Wicked, Callous, Impotent, or 'Mysterious'

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  1. Paraglider profile image88
    Paragliderposted 15 years ago

    Does anyone see the hand of god in Cyclone Nargis?

    Was it a wicked act by god, or a callous omission to act defensively? Or perhaps he was powerless to prevent it? Or is it another example of his 'mysterious ways that passeth all understanding'?

    The earthquake that devastated Lisbon in 1755 shattered the faith of Leibniz, one of the world's great mathematicians and philosophers. Thereafter, he denied the existence of god.

    In the wake of this latest disaster, does anyone feel inclined to follow Leibniz into rationality, or alternatively to defend the almighty's act or omission?

    One of the many ways to give practical help in this unfolding disaster is here:


    1. profile image0
      Zarm Nefilinposted 15 years agoin reply to this

      I see the hand of magical thinking in your interpretation of Cyclone Nargis.

      Aye, that I see clearly.

      1. Paraglider profile image88
        Paragliderposted 15 years agoin reply to this

        I hesitated to post this thread, lest it be seen as trivialising this latest catastrophe, which is far from my intention. But how can we continue to woffle about seeing Jesus in a dream when faced with the stark fact that many thousands of innocents will never dream again?

        1. SparklingJewel profile image66
          SparklingJewelposted 15 years agoin reply to this

          Bear with me as I try to put my beliefs in a concise sentence or two on this point. (probably more!) smile

          It is never a trivial matter when humanity as a race looses the physical connection with other individuals of humanity. I feel we are to morn the lose and in due time wake up to greater understanding why these things happen.

          It is my belief that at the highest level  of consciousness (and we have several levels below that as well) we are all connected and all knowing, One with the Universe and its cause, effect, record and memory of humanity.

          It's like if you look at your self; there are many more things going on that you are not consciously aware of, when it comes to understanding all the points of the why and how, of things that happen. Plus the added that we are connected to everyone and everything else...the accumulated acts, right and wrong, of all people, make it impossible to know everything. We just need to do more and the best we can.

          IMHO. I feel we must look deeper and seek that greater understanding; we are ultimately responsible for EVERYTHING that happens; we have the free will to take command and change what needs to be changed, act where action is needed.

          There is no God who's fault it is, (though I do believe in a God Energy that is All) it is our responsibility to find the answers and take the actions to make it a better and safer world.

          Some choose to pray and that's what they do. Others choose to take  physical actions; and some do both. And then others like myself do all said and the above (that I have written about, as well).

  2. Mark Knowles profile image58
    Mark Knowlesposted 15 years ago

    That link is out of action.

  3. Paraglider profile image88
    Paragliderposted 15 years ago

    Odd - it wasn't when I posted it this morning.

    Here's a working link:

    http://www.actionaid.org.uk/101271/burm … clone.html

    I see what happened - I linked to it when it was the lead story. I should have linked to the permalink. I think this one will keep working.

  4. knolyourself profile image61
    knolyourselfposted 15 years ago

    There are no catastrophes in Heaven, but this ain't that. I live in an earthquake zone, and so usually have lived on a rock in a small house. Means - don't live in a catastrophe prone area and then blame it on God when the inevitable happens. God's not gonna be my baby sitter in such a situation.

    1. Paraglider profile image88
      Paragliderposted 15 years agoin reply to this

      But those who can't afford a small house on a rock - those who have no choice but to live in a catastrophe-prone area - those who didn't survive long enough to blame it on God - those who just died - what of them, my friend, what of them?

  5. Inspirepub profile image73
    Inspirepubposted 15 years ago

    I think it is important to remember that people die.

    They just do.

    Everyone dies, sooner or later.

    God didn't promise anyone a long life.

    We get worked up over thousands of people dying in the same way on the same day, but actually if you added up all the people who died of smoking-related illnesses, or cancer, on any given day, it would be a similar number.

    It's just less dramatic, and it happens every day, so we don't give it any attention.

    People dying, people experiencing physical or emotional pain, and other things we humans consider "unjust" are part of life.

    It makes no sense to select one particular example of injustice or mass death and have it change your mind about God. The world didn't change in that moment - it has always been this way. If you believed in God yesterday, you should still believe in God today, because this is nothing different from anything that has happened before.


    1. Paraglider profile image88
      Paragliderposted 15 years agoin reply to this

      By which argument the world never changes: the holocaust - more of the same, 9/11 - more of the same, the crucifixion - more of the same, the resurrection - need I go on? If god is 'god the totally uninvolved', which is what you seem to be saying, then maybe we need to grow up and let him go, like Santa Claus.

      1. Misha profile image63
        Mishaposted 15 years agoin reply to this

        The guy in white clothes sitting on the cloud? For sure. There is something else, though, that seems to connect all of us and everything around us...

      2. Inspirepub profile image73
        Inspirepubposted 15 years agoin reply to this

        How does saying "the world is no different after this disaster than it was before" suddenly become "God is totally uninvolved".

