Is God Just ?
By Maxwell Pereira
maxpk@vsnl.com

In the aftermath of the Tsunami, I watched a priest on television wring his hands in despair to cry out in anguish, “How do I explain that the all knowing, merciful and compassionate Lord, has done this!” This unexplainable and troubling worm has knawed at the brains of the world ever since. An intense debate has raged across all lands and waters, with one question: “Is God Just?”

Much before the year-end of 2004, I learn, The Lord came to Noah as He did all those millennia ago in the Biblical era. The Tsunami around the Indian Ocean had not struck then, and the ones in the difficult-to-assess-or-estimate figure of near 200,000 dead from around the world had not been victims yet.

One is not sure how much time The Lord gave the Biblical Noah to build his Ark before He sent down His rain for forty nights and forty days. But one thing was clear, He was not happy with the ways of His world, and He chose water then to snuff out life from those whom He did not want the earth to be infested with.

Noah, by the way, was now not in the lands only of the Biblical times or tales, but living in many lands – in fact there being many of them at different places, living in modern lands different from the styles of Biblical times. And to each of them as The Lord appeared in His own way, He said, "Once again, the earth has become wicked and over-populated and I see the end of all flesh before me. Build another Ark and save two of every living thing along with a few good humans."

He gave Noah the blueprints, saying, "You have six months before I will start the unending rain for 40 days and 40 nights". But six months later, the Lord looked down and saw Noah weeping in his yard... but no Ark. "Noah", He roared, "I'm about to start the rain! Where is the Ark?"

"Forgive me, Lord," begged Noah. "But things have changed. I needed a building permit. I've been arguing with the inspectors about the need for a sprinkler system. My neighbours claim I've violated the zoning laws by building the Ark in my yard and exceeding the height limitations.

Then the Transport and Highways departments demanded a bond for the future costs of moving power, trolley and other overhead obstructions, to clear the passage for the Ark's move to the sea. I argued that the sea would be coming to us, but they would hear nothing of it.

Getting the wood was another problem. There's a ban on cutting trees, to save environment, certain birds, fungus and insect species. I tried to convince the environmentalists that I needed the wood to save all of these same creatures, but no go!

When I started gathering the animals, an animal rights group sued me – the types with or without the name ‘Gandhi’ who preached non-violence some years ago. They insisted I was confining wild animals against their will. As well, they argued the accommodation was too restrictive and it was cruel and inhumane to put so many animals in a confined space.

Then the Environmental community pressured the courts that ruled I couldn't build the Ark until they'd conducted an environmental impact study on your proposed flood. I'm still trying to resolve a complaint with the Human Rights Commission on how many minorities I'm supposed to hire for my building crew. Also, the trade unions say I can't use my sons. They insist I have to hire only Union workers with Ark building experience.

To make matters worse, the Customs and the revenue authorities seized all my assets, claiming I'm trying to leave the country illegally with endangered species. So, forgive me, Lord, but it would take at least ten years for me to finish this Ark."

Lo and behold, the report goes that suddenly the skies cleared, the sun began to shine, and a rainbow stretched across the sky. And Noah looked up in wonder to ask, "You mean you're not going to destroy the world?". "No", said the Lord. "The Governments all over surely will beat me to it".

And now, between the Governments and The Lord, one is not sure who has beaten whom. And why! Nature’s fury they say is God’s handiwork. But a Tsunami? …..in which "Nature red in tooth and claw" rears up on its massive hindquarters, and hurls a 30-foot wall of water against the lowlands of eleven of the poorest and most populous nations on earth, including some beachy playgrounds of the rich of Europe and America, and crushes, chokes, and twists away lives? ….irrespective of whether they are of good will or bad, believers or not? How does one explain the ease with which Nature threw this huge chunk of living, unsuspecting, terrified human victims in Asia to their anonymous deaths?

Faced with a horrendous natural disaster, rationalists blame God. The God of Maya and many other religions of nature has always been known to be cruel, as Nature itself is cruel, and heedless of human emotion, aspiration, and hope. In this case though, the God of the so called learned world is also under attack – for He is the one with the vivid image of divine concern for the poor, the lowly, and the needy, and of divine gentleness, friendship and love.

Even so! Faith, they also say, is blind. The recent sporadic surveys conducted around the world report that over 80% of humans still believe in God!

900 words: 31.01.2005: Copy Right © Maxwell Pereira: 3725 Sec-23, Gurgaon-122002. You can interact with the author at http:// www.maxwellperira.com and maxpk@vsnl.com

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