Monday, January 03, 2005

Doubting Archbishop

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.


Caoilfhionn said...

The Secretary of State heads to Asia to make it clear that yes, the United States will take a leading role in helping victims of the tsunami.

SOT: Colin Powell, Secretary of State

"Our ships are on the scene. Supplies have been diverted to the region. So I think we have responded rather aggressively and appropriately and the American people should be pleased and proud of the way we've done it."

The question is - why would anyone think otherwise?

The US Navy helicopters that landing in devastated areas of Indonesia with supplies were immediately mobbed by survivors. These are the first of many relief missions, and they come just as Secretary of State Powell tries to defuse editorial critics who felt the Bush administration was a little too preoccupied with Christmas in Crawford when the tsunami hit.

It's been suggested that the President was slow to wake up to the magnitude of the disaster, that his initial commitment of aid was embarrassingly low, that he almost blew a chance to make it clear how much we really DO care about Muslim nations, and to rehabilitate an image badly damaged by the Iraq war.

But if you look at this logically, why should the world have to wait for a pronouncement from the President of the United States certifying the magnitude of an obviously catastrophic disaster? And regardless of what he says or doesn't say, shouldn't it be OBVIOUS that the American people are going to help? We always have, we always will. And a lot of that help will come from groups having nothing to do with the government - groups whose money comes not from taxes but from collection baskets, coin jars, and childrens' piggy banks.

But you know what? The US government will end up doing more than anyone else too, because we have the planes, we have the ships, we have the helicopters, and we have the troops.

So why the doubts?

I guess it's because when you take on the role of Savior, you kind of raise expectations - the world is going to look to you when it needs a miracle. And if you want to hang on to the title, you'd better produce.

We always do. Look at history.

Darius said...

Your comment is not relevant with this particular topic, Cao, but I know what you are talking about.

You really have the best production Nowadays the main product "made in USA" is hatred, which is a really unique product and you can't find any hatred better than the American one. Your blog is a perfect example.

American miserliness at the beginning of the massive human tragedy was outrageous indeed. However, international criticism made your government change its position and at least pretend that they do care. Nevertheless, America has not done yet what it should have done. America as the biggest exploiter of the world and the biggest consumer of the world resources has to have the lion's share in donations. You are obliged to do that, just because you rob more than anybody else.

Secondly, the tragedy has not affected the Muslim world only. I know that it is far beyond your education schemes to know anything about countries in that region. Did you know that just 2 out of 12 tsunami-stricken countries are Muslim and the rest are either mixed or non-Muslim at all? Of course, you can explain it by your American Islamophobia… Did you also know how many Americans gone missed in the tragedy? I understand you again: according to your perception, you are safe and sound and no worries about other beings.

I know that talking with you is just waste of time, Cao. Your funny blog proves it and your vow to retaliate for your poor neo-fascist conservative friend Cracker with a funnier uncivil blog:

So, my uncivil dudes, go back to your lessons.


Anonymous said...

Lay off "uncivil rights."

Darius said...

Get back to your business, anonymous.
Have you got guts to name your own blog? We could chat over there.

mz_tracy said...

hi, thanks for the comment! I wish you a Happy New Year! haha I like that joke you had about George Bush and the three guys saving him. I know that was an entry a while ago, I really don't know much about Blogger and when I clicked your name it showed me that entry at the top, thus I assume that was your newest entry.

Gindy said...

Interesting site.

Darius said...

Mz_tracy and Gindi,

Thank you very much for your kind comments. Hope to see you again.