Is it only disasters which make people think of the principles of Being, God, Punishment and Reward and metaphysical notions? The massive Asian calamity has triggered off chains of relevant debates in different blogs and circles.
But Rowan Williams’s view on the matter is distinguished among all of them given his high religious status as Archbishop of Canterbury and the main figure in the Anglican hierarchy. His opinion has been printed and circulating under a shocking title: “Of course this makes us doubt God's existence”. It would have never been considered extra-ordinary would it been said by Bush or me. But Archbishop’s doubt makes us think more thoroughly over the metaphysical divine issue.
The question could have never been put more straight-forwardly and correct.
“Faced with the paralysing magnitude of a disaster like this, we naturally feel more deeply outraged – and also more deeply helpless. We can't see how this is going to be dealt with, we can't see how to make it better. We know, with a rather sick feeling, that we shall have to go on facing it and we can't make it go away or make ourselves feel good.
“The question: "How can you believe in a God who permits suffering on this scale?" is therefore very much around at the moment, and it would be surprising if it weren't – indeed, it would be wrong if it weren't. The traditional answers will get us only so far. God, we are told, is not a puppet-master in regard either to human actions or to the processes of the world. If we are to exist in an environment where we can live lives of productive work and consistent understanding – human lives as we know them – the world has to have a regular order and pattern of its own. Effects follow causes in a way that we can chart, and so can make some attempt at coping with. So there is something odd about expecting that God will constantly step in if things are getting dangerous. How dangerous do they have to be? How many deaths would be acceptable?”
These questions do not shatter my belief in principles of Being though. I do not depict God as a huge human-shaped ogre whose only business is how to punish or reward his creatures. I believe in Asha (Arta, ereta) – the system of Rightness created by God; a system corresponding to norm in everything in Universe. Breaching the norm in anything with no exception causes problems and disasters. Sometimes it may never depend on human beings.
But Dr. Williams deserves to be praised for his open-mindedness, his redemption from any sort of dogmas and made his country proud for enduring such an open pluralism in its church.
While the debates are going on the tsunami toll has risen to at least 144 000 people. Most of the dead bodies belong to Indonesia (94 081).
I doubt that imperialists like Bush and Blair have learnt a lesson out of the disaster. They are still failing to watch with their own eyes (if they are not shut) that they may never become almighty and replace God; that the world can be destroyed even without their evil efforts. They have got much more powerfull rivals like tsunamis, quakes, gales, fires etc.