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Why does God allow natural disasters?

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posted on Jan, 19 2010 @ 05:52 PM
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Here is an article I found on the BBC news site looking at the religious and philosophical question of the relationship between the existence of God and negative things that happen to humans.

Why does God allow natural disasters?

As an atheist, I must say that my answer is clear. Since it is my opinion that there is no God, then the question is moot. Because this question does imply that God exists, here are my questions:

-If God controls who lives and who dies, then wouldn't that make him capable of preventing such massive destruction? Why does he/she choose to let it happen? Or does he/she cause this to happen?

- If God does this to purge the world of evil from time to time, then why do innocent people, such as children die also?



"Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is impotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Whence then is evil?"
(taken from the article)


Peace,

Magnum




posted on Jan, 19 2010 @ 06:04 PM
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Its not that GOD allows it to happen, it just happens naturally. Because if you question the existence of natural disasters, that's like saying well why does GOD allow us to reproduce? Everything is a natural occurrence, it is in our nature to build, and its mother natures ability to destroy.



posted on Jan, 19 2010 @ 06:06 PM
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reply to post by Magnum007
 




Why does god allow natural disasters?


Outstanding question...










posted on Jan, 19 2010 @ 06:06 PM
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Why would God care about one planet in the vastness of the universe?



posted on Jan, 19 2010 @ 06:08 PM
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reply to post by Magnum007
 


God does not allow natural disasters....The sick nut-jobs that rule this planet with their weather weapons do...



posted on Jan, 19 2010 @ 06:10 PM
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Happygolucky and hippomchippo:

This is exactly what I am asking. If there is a God, then why would he :

a) care about our infinitely small place here on earth,
b) not take action to protect his "creation" from evil and suffering?

Makes no sense!

Magnum

[edit on 10/1/19 by Magnum007]



posted on Jan, 19 2010 @ 06:31 PM
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Why is it that man always has to be the one to answer this type of question on "God's" behalf? When is "God" going to step up, present him/her/its self and provide each and every one of us with the answers his/her/its self?

Until that happens, I will continue to struggle with accepting the existence of a god or creator.

The questions posed by the OP are certainly worth asking.
As for all of the people who appoint themselves spokespersons for "God" and provide responses, did this entity personally provide you with the answers? If so, can you show me and others who question the existence of a God/creator proof in some tangible way?



posted on Jan, 19 2010 @ 06:53 PM
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Broken Hearts, Shattered Faith

“THERE were bodies everywhere, and we could not recognize where our house used to be,” said a Sri Lankan man after a tsunami destroyed his village in December 2004. In an article on the disaster, a religion editor said that he sometimes finds himself “praying through clenched teeth.”

Many view natural disasters as divine punishment. One columnist described a devastating hurricane as “the fist of God.” In the United States, some religious leaders described events like Hurricane Katrina as “God’s wrath” on “sin cities.” In Sri Lanka, militant Buddhists blamed Christians for the tsunami, deepening the religious divide. The trustee of a Hindu temple felt that the god Shiva was angry because people were not living the right way. A Buddhist religious leader in the United States said concerning natural disasters: “We don’t know why these things happen. We don’t even know why we’re here.”

When you see images of wrecked homes, lost lives, and broken hearts, do you sometimes wonder, ‘Why does God permit so much suffering?’ Or do you think, ‘God must have good reasons for allowing such things to happen but has not disclosed those reasons’? The following articles examine this issue. They also discuss some practical steps that people can take to reduce the risk of injury and death should a natural disaster threaten or occur.

Is God Responsible?

“GOD is love,” states the Bible. (1 John 4:8) He is also just and merciful. “The Rock, perfect is his activity, for all his ways are justice. A God of faithfulness, with whom there is no injustice; righteous and upright is he.”—Deuteronomy 32:4.

As Creator, Jehovah God has the ability to foresee all potential causes of harm, and he has the power to intercede. In view of these facts and the qualities attributed to God in the Bible, many rightly ask, “Why does God allow natural disasters to occur?”* As millions of sincere inquirers have found, God himself has provided a most reasonable answer in his written Word. (2 Timothy 3:16) Please consider the following.

They Rejected God’s Love

The Bible tells us that God gave our original parents all they needed to enjoy a happy and safe life. Furthermore, as they and their offspring obeyed God’s command to “be fruitful and become many and fill the earth,” the growing human family could count on God’s ongoing care.—Genesis 1:28.

