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Don’t get me wrong…

08 Mar

earthquake

…and I am not really surprised by this. While I share everyone’s concerns over the Yogyakarta plane crash, the story does seem to have masked that other Indonesian event the strong earthquake that shook the Indonesian island of Sumatra. At least 52 have died and 1,000 houses have been destroyed.

You may recall that last year in May an even more severe earthquake hit Yogyakarta itself.

All three events highlight the fact that the world is indeed perilous and life is indeed fragile, without adding in those manmade blights of war and terrorism.

posted by biink

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2 responses to “Don’t get me wrong…

  1. Antony Shen

    March 8, 2007 at 4:13 pm

    When NASA Space Shuttle Columbia explored on its route re-entering Earth, Muslim group made a comment: America’s punishment from God. (as well as to India and Israel, since they are Muslim’s enemies.)

    Indonesia is one of the world’s largest Muslim populated countries. I simply wonder what comments Muslim group would make this time.

     
  2. ninglun

    March 8, 2007 at 9:09 pm

    Antony, this foolish idea that humans can know that a particular event is a “punishment sent by God” is by no means something only Muslims get into. See 9/11 And The Sport of God by respected PBS religion commentator Bill Moyers.

    As the story unfolds women and children are hacked to death on God’s order; unborn infants are ripped from their mother’s wombs; cities are leveled – their women killed if they have had sex, the virgins taken at God’s command for the pleasure of his holy warriors. When his holy warriors spare the lives of 50,000 captives God is furious and sends Moses back to rebuke them and tell them to finish the job. One tribe after another falls to God-ordered genocide: the Hittites, the Girgashites, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Perizzites, the Jebusites – names so ancient they have disappeared into the mists as fathers and mothers and brothers and sisters, grandparents and grandchildren, infants in arms, shepherds, threshers, carpenters, merchants, housewives – living human beings, flesh and blood: “And when the Lord your God gives them over to you, and you defeat them; then you must utterly destroy them; you shall make no covenant with them, and show no mercy to them…(and) your eyes shall not pity them.”

    So it is written – in the Holy Bible.

    Yes, I know: the early church fathers, trying to cover up the blood-soaked trail of God’s sport, decreed that anything that disagrees with Christian dogma about the perfection of God is to be interpreted spiritually…

    But we also know that the “violence-of-God” tradition remains embedded deep in the DNA of monotheistic faith. We also know that fundamentalists the world over and at home consider the “sacred texts” to be literally God’s word on all matters. Inside that logic you cannot read part of the Bible allegorically and the rest of it literally; if you believe in the virgin birth of Jesus, his crucifixion and resurrection, and the depiction of the Great Judgment at the end times you must also believe that God is sadistic, brutal, vengeful, callow, cruel and savage – that God slaughters.

    Millions believe it.

    Let’s go back to 9/11 four years ago. The ruins were still smoldering when the reverends Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell went on television to proclaim that the terrorist attacks were God’s punishment of a corrupted America. They said the government had adopted the agenda “of the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians” not to mention the ACLU and People for the American Way (The God of the Bible apparently holds liberals in the same low esteem as Hittites and Gergushites and Jebusites and all the other pagans of holy writ.) Just as God had sent the Great Flood to wipe out a corrupted world, now – disgusted with a decadent America – “God almighty is lifting his protection from us.” Critics said such comments were deranged. But millions of Christian fundamentalists and conservatives didn’t think so. They thought Robertson and Falwell were being perfectly consistent with the logic of the Bible as they read it: God withdraws favor from sinful nations – the terrorists were meant to be God’s wake-up call: better get right with God. Not many people at the time seemed to notice that Osama bin Laden had also been reading his sacred book closely and literally, and had called on Muslims to resist what he described as a “fierce Judeo-Christian campaign” against Islam, praying to Allah for guidance “to exalt the people who obey Him and humiliate those who disobey Him.”

    Suddenly we were immersed in the pathology of a “holy war” as defined by fundamentalists on both sides…

    The YouTube on the May 2006 earthquake was posted by someone whose home town is Yogyakarta, very likely a Muslim. Clearly not all Muslims think like the people you mentioned, no more than all Christians think (if that is the right word!) like Pat Robertson and his like.

    When it comes to trying to “explain” earthquakes etc, a learned teacher on Islam Online flounders, in my opinion, exactly as more conservative Christians do. But I was struck by the hadith he quotes towards the end. (A hadith is an accepted saying of the Prophet from tradition, not the Quran.)

    “Allah will say on the Day of Judgment, ‘O son of Adam, I was sick and you did not visit Me.’ He will say, ‘O my Lord, how could I visit You, when you are the Lord of the Worlds.’ Allah will say, ‘Did you not know that My servant so-and-so was sick and you did not visit him? Did you not know that if you had visited him, you would have found Me there?’ Allah will say, ‘O son of Adam, I asked you for food and you fed Me not.’ He shall say, ‘O my Lord, how could I feed you and you are the Lord of the Worlds?’ And Allah will say, ‘Did you not know that My servant so-and-so was in need of food and you did not feed him? Did you not know that if you had fed him, you would have found that to have been for Me?’ ‘O son of Adam, I asked you for water and you did not give Me to drink.’ The man shall say, ‘O my Lord, how could I give You water, when You are the Lord of the Worlds?’ Allah will say, ‘My servant so-and-so asked you for water and you did not give him to drink water. Did you not know that if you had given him to drink, you would have found that to have been for Me.’ (Muslim, Hadith no. 4661)

    The scholar goes on to say “Prophet `Isa (Jesus), peace be upon him, is also reported to have said something similar. (See Matthew 25: 35-45)” Well, Jesus sure did:

    Then the king will say to those at his right hand, ‘Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; 35 for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? 38 And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? 39 And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?’ 40 And the king will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.’

    Pretty good teaching, whoever said it.

     
 
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