Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Religious Responses to the Tsunami

  • "When scientists wonder whether global warming was responsible for the devastation in Japan, something is wrong," says Zac Alstin, arguing that "they are operating from a set of principles that can be classified as religious – and not in a good way" — Was the tsunami the revenge of Gaia?

  • "Because the Japanese people shun God in terms of their faith and follow idol worship, atheism, and materialism, it makes me wonder if this was not God’s warning to them," says South Korea's Rev. David Yonggi Cho — Megachurch pastor calls quake ‘God’s warning’ to Japan. Gyeonggi Province Governor Kim Moon-soo said, "I thank God and our ancestors for keeping the Korean Peninsula so safe."

  • "As a Christian community, we are ready with prayer and solidarity," says Bishop Marcellino Taiji Tani of Saitama of this "sad event [that] reminds us that life is in the hands of God and that life is a gift from God" — Japanese Prelate: Our Lives Are in God's Hands.

  • "I would like to renew my spiritual nearness to the dear people of that country, who are dealing with the effects of these calamities with dignity and courage" — Pontiff "Deeply Shaken" by Japan Quake. "I encourage those who with praiseworthy readiness are preparing to bring help. We remain united in prayer. The Lord is near!"

  • UPDATE: Lest we be tempted to condemn the above-mentioned Pastor Cho, "a follower of Buddhism and Shinto" has weighed in — Tokyo mayor: Tsunami was “divine punishment”. "The identity of the Japanese people is selfishness. The Japanese people must take advantage of this tsunami as means of washing away their selfish greed. I really do think this is divine punishment."
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    Blogger Scott said...

    Oh yes, clearly this is divine punishment. The Japanese for not being religious. The Haitians last year for being Catholic. The Indonesians a few years back for being Muslim. The people of New Orleans for being poor.

    12:07 AM  
    Blogger laBiscuitnapper said...

    Thank you for posting the last link. I have to admit, my initial reaction to Pastor Cho was 'oh dear another one at it' which wasn't charitable at all.

    When I think about it, those words from the mayor of Tokyo are not so surprising. I've always found the Japanese - for such a 'secular' people - to have a strong appreciation for spiritual failings.

    3:04 AM  
    Blogger The Western Confucian said...

    Initially, this post aimed to contrast the pseudoscientific Gaian and judgmental Evangelical responses with the charitable Catholic ones, but that last Buddhist/Shinto quote threw things off a bit, but in a good way, I think.

    Westerners forget that ideas like retribution and punishment are not exclusive to Abrahamic religions, but also exist in Eastern religions like Buddhism and pagan ones like Shinto.

    As none other than Thomas Merton pointed out, while the Indic religions have Karma, Christianity has Grace, which can overcome Karma.

    6:49 AM  

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