By Gary Stern
The demise and devastation wrought via the tsunami in South Asia, storm Katrina within the Gulf states, the earthquake in Pakistan, the mudslides within the Philippines, the tornadoes within the American Midwest, one other earthquake in Indonesia-these are just the latest acts of God to reason humans of religion to question God's position within the actual universe. Volcanic eruptions, wildfires, epidemics, floods, blizzards, droughts, hailstorms, and famines can all increase an identical questions: Can God intrude in normal occasions to avoid dying, damage, ailment, and anguish? if that is so, why does God no longer act? If now not, is God really the All-Loving, omnipotent, and All-Present Being that many faiths proclaim? Grappling with such questions has constantly been an integral part of faith, and diverse faiths have arrived at wildly varied answers.
To discover numerous spiritual motives of the tragedies inflicted by means of nature, writer Gary Stern has interviewed forty three admired spiritual leaders around the spiritual spectrum, between them Rabbi Harold Kushner, writer of while undesirable issues occur to reliable humans ; Father Benedict Groeschel, writer of come up from Darkness ; The Rev. James Rowe Adams, founding father of the guts for revolutionary Christianity; Kenneth R. Samples, vp of cause to think; Dr. James Cone, the mythical African American theologian; Tony Campolo, founding father of the Evangelical organization for the promoting of schooling; Dr. Sayyid Syeed, common secretary of the Islamic Society of North the United States; Imam Yahya Hendi, the 1st Muslim chaplain at Georgetown collage; Dr. Arvind Sharma, one of many world's prime Hindu students; Robert A. F. Thurman, the 1st American to be ordained a Tibetan Buddhist monk; David Silverman, the nationwide spokesman for American Atheists; and others—rabbis, monks, imams, clergymen, storefront ministers, itinerant holy humans, professors, and chaplains—Jews, Roman Catholics, mainline Protestants, evangelical Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, and Atheists-people of trust, and folks of nonbelief, too.
Stern requested every one of them probing questions on what their faith teaches and what their religion professes in regards to the presence of tragedy. a few consider that the forces of nature are easily impersonal, and a few think that God is omniscient yet now not all-powerful. a few declare that nature is finally damaging due to unique Sin, a few assert that the sufferers of average mess ups are sinners who should die, and a few clarify that average failures are the results of person and collective karma. nonetheless others profess that God motives affliction so that it will attempt and purify the sufferers. Stern, an award-winning faith journalist, has wide adventure during this kind of analytical journalism. the result's a piece that probes and demanding situations genuine people's ideals a few topic that, regrettably, touches everyone's life.
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Extra resources for Can God Intervene?: How Religion Explains Natural Disasters
As I started working on this book, before I began speaking with clergy and religious leaders, I felt a need to speak with scientists who spend their lives studying the physical dimensions, the grit and dust, of natural disasters. I had just finished considerable research on the tsunami. A question was eating at me. Could scientists who study such great events that cause vast human suffering do so without wondering about the role of a higher power? I know that it is the scientist’s job to focus on what is measurable and not on such The Day After Christmas 2004 25 existential matters.
A tsunami slows dramatically near shore, all the way down to 20 or 30 miles per hour. But by then it can be too late. Tsunamis are impossible to predict. It is not understood why one earthquake will ignite powerful waves while another will not. In recent years, scientists have started to unearth evidence of tsunamis that took place hundreds of years ago, providing a much longer view of the gaps between tsunami-producing earthquakes in different regions. 6 Only 96 were powerful enough to cause extensive damage to shorelines but even most of these were not mighty enough to capture the world’s attention.
Nothing has prepared us for this merciless divine violence. We have seen that human beings are sinful, but we have also seen that pathos of the human condition. ’’6 Armstrong writes that it is also hard to know what to make of Noah, who is portrayed in Genesis as little more than a dutiful soldier. He does not beg for God’s mercy, as Abraham does when God announces his plans to destroy the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah because of their residents’ sinful ways. Interestingly, in the Quran, Noah not only fails to plead humankind’s case, he begs God to destroy the evildoers.
Can God Intervene?: How Religion Explains Natural Disasters by Gary Stern