by Bono on the subject. believe it or not, Bono made God "cool" to me, and i found it actually rather rebellious to embrace the spiritual, trying to come off as some kind of teenaged dazzled mystic, a 17 year old in white suburbia doing his best Bono imitation, not in accent or clothes, but in thought, speech, and belief.

but with all that has happened in the world recently, combined with my own maturation and coming to terms with so many different things in my own life, my former Bono-induced notions of God are simply incompatible with the reality laid bare before us, and it's very obvious, when you take a step back, to see just how faith operates -- it's a system, like anything else, and it has a bottom line, which is to perpetuate its own existence by giving the believer a pre-made set of lenses through which to view and thereby understand the experience, even the inexplicable -- and by labeling something as "inexplicable" you are, in a sense, placing some notion of understanding upon the disaster, couching it in human terms, and making it digestible with little Hallmark-style sayings.

i suppose all we can do, then is react -- donate, volunteer, and examine ourselves to discover just how forces (be they tornadoes or belief systems) act upon us, and by discovering how they work and giving a name to them, better remove ourselves from their control.

i think, then, to offer the personal observation/reflection that i've been looking for, such a disaster causes me to better understand the terrible, terrifying, yet wonderful freedom of existence. with freedom you are not protected -- you can be hit by a bus as easily as swept out to sea or win the lottery. there is no plan, there is no destiny, nothing that happens is for a reason, just the reason we decide to place upon something in order to even begin to think about it. our lives are both utterly our own, yet utterly beyond our control. all you can do is all you can do. it's chaos out there, order it the best that you can, but be aware that the order is of humans, by humans, and for humans. religion is a human fabrication. there is no Truth, just your truth. there is no God, just the god who gets you through the night. Jesus is the son of God if you want him to be, but only if you want him to be. we have total Free Will, but that Free Will can be swept out to sea along with our bloated, lifeless body should a butterfly flap his wings in Moscow and then the earth shifts in Sumatra. let's be humbled by this and forgive our own insistences and claims on such notions of Truth and come to understand that we're all incredibly precious and utterly insignificant in the same breath.
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Old 01-02-2005, 11:09 AM   #81
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I was sort of expecting a thread like this. Usually, after any significant disaster, these types of questions are common.

While I reject the notions of karma, Martha's original statement about our understanding of God is correct.

We question God because we don't fully understand His nature or use our own limited definitions to describe Him.

God is sovereign and in control. The earthquake and tsunami cannot be outside of His control (and there are plenty of Biblical examples that show that God remains in control).

The "why" of this event will test our notion of "God is love". Unfortunately, we expect God to love us the way we love another. That means that we do not harm another. God's love far surpasses this notion.

God has placed this tragedy before us. We can show God's love by how we respond.
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Old 01-02-2005, 11:24 AM   #82
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I quote John Lennon:

"God is a concept
By which we measure
Our pain"

He was speaking the truth. God, ANY God in ANY religion, is a way for people to try to justify the bad things that happen. If it's God's will, it must be ok. At least that's my interpretation of these lyrics, which I agree very much with. I do not believe in God.
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Old 01-02-2005, 11:25 AM   #83
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nevermind
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Old 01-02-2005, 11:30 AM   #84
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Originally posted by nbcrusader
nevermind
Who are you saying that to?
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Old 01-02-2005, 12:47 PM   #85
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We question God because we don't fully understand His nature or use our own limited definitions to describe Him.

God is sovereign and in control. The earthquake and tsunami cannot be outside of His control (and there are plenty of Biblical examples that show that God remains in control).

The "why" of this event will test our notion of "God is love". Unfortunately, we expect God to love us the way we love another. That means that we do not harm another. God's love far surpasses this notion.