Sadly, though, Adam and Eve deliberately turned their backs on their Creator by willfully disobeying him and choosing a course of independence from him. (Genesis 1:28; 3:1-6) By far the majority of their descendants have followed in their footsteps. (Genesis 6:5, 6, 11, 12) In short, humankind as a whole have chosen to be masters of themselves and of their home, the earth, without any guidance from God. Being a God of love who respects the principle of free will, Jehovah does not force his sovereignty on humans, even though their course may lead to harm.#

Nevertheless, Jehovah did not abandon the human family. To this day “he makes his sun rise upon wicked people and good and makes it rain upon righteous people and unrighteous.” (Matthew 5:45) Additionally, God gave mankind the ability to learn about the earth and its cycles, and to varying degrees this knowledge has enabled humans to predict extreme weather and other potential dangers, such as volcanic eruptions.

Humans have also discovered which parts of the earth are more prone to seismic or atmospheric extremes. In some lands this knowledge has helped to save lives through education as well as the development of better construction methods and warning systems. Still, the number of natural disasters reported annually has been rising steadily. The reasons for this are many and complex.

Living in High-Risk Areas

The severity of a disaster does not always relate to the power of the natural forces involved. The concentration of humans in the affected area is often of greater consequence. According to a report published by the World Bank, in more than 160 countries, over a quarter of the population live in areas of high mortality risk from natural disasters. “As you put more and more people in [harm’s] way, you make a disaster out of something that before was just a natural event,” says scientist Klaus Jacob of Columbia University in the United States.

Other exacerbating factors are rapid, unplanned urbanization, deforestation, and the extensive use of concrete to cover ground that would normally absorb runoff. Particularly the latter two can cause destructive mud slides and excessive flooding.

The human factor can also turn an earthquake into a major disaster, for it is not the shock wave of energy that causes most deaths and injuries but collapsing buildings. For good reason seismologists have the saying: “Earthquakes don’t kill people. Buildings kill people.”

Political incompetence can add to the death toll. In one South American land, earthquakes have demolished the capital city three times in the past 400 years. And since the last quake, which took place in 1967, the population has doubled to five million. “But building codes that could protect the population are either lacking or not enforced,” says New Scientist magazine.

That last statement well applies to the city of New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.A., which was built in a low-lying, flood-prone area. Despite the existence of levees and pumps, the disaster that many had feared finally occurred in 2005 when Hurricane Katrina struck. “Longstanding warnings” were either ignored or “met with a halfhearted response,” said a report in USA Today.

A similar halfhearted response has been manifested toward global warming, which many scientists believe may intensify weather-related disasters and raise sea levels. Clearly, political, social, and economic factors—things that are not of God’s making—must be taken into account. These human factors call to mind the Biblical truth that man is unable “even to direct his step.” (Jeremiah 10:23) Another human element is the attitude of people toward warnings—natural and official.

Learn to Recognize Warning Signs

At the outset it must be acknowledged that natural disasters can strike without warning. “Time and unforeseen occurrence befall [us] all,” says Ecclesiastes 9:11. Often, though, there is some indication—natural or official—that trouble is looming. Hence, when people know the signs, they can improve their prospects of survival.

When a tsunami struck the Indonesian island of Simeulue in 2004, seven people out of a population of many thousands died. Knowing that abnormally receding tides can precede tsunamis, most people fled when the sea retreated. Likewise, people have escaped violent storms and volcanic eruptions by heeding warnings. Because nature’s warnings sometimes precede official warnings, it is wise to be familiar with both, especially if you live in a disaster-prone area.

Sadly, however, there is a “tendency for people to deny danger even when it is obvious,” said a volcanologist. This is particularly true where false alarms are common or where a previous disaster occurred a long time ago. And sometimes people just do not want to abandon their possessions, even when disaster is staring them in the face.

In many regions people are simply too poor to move to a safer area. But instead of reflecting badly on our Creator, the realities of poverty point to human failings. Governments, for example, often pour vast sums of money into armaments but do little to help the needy.

Nevertheless, a measure of help is available to most people, no matter what their situation may be. How is that so? In that God, by means of his written Word, the Holy Bible, has given us many fine principles, which when applied can save lives.

Principles That Save Lives

Do not put God to the test. “You must not put Jehovah your God to the test,” says Deuteronomy 6:16. True Christians do not have a superstitious outlook on life, thinking that God will always protect them from physical harm. Hence, when danger threatens, they heed the inspired advice: “Shrewd is the one that has seen the calamity and proceeds to conceal himself, but the inexperienced have passed along and must suffer the penalty.”—Proverbs 22:3.

Value life more than material possessions. “Even when a person has an abundance his life does not result from the things he possesses.” (Luke 12:15) Yes, material things have their place, but they are of no value to the dead. Therefore, those who love life and who cherish the privilege of serving God do not take needless risks in order to protect property.—Psalm 115:17.