        I think it is bizarre and unreasonable to expect God to unnaturally prolong human lifespans. We have our place in the world, and our place involves dying. Some of us die after mere hours of feeble life, and some of us die painfully, some of us die in large groups at one time, and others die alone and unnoticed.

        This is the way of the world.

        It is neither good, nor bad.

        It just is.

        So yes, if you think of God as your own personal "Big Brother" whose job is to change the laws of Nature to artificially prolong your life, then yes, it's time to let that notion go.


        1. Paraglider profile image88
          Paragliderposted 15 years agoin reply to this

          I don't believe there is a god. But many do, and many put their trust in god to look after them on a daily basis - the lord is my shepherd. I shall not want - or - give us this day our daily bread. I remain interested in the way many people give thanks to god for good things received but refuse to take him to task for disasters. He's got it made, that guy wink

  6. profile image0
    sandra rinckposted 15 years ago

    It's a horrible thing that happened in Myanmar, I am sad, Tokyo just got rocked by an 8.3 quake today, there is a pot hole a mile long sinking in Texas, kids setting off bombs in schools, a volcano in Chili erupting, as well as one in Hawaii, kids shooting kids for no reason, gangs on gangs, people getting beatin for no reason, children, parents etc. starving, 100 plus Earthquakes last week maybe the week before in Reno, 3 in California the next week, a tornado in Arkansas that flattened a whole town and killed 7, let's not get into Katrina and stuff. 

    Where is God you ask?  I could say, God is right in front of your face saying listen, these things are not because of God, it's because of us.  The planet can't support too many people.  Eventually there is chaos, can't say life didn't come with a warning. 

    Lemme break it down,

    excessive living, building in places that shouldn't have been lived on, but where else can so many people go?  Where ever they can, right? 

    Too much is too much, and it's a natural event, why blame God for the things we create?  God gave us everything, and we destroy it.  Earth is doing her part, she doesn't judge, neither does God, but the way I see it God, gave a pretty good warning, but....what can anyone say other than it is sad, and right now America is trying to give the victims in Myanmar aid, but their own government is refusing it.

  7. Misha profile image63
    Mishaposted 15 years ago

    Umm, Sandy, you are going into pretty dangerous territory here I think. Too many of us? What do you suggest? Prohibit people from making kids? Kill excessive people? I don't really see any viable solution if all those things are because of too many people on Earth...

    1. profile image0
      sandra rinckposted 15 years agoin reply to this

      no, I am not saying genicide, I am saying it's only natural that disasters happen and people, innocent ones die.  I am saying that it just happens. 

      If you can think of it like molecules, what happens when they colide? They explode.  The same things happen with people.  Nature takes it course, but I think we can fix it, but no one wants to.  It seems easier to let it happen and then blame and get angry instead of trying to do anything about it, but I didn't write the story about life. 

      I am not a cold person, and I do my share of whatever it is I can do, but I more often then not, the ones who want to help or tell it like it is are the cold distant destroyers who regarded as hateful avengers, when it's not like that. 

      I love children and I think everyone should have them, but it's not unreasonable to say, that there is just not enough life support in the Earth to support us all.  I could die tomorow, my child could too, I live with that in the back of my head you know. 

      What else, we have bad vaccines, that are making people sick, or leaving us open to be destroyed by a flu, billions of people are being displaced everyday, people are fighting just to fight because there are too many opinions, too many people are starving because some are just to, well I will just be frank,  if you are obese, the obviously someone is starving.

      Everything in life has an effect on someone else, we know this but ignore the obvious because we are too built up on believing we are indestructable, but we aren't, we are just as vulnerable as the extint dodo bird, or the soon to be extint Polar Bear. 

      We have the means to make it work, but it is impossible to get everyone on the same page.

  8. Marisa Wright profile image89
    Marisa Wrightposted 15 years ago

    I think Sandy is talking about the theory of Gaia, though I don't know if she knows it.

    The theory goes that planet Earth is an organism, just as our bodies are organisms.  Our body reacts to threats in various ways, by sending out antibodies to deal with infections etc.  Similarly, the Earth reacts to threats in various ways.  It doesn't matter whether it's a plague of ants, a plague of locusts or a plague of humans, Nature eventually redresses the balance.

    We humans like to think we're much too important to be lumped in with locusts or ants, but there's a certain elegance to the theory!

  9. profile image0
    sandra rinckposted 15 years ago

    I didn't know that but I am going to look into it, thanks. smile

  10. Misha profile image63
    Mishaposted 15 years ago

    Just wanted to make sure we are not calling for genocide here smile

    Other than that it all conforms with Mark's spec of dust... It's sad when people die though... And does not get any more bearable when they die en masse... but Jenny is right - look here http://www.myconfinedspace.com/?attachment_id=30948

  11. profile image0
    RFoxposted 15 years ago

    I completely agree with Jenny. smile

    While we should feel absolute compassion for the people struggling with this disaster and help in anyway that we can, the fact is that death is a part of life. We are born to die.