God has placed this tragedy before us. We can show God's love by how we respond.

no amount of faith or trust in God could ever make the death of 150,000+ people acceptable to me. to say that God still loves us even though he, in your words, "has placed this tragedy before us" is almost sickening. if this is a test, i want nothing to do with the proctor.

the more i re-read your post, the more saddened i am. i think you should go to Sumatra and Sri Lanka and remind these people that God still loves them, especially the orphans or the parents who have lost their children, and that one day this will all make sense to them because we must have faith that God knows best and the best thing was to drown a child, or a grandmother, and that this earthquake was sent by God to test both our love for him and for each other.

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Old 01-02-2005, 01:00 PM   #86
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Originally posted by Irvine511



no amount of faith or trust in God could ever make the death of 150,000+ people acceptable to me. to say that God still loves us even though he, in your words, "has placed this tragedy before us" is almost sickening. if this is a test, i want nothing to do with the proctor.

the more i re-read your post, the more saddened i am. i think you should go to Sumatra and Sri Lanka and remind these people that God still loves them, especially the orphans or the parents who have lost their children, and that one day this will all make sense to them because we must have faith that God knows best and the best thing was to drown a child, or a grandmother, and that this earthquake was sent by God to test both our love for him and for each other.

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Old 01-02-2005, 01:19 PM   #87
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Okay, I feel that karma was brought up but not properly discussed so I’m going to give this a shot, against my better judgment since the discussion of karma and reincarnation has never gone over well here and in general the western world has great resistance to this concept, which I’ve never quite understood. It has become a profound living reality for me that I continue to go deeper and deeper with the more I witness it, study it and contemplate it.

The idea of karma cannot be discussed without the idea of reincarnation. They go hand in hand. And while dismissed by most of the western world, it is a belief system embraced by more than half of the world’s population—a fact which in and of itself doesn’t necessarily lend it more credibility since the masses can still be wrong, but I mention it only because I am amazed by how many people think it’s some wacky notion of a few new agey loony toons.

When looking at a natural disaster through the lens of karma and reincarnation, the first thing one sees is that the ‘disaster’ is only a ‘disaster’ to the mind because the mind can only see a tiny little slice of an infinite pie. DaveC was right, in my opinion, that according to the law of karma people get what they have coming to them, and martha was also right, imo, in pointing out that that is an oversimplification. Both are true, because we’re not talking about these particular people—i.e., those affected by the tsunami—in their current incarnation as having done something horrible to deserve these horrible consequences. The law of karma and reincarnation views this over billions and trillions of lifetimes, where every thought, deed and action are recorded and carried on with a soul from lifetime to lifetime until the debts are paid. Only when they are paid does the cycle and death and rebirth end.

So how then can a natural disaster such as the tsunami, and all the suffering it has caused, be viewed as anything but terrible? Well, first of all, since the soul is immortal, nobody really died. The ones who lived through the ordeal suffer, no doubt, but when viewed from the whole (and by whole, I mean the general bigger picture, the specifics of which none of us can know) you see it is God’s plan playing out once again in perfection. While it looks terrible to the mind, it is in fact unconditional love playing out once again because these souls have to burn this karma off and in their next incarnation, they will have much better circumstances and their journey continues on. In viewing from the whole I would have to say that we have all been through such terrible things, and more may await us, but one of the gifts is that the veil drops between each incarnation so that we don’t remember these things although occasionally we get glimpses in dreams, or in attitudes that we seemed to have been born with, etc.

We see the law of karma playing out in all of life—in science, in physics—where there is a cause there is an effect. I agree with Irvine that I don’t really understand how Christians make sense of these kinds of things, often one minute quoting popular Biblical verses such as we reap what we sow and an eye for an eye, while simultaneously denying the existance of karma (which by definition is reaping what you sow and an eye for an eye) and their unwillingness to apply these principles as God’s law even when the appearance of things suggests some kind of injustice to seemingly innocent people, or making separations between God and nature. This does not mean that I don’t feel pain when I look at the images on TV and hear the stories of what people are going through. It does not mean that I shrug and go, "Oh well, they had it comin' to them." This is a subject that one must approach with great sensitivity. But I do find comfort in knowing that it is temporary and that these people paid, and are paying, HUGE karmic debts, and we don’t even know the grace and mercy that was bestowed in doling out this karma, or the gifts they have earned in bravely facing their karmas. According to the teachings of karma and reincarnation, this world is where we come to learn lessons, pay debts, and return to God. It's ugly down here for the most part and these kinds of horrible things have existed since the beginning of time. I don't agree with people who say the world is getting worse; it's pretty much always been like this.

