Can God Intervene?: How Religion Explains Natural Disasters by Gary Stern

By Gary Stern

The demise and devastation wrought by way of the tsunami in South Asia, typhoon 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 newest acts of God to reason humans of religion to query God's position within the actual universe. Volcanic eruptions, wildfires, epidemics, floods, blizzards, droughts, hailstorms, and famines can all bring up a similar questions: Can God interfere in common occasions to avoid dying, damage, ailment, and ache? if that is so, why does God no longer act? If no longer, is God actually the All-Loving, omnipotent, and All-Present Being that many faiths proclaim? Grappling with such questions has consistently been an integral part of faith, and varied faiths have arrived at wildly diverse answers.

To discover numerous non secular reasons of the tragedies inflicted through nature, writer Gary Stern has interviewed forty three famous non secular leaders around the spiritual spectrum, between them Rabbi Harold Kushner, writer of whilst undesirable issues ensue to strong humans ; Father Benedict Groeschel, writer of come up from Darkness ; The Rev. James Rowe Adams, founding father of the heart for innovative 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 advertising of schooling; Dr. Sayyid Syeed, normal secretary of the Islamic Society of North the USA; Imam Yahya Hendi, the 1st Muslim chaplain at Georgetown college; Dr. Arvind Sharma, one of many world's top 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 about what their faith teaches and what their religion professes concerning the presence of tragedy. a few suppose 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 eventually damaging due to unique Sin, a few assert that the sufferers of typical failures are sinners who need to die, and a few clarify that common failures are the results of person and collective karma. nonetheless others profess that God reasons anguish so that it will try and purify the sufferers. Stern, an award-winning faith journalist, has vast event during this kind of analytical journalism. the result's a piece that probes and demanding situations genuine people's ideals a couple of topic that, regrettably, touches everyone's life.

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Many flood myths have tried to spin the moral of the stories away from divine punishment and toward a future filled with hope, just as our popular culture does with Noah and the ark today. David Leeming, a scholar of myth, writes that many flood stories are connected to stories about the creation of the world (like in Genesis). After humankind falls short of God’s plan, a cleansing flood gives both God and humankind a second chance—and reminds future generations that rebirth as well as punishment remains forever possible.

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.

After humankind falls short of God’s plan, a cleansing flood gives both God and humankind a second chance—and reminds future generations that rebirth as well as punishment remains forever possible. The flood hero represents the positive seed of the original creation, which we hope lies in all of us. Whether he is called Ziusudra (Sumerian), Utnapishtim (Babylonian), Noah (Hebrew), Manu (Indian), or Deucalion (Greek), he is the representative of the craving for life that makes it possible for us to face the worst adversities.

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