We need to use caution when we are looking for blame or a reason for this massive tragedy in Japan, or in Haiti before that, and before that here in the US with Hurricane Katrina. A word and a concept that is in woefully short supply for us right now is “balance”. We spend so much time talking about left and right but we forget the most important thing for us as humans to do is weigh out everything and keep the perspective in balance. Stick with me here, I have several points to make and I’ll tie it all together.
For Christians, it becomes far too easy to play the “God” card and say He is sending a message, and that He determined time before in eternity that Japan would be ravaged by an earthquake and subsequent tsunami. For those who want to use science alone as the reason, it can be taken too far in the other extreme by placing the event purely in the lap of geology and oceanography with no regard for a belief system or room for God in the equation (even if they are believers themselves).
As a Catholic Christian, I believe God did make this world, this planet and created us to inhabit it. I think it is reckless to believe that He knows every moment of our lives and how it will play out, that it’s our fate or destiny to end up where we are. If that is true, then why did He give us free will? There is no satisfaction in life if we don’t have any control over who we are and what we become. As Christians, we need to balance that journey with devotion and love for God and our fellow man. We also need to be responsible stewards of the gifts He has given us.
Humanity itself is reckless and selfish and we push the limit of our world by living where we shouldn’t, building where we shouldn’t and disregarding common sense. We can look at the coastline in any of our advanced countries and see houses built too close to the water and in fact moving out and creating “land” out in places where no inhabitable space existed before.
Looking at the tragedy in Japan, we have to temper our judgement and our soap box declarations with the knowledge that human lives were lost, entire cities have been erased, untold economic hardship faces the country and its inhabitants. God most certainly has given us free will and a conscience to determine what is good and necessary and what is wrong and harmful. We can see the decisions humans have made to occupy some places was not based on good judgement, but who could foresee a wave that would wash 3 miles inland? With science in our corner we can see the earth is an ever changing shifting place. There are many areas of instability and we KNOW what happens when the earth moves! There is a cause and effect and it is rational in that sense. We need to balance our needs with the ability our Earth has to provide for those needs.
Please, as you watch the events in Japan continue to unfold, use caution as you form your opinions. Remember these are our fellow humans! They deserve our compassion and love as they begin again. Balance, everyone, balance.