Sunday, October 04, 2009

Is There any Relationship Between God's Wrath and Natural Disaster?

Natural disasters are without a doubt a powerful force in this world. They destroy many lives and cause great losses not only to a particular area but also a nation as a whole. However, the fact that most people do not learn from the various occurrence of these disasters truly enrages me. Well, saying that people haven't learned anything might be exaggerating, they did learned something, but not in the right thing as we shall see further below.

In Indonesia, whenever a disaster occurs, what would be the first thing to expect by us to see? Yes, statements that the disaster came because of God's wrath. The fact that some of the biggest disasters occurred in areas inhabited mostly by moslems also supports the claim that the disasters are actually a form of punishment from God because Indonesian moslems have not lived in accordance with God's laws or the Shari'a (maybe these people forget that moslems are indeed the majority of Indonesian citizens and therefore they are also the majority in the most parts of Indonesian territories).

With respect to the recent West Sumatra's earthquake, some people even connect the occurrence time of such earthquake (and the subsequent earthquakes) with some verses in the Koran which coincidentally talk about God's punishment for the sin of men. To what extent can people make this kind of scary correlation? This is not funny anymore, this is dangerous.

I have three simple arguments why there shouldn't be any relationship between the wrath of God and natural disasters:
  • If the disasters came because of men's sins, then using such logic, non moslem countries such as the United States of America and Israel must have been wiped off from the map a long, long time ago as most of them are unbelievers and their policies have hurted many moslems. But, apparently, they are not and in fact they are two of the most powerful countries in the Earth.
  • If the disasters came as a warning for Indonesian's moslem wrongdoings, then we are in a danger of having a very cruel and childish god (note that I'm not using the capital "G") who love to crush its beings for simple reasons. I simply don't buy this crazy idea.
  • No one could ever know what is in God's mind, so why even bother to make any relationship between God's wrath and natural disaster? Aren't we having a bad prejudice to our God?
Further, have you ever imagined that this fatalistic kind of thought is not efficient at all? By thinking that natural disaster is a part of God's punishment, people will believe that disasters cannot be avoided by any means whatsoever, it will then create pessimistic people who would surrender themselves to the oblivion without doing anything much. There would be no incentives to make better technologies to prevent disasters, minimize the damages, and save lives if people are thinking that they are facing with God's wrath and its inevitable destruction. For these pessimistic guys, all efforts would be useless.

My God, is this the path that we will take? Will we let some irresponsible people use religion to scare the society? Religion should provide comfort to the people, to help them believe on the future, not to let them down and feel sorry about themselves.

I guess this is the right time for us to really consider the fact that we live in a country which has a huge risk for earthquakes. Natural scientists have warned us and it is quite easy to find the data on this matter. Why don't we learn? I see history is repeating itself. We experience disasters, then we try to help the victims and discuss the ways to prevent these disasters to happen or at least minimize the damages, but after some times, we eventually forget them and you know what, before we can make a decent preparation, disasters have knocked ours door again. Absurd, simply absurd.

If I'm the Government, apart from conducting any necessary real actions to help the victims, I would quickly release a statement saying that there is no relationship between natural disaster and God's wrath. I will not go to the mosque to pray and ask God why these disasters occur in my term and not others. What I will say are: the victims shall be taken care of, preventing actions shall be considered and conducted, and the reconstruction shall be done by paying attention to the potential risks of disasters in Indonesia. We need to ensure that the victims are still sane and that they can move on with their lives! My deepest sympathy to the victims and I hope that they can move on with their life. Disasters might crush our assets and some of our beloved ones. But as long we still alive, we will show that humans' determination will crush any limitation.

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