So it seems to me that some of our choices in viewing a natural disaster are:

- a capricious deity is screwing around with us

- it's God's will, we don't know why and we aren't supposed to know why and we just have to have faith

- stuff happens, it's random

- God is in control of some things, but not others, and I'll decide on a case by case basis which things he's in control of and which I will dismiss as falling in the 'stuff happens' category

- it's a perfect universe and all is going according to plan and even though I don't know the exact causes that were put out to create this effect, science tells me that cause and effect are perfect and working with these principles in time will actually make us masters of our own universe, which does not negate the existence of God at all but rather the causes we consciously put out will have the effect of bringing us closer to God if that's what we want and choose to do.

Obviously there is much, much more to karma than this. It is a vast, vast subject and one I have been reluctant to get into because I find that most people have already rejected it before they know anything about it and only want to talk about it so they can dismiss it loudly. It's almost like people get angry hearing that they are ultimately reponsible for their lives, which I present as an idea that does not negate the existence of God but which is part of God's plan, and for me there is great liberation and comfort in that idea.
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Old 01-02-2005, 01:26 PM   #88
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I can't, and probably never will, comprehend why God/ a more powerful force would allow something like this to happen. I read somewhere once that we suffer because we are sinners, suffering is God's way of telling people they need to seek his guidance and look to him for support. Put in the context of this tsunami it pains me to think people could actually believe that hundreds and hundreds of people, a lot of whom were children, suffered because they were sinners and others needed it as a wake up call that we need God.

Life is full of suffering, maybe this is not part of Gods plan, maybe he has no control over people suffering especially in regard to disasters like this.
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Old 01-02-2005, 01:52 PM   #89
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Originally posted by Irvine511
no amount of faith or trust in God could ever make the death of 150,000+ people acceptable to me. to say that God still loves us even though he, in your words, "has placed this tragedy before us" is almost sickening. if this is a test, i want nothing to do with the proctor.
So, you reject the notion of god because no matter how you define god, your god does not does not meet your expectations (dare I say demands) of what god should be or how god should act?

The sad reality is that we don't need to travel far from our own homes to find hurt and suffereing.
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Old 01-02-2005, 02:10 PM   #90
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but this is precisely what makes natural disasters different from the Holocaust, Rawanda, or whatever. those are instances of humans killing humans -- the most perverse expression of Free Will imaginable.

a natural disaster is 100% different -- where's the Free Will in the shifting of the earth's crust, the counterclockwise rotation of a category 4 hurricane barreling towards an impoverished Caribbena island, or the mixing of hot air from the Gulf of Mexico meeting up with cool air from Canada over a great, flat expanse that turns into a tornado that flattens a trailer park in Oklahoma?

So , God creates the Earth, and the Earth is doing what the Earth is supposed to do.

The livings things on the planet all do what they are supposed to do.

And we are supposed to blame God, when an natural disaster occurs? We are supposed to blame God when God does not protect us from the Earth Behaving the way it is supposed to behave?

Free Will is how we relate to ourselves in doing right or wrong. Nature behaving the way nature behaves is not something I blame on God, the Devil or whatever.

AS for human beings being insignificant, I disagree. There are terrible things happening down the street from you and I. There are homeless people starving on the streets, there are children coming to school without having their basic needs met. You are not insignificant if you help your neighbor. The teacher that feeds the student a bowl of cereal is not insignificant to the teacher. The person, sleeping in churches with homeless people so they can have warmth for a night, is not insignificant. And no tragedy takes away the significance of the things we do for each other on Earth.

Significance is about how you live, not how you die. Everyone dies, not everyone lives a significant life. The choice is yours.
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