Post-tsunami views by some
former & current believers ...

(Top Posts - Distance From Belief
in theism - 010705)

... in one, some, or all Gods.

The following article offers comments with believers'
cynicism towards the survivors' God doubts after the
tsunami disaster.

[Inserts with my perspective on believers' cynicism
towards the survivors' God doubts appear in brackets,
not part of the original article.]

---
7 January, 2005

INDIA

After tsunami cynicism assails
Christians, Muslims and Hindus

by Nirmala Carvalho
http://www.asianews.it/view.php?l=en&art=2283
---

Complete article:

Many ask "Why God did this?" Priests and nuns work on
reconstruction and body identification. Without prayers
the real meaning of life is loss.

---
[Insert -- Prayers, talking to God (various versions), is
meaningful only if you believe God (pick one, or many)
hears and answers them. If you don't believe in that,
prayers are not meaningful except to the extent that
they convey people have been taught, oft-times from
childhood, that magic beings (some) do magic things
(sometimes) if you believe one or many of them exist.
--end insert]
---

Thanjavur (AsiaNews) - Ten days after the tsunami hit
the coast of India, the search for survivors continues in
Valinkanni (Nagapattinam district, southern India). Rela-
tives of the victims continue to arrive hoping to find
someone still alive. Photos of the dead are taken before
cremation or burial to make identification possible often
becoming the last memento of lost ones.

Father Xavier, rector of the Marian shrine in Thanjavur,
a town in Nagapattinam, and active in helping survivors,
said that "many pilgrims, who make their annual pilgrim-
age to our shrine are still missing. We now have hun-
dreds of relatives [. . .] coming to Valinkanni [asking]
for any information about their lost loved ones."

Photos of unclaimed bodies can be viewed in a room
in the shrine set aside for that purpose. "So far," Father
Xavier said, "the Church administration has displayed
over 400 photographs".

The photos have facilitated the identification the dead
giving the authorities the possibility to release the
necessary death certificates.

Relatives of the tsunami victims have been able to
find loved ones . . . dead. The process has been pain-
ful. Many, after a last tour of the hospitals to check out
the injured, come, wary, sometimes hoping against all
hope, to look at the photos and finally resign themselves
to the worse.

After identification, people, stun written on the face,
can take a copy of the photo to the police station to get
a death certificate.

In many, faith in God and salvation, which once anch-
ored them against many difficult challenges, is now at
risk. A certain cynicism is spreading among people.

---
[Insert - Anchored them against difficult challenges?
That's the spin religious leaders and some of their
followers use, but in actuality, almost every last one
of them had/have doubts, and perceived that the be-
lief systems they had been raised 'neath are less
than reliable, especially when tragedies, diseases,
and death occur, and especially when those things
happen to the most innocent among us. --end insert]
---

According to Father Xavier, "the clergy is facing a big
problem-how to keep the flock from another tide, that
of cynicism". His response is prayer without which there
"is no meaning to life".

---
[Insert --- The Father should read the articles linked to
in the following, and recognize that just because billions
either don't believe in -or- have many doubts regarding
his version of reality, that doesn't deny them the meaning
that they derive from pro-human aspirations apart from
religion:

FREELOVER Principles
http://prohuman.net/freelover.htm

A search for the meaning of life
http://prohuman.net/social_legal/stem_cell_decision3.htm

arealists?
http://prohuman.net/philosophy_general/arealists.htm

Future of a God-free Existence for ...
http://prohuman.net/disbelief/future_of_god_free.htm

Religious Injuriousness
http://prohuman.net/prohumanistfreeloverdaily/090201.htm

Universe(s) Origin(s) 7 of 7 - Nothing / Everything
http://prohuman.net/universes_origins_7_of_7.htm

Seeking the Hand of God in the Waters?
http://prohuman.net/social_legal/hand_of_god_in_the_waters.htm

--end insert]
---

For so many, Father Xavier noted, "the loss is irreparable
and the shock runs deep. There is a kind of void in their
expectations and it is very difficult [for them] to under-
stand how a good God could punish his people in such
a way, taking away so many lives".

"The clergy now has the task of instilling confidence," he
stressed. "Man is not an animal. And we believe in the
resurrection and cannot blame God".

---
[Insert -- The clergy's comment cannot answer the 'how
could a good God punish his people in such a way' ques-
tion. As for science, humans are a species among many,
a species most are very fond of, quite often, though at
many times in the past, and even so today, many humans
engage in harm to their fellow humans, both religious fol-
lowers and those who don't follow any religion;

Just look at the way some christians treat homosexuals
for a clue regarding religions' impact on other humans,
not to mention all the religious wars and attacks based
on religion that have occurred throughout human history.
--end insert]
---

In a mosque in a village close to Valinkanni, Kalifa Moham-
mad Sahib also urges more prayers. "Faith must not go
away," he tells his fellow Muslims.

About 500 metres from the shore in Valinkanni stands a
tiny temple dedicated to a local deity, Elliamman Koil,
which came out of the ordeal relatively unscathed

"There is no God," said a woman who lost her four chil-
dren, a sister and brother to the tsunami. "The entire vil-
lage prayed daily," she said, "and performed the annual
thiruvizha-a procession in which the idol is accompan-
ied by music and dancing-and yet it turn its back on the
people."

In Colachel, near Kanyakumari, Sister Mary told survivors
camping in makeshift shelters that despite the tragedy
"God will take care of them."

---
[Insert -- Difficult to make a case for God taking care of
people after over 150,000, including over 50,000 chil-
dren, were drowned. What good is belief in a God who'd
do nothing to prevent or warn about such a disaster, or,
per some religionists, cause such an event to occur?
--end insert]
---

Recalling that fateful December 26, she said "the whole
tragedy happened within minutes. So many of them are
unable to remember what really happened."

In Cuddalore, one of Tamil Nadu hardest hit areas,
schools reopened. Fr Arul Das, St. Joseph's principal,
told AsiaNews that the "tragedy is written large on the
faces of our children. They want to know: 'Why has God
done this to us?' I have not been able to answer their
questions. They have been psychologically traumatised".

---
[Insert -- Try sharing with them the glowing stories of some
survivors who oft-times issue comments like "Thank God"
for their having survived the disaster. Really, they want us
to believe God saved them, but they're rather shy, usually,
regarding those who died.

However, some will assert God took the dead to heaven,
others will assert God sent the disbelievers in the 'right'
God to hell, and others will assert God caused the tsu-
nami to happen. Religion, all told, not a very positive ap-
proach to life, all angles considered. --end insert]
---

"We hope that the school routine will be a small step in
resuming a normal life, "he said. "Today, we did not begin
any new work, it was largely group counselling in which
children were encouraged to speak out and express their
emotions."

- - - end insert - - -

Final comments:

And certainly, with over 150,000 horrific deaths, those who
doubt and disbelieve in God should not be hushed or dis-
missed by anyone. They have a strong and emotional and
logical and reasonable case to make that either God (pick
one or all) does not exist, or the God(s) that exist(s) was
powerless to help, or the God(s) that exist(s) caused all the
deaths, or the God(s) that exist(s) chose to do nothing.

- - -