    Everything is impermanent and it has nothing to do with God. It's the nature of the universe.


  12. topstuff profile image60
    topstuffposted 15 years ago

    That cyclone might be a result of destroying our environment like global warming.

  13. Paraglider profile image88
    Paragliderposted 15 years ago

    I think we often exaggerate our importance to the well being of the planet. When we talk about destroying the environment, we really mean making it less comfortable for ourselves. The planet doesn't care, because it's a lump of stone. Of course, it's also host to a complex ecosystem which we can certainly change, but the ecosystem itself is not alive. The ecosystem is a macro description, by humans, of a highly complex interplay of living organisms. The Gaia concept imbues the system itself (not its separate members) with life and even consciousness. It's another nice 'conceit' but one that doesn't stand critical analysis.

    Our actions can and do change the balance of the ecosystem, but not half as much as a large meteor would, or (more probable) the eruption of Yellowstone Park's super volcano. Now that will change the ecosystem some day and maybe destroy us all. The cockroaches will probably be fine though.

    1. profile image0
      Zarm Nefilinposted 15 years agoin reply to this

      Bah, this post is the exact reason people who talk like you just did and think like you jsut did are not allowed into things like NASA, because you do not take seriously the threats that humans can create, albeit artificially, to this planet.  Yes this planet is big but we already have enough documented arms to wipe everything off the surface of this structure 5 times over.  We can destroy at least the surface of this planet and that is only 1 of several ways way we could do it.  Human responsibility is not upheld by sticking one's head in the stand due to preconceived notions, human responsibility is upheld by facing the issues with courage.

      This planet is to the human race what your house is to you and your family and if we as humans do not take care of the planet then it would be irresponsible like if you were to not take care of your house.

      You can rationalize you can minimize you can misdirect you can say whatever you want to but this is the way things work and their is a lot of science to back up the idea that we are not being very responsible in our concern for this planet at this point in time.

      As far as how you interpret select events like the cyclone I think I already addressed that quite adequately enough.

      One man's critical analysis is another man's stupidity so I probably am just wasting my time even typing this.

      1. Paraglider profile image88
        Paragliderposted 15 years agoin reply to this

        Well, Zarm, I'll ignore the rudeness and answer your point -

        I am very well aware of the damage we are doing to the environment and of the destructive forces we might yet unleash in the future. We can, if we choose, (or, more correctly if we continue not to choose), so affect the environment that large parts, perhaps all, of the planet will be unable to support mammalian life, for an indeterminate period of time.

        There are also natural forces capable of doing the same thing, and more thoroughly.

        My other point, which you might not agree with, is that the planet itself will 'survive', as it has through eons past, until the death of the solar system. In the grand scheme of things, this present ecosystem is transitory. We are its temporary tenants. Some of us are less responsible tenants than others. But none of us has the power to preserve the ecosystem beyond its allotted span.

        Misha - very kind, thank you smile

  14. knolyourself profile image61
    knolyourselfposted 15 years ago

    OK then:
    'The planet doesn't care, because it's a lump of stone. Of course, it's also host to a complex ecosystem which we can certainly change, but the ecosystem itself is not alive.' If that's not the definition of life, can't imagine what is.

    1. Paraglider profile image88
      Paragliderposted 15 years agoin reply to this

      Well, I'm not denying the existence of life. I'm only saying that billions of living organisms on Earth do not mean that Earth itself is alive. 50 ice skaters on a rink don't turn the ice into a sentient being. Gaia is an idea in the mind of humans, not an organism. As is god.

  15. Misha profile image63
    Mishaposted 15 years ago

    LOL Zarm,

    Your attack is misguided. Paraglider is one of the most responsible and environmentally conscious people over here smile

  16. knolyourself profile image61
    knolyourselfposted 15 years ago

    God is an idea in the mind of humans which is symbolic. Gaia is an idea in the mind of humans which exists. The sum of many parts is a car. Where that car is and where it is going is another story.

    1. Paraglider profile image88
      Paragliderposted 15 years agoin reply to this

      I agree with your first point. With your second, Gaia is a convenient collective term for the ecosystem. It's a more mystical way of saying the same thing. Where I think it can be taken one step too far is when we credit Gaia with consciousness. I agree that the environment behaves organically, but not that it has its own global intelligence or consciousness, though its individual animals clearly do.

  17. knolyourself profile image61
    knolyourselfposted 15 years ago

    'but not that it has its own global intelligence or consciousness' A world in which nothing is connected is materialist and happenstance.

    1. Paraglider profile image88
      Paragliderposted 15 years agoin reply to this

      Everything is connected, and in very many ways. Some are 'natural', e.g. gravity, and some are of our making, e.g. the internet. I don't think we are disagreeing, except over a definition of consciousness, and that's been familiar territory for philosophers for a few thousand years.


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