Monday, December 11, 2006
Legazpi City, December 8-9
It was not a windy day when this picture was taken. The typhoon Reming's wind was so fierce, the palms of the coco trees were somehow frozen in the general direction of where it was headed when it left the country (due west.)
Hardest hit was the poorest of the poor.
Man-made steel reluctantly bowing down in defeat.
Dear Sage, the pictures of devastation above were taken by a companion who went with me to Bicol last weekend.
The trip... well... it was like living the satire "Candide". In that novel, the protagonist found himself in Lisbon after it was devastated by a powerful earthquake and tsunami. Being surrounded by the stench of death and unspeakable horrors brought about by the forces of nature, he couldn't bring himself to agree with the prevailing belief of the age: That we are living in the best of all possible worlds.
Loosely translated, the belief implies that without the pain of loss, we cannot appreciate what we have. To put it in another way, you can never enjoy the "sweet" without knowing what "bitter" is.
Sounds logical? Try telling that philosophy to an orphaned child whose family and friends are burried underneath tons of volcanic rock and ash together with the rest of his hometown.
We do not need such horror in this world. More importantly, the question the book makes the reader ask is how can we believe in a God who let these horrors happen and still believe that he is Good and Just?
The book did not even attempt to provide an answer to this question. Just like the similar book in the Bible: The Book Of Job. It's a classic case of bad things happening to good people, the book of job ended with God gently reminding Job that the physical universe is full of wonders that we can't even explain. If our minds can barely make sense of the physics of the universe, how can we possibly understand the answer to metaphysical questions? We can't!
Whenever I encounter self righteous and pretentious preachers, who in their hubris try to provide the answer to the question that even the book of Job and Voltaire did not answer, I always quote this verse from the Bible to them
"as the heavens are higher than the Earth, so are My (God's) ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts higher than your thoughts."
I wont try to provide the answer too. I wrote this entry to caution you about asking this question, about questioning God's existence and his Love for you and me.
The difference between science and religion as far as you guys are concerned should be this: You can defy, recheck, review ALL scientific laws-- that's how science moves forward.
But do not question God or faith. Nothing comes out of it except schisms, heresies and self-righteousness.
If there will come a time in your life when you have to question the rationality of human religion (i.e. Catholic Church doctrine) please read this entry. I must confess, I too do not subscribe to all the doctrines of the catholic religion. In fact, I particularly do not like the present pope. I've been following his career for the past ten years and I almost cried when he was elected pope.
Please, whatever happens, never doubt this:
GOD LOVES YOU VERY, VERY MUCH.
Please remember tha NO natural Philosopher or scientist can prove this to you. And they have no right to tell you not to believe it. Not Einstein. Not Voltaire. That's the same reason why No priest, pastor or preacher has any right to talk to you about cosmology, evolutionary biology, geology and everything scientific. The realm of science is separate from the realm of faith. Never mix the two.
We are not living in the best of all possible worlds. The face of human tragedy will always remind us of this fact-- Just like what happened in Bicol. But having faith in the reality of God's love for you will keep you safe and sane. To live a full life, this is a necessity.
Forget about what the philosophers say.