In 2004, Tadashi, who lives in Japan, evacuated his home immediately after an earthquake hit and before official direction was given. His life meant more to him than his home and belongings. Akira, who lives in the same area, wrote that “the real degree of damage depends, not on the material loss, but on one’s viewpoint. I viewed this disaster as a good opportunity to simplify my life.”

Listen to governmental warnings. “Be in subjection to the superior authorities.” (Romans 13:1) When an official order is given to evacuate or to follow some other safety procedure, it is wise to take heed. Tadashi stayed away from the danger zone in obedience to an evacuation order and thus avoided injury or death from aftershocks.

When there are no official warnings of a threatening disaster, people have to decide personally when and how to respond, taking into account all the available facts. In some areas local governments may provide helpful guidelines on disaster survival. If such information is available in your area, are you familiar with it? And have you discussed it with your family?



posted on Jan, 19 2010 @ 06:56 PM
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Show Christian love. “I am giving you a new commandment,” said Jesus, “that you love one another . . . as I have loved you.” (John 13:34) People who show self-sacrificing, Christlike love do all that is humanly possible to help one another prepare for or survive a natural disaster. Among Jehovah’s Witnesses, congregation elders work tirelessly to make contact with all members of the congregation to ensure that they are safe or can get to a safe place. Also, the elders check to be sure that each one has life’s necessities, such as clean drinking water, food, clothing, and essential medication. Meanwhile, Witness families in safe areas open their homes to fellow Witnesses among the evacuees. Such love truly is “a perfect bond of union.”—Colossians 3:14.

Will natural disasters get worse, as some predict? Perhaps, but only for a time. Why? Because mankind’s tragic era of independence from God is about to end. Thereafter, the entire earth and all its inhabitants will be fully under the loving sovereignty of Jehovah, with wonderful results, as we shall now see.

Disasters Are Nearing Their End

EARTHQUAKES, wars, famines, and disease—these are some of the things that Jesus foretold would mark “the conclusion of the system of things” in which we now live. (Matthew 24:3, 7, 8; Luke 21:7, 10, 11) Of course, those events are not acts of God. Neither Jesus nor his Father, Jehovah God, is responsible for them.

But God will be responsible for what the foretold events presage, namely, the coming of God’s Kingdom—a heavenly government in the hands of Jesus Christ—and the destruction of all who reject Jehovah’s sovereignty. (Daniel 2:44; 7:13, 14) Thereafter, earth will be made into a haven of peace, where there will be no fear of natural disasters. In a complete sense, God’s promise will be fulfilled: “My people must dwell in a peaceful abiding place and in residences of full confidence and in undisturbed resting-places.”—Isaiah 32:18.

COMFORT FOR MOURNERS

Have you lost loved ones in death, perhaps because of a natural disaster or some other tragedy? Nearly 2,000 years ago, Jesus’ close friend Lazarus suffered an untimely death. Upon learning about this, Jesus went to Lazarus’ village, Bethany, and raised him from the “sleep” of death.—John 11:1-44.

Jesus performed this miracle not just to show love for Lazarus and his family but also to add weight to Jesus’ promise to resurrect “all those in the memorial tombs” during his Kingdom rule. (John 5:28, 29) Yes, in the coming Paradise, Jesus will undo all the harm that began with the rebellion in Eden.*—1 John 3:8.

* For Scriptural advice on how to cope with the loss of a loved one in death as well as a more detailed discussion of the resurrection promise, please see the brochure When Someone You Love Dies, published by Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Listen to God and Live!

As explained in the preceding article in this series, acting on warnings can be lifesaving. That principle applies even more to divine warnings recorded in the Bible. “As for the one listening to me,” God promises, “he will reside in security and be undisturbed from dread of calamity.”—Proverbs 1:33.

Jehovah’s Witnesses strive to listen to God by reading his inspired Word regularly and applying its teachings. They invite you to do the same. Yes, all who obediently listen to Jehovah have no need to dread the future and the calamity that will befall the wicked. Instead, they can look forward to gaining everlasting life in Paradise on earth, where they will “find their exquisite delight in the abundance of peace.”—Psalm 37:10, 11.


quoted from this article-
www.watchtower.org...

another related article on why god permits suffering
www.watchtower.org...



posted on Jan, 19 2010 @ 07:00 PM
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Originally posted by GoneGrey
As for all of the people who appoint themselves spokespersons for "God" and provide responses, did this entity personally provide you with the answers? If so, can you show me and others who question the existence of a God/creator proof in some tangible way?


what if god wrote it all in a letter and sent it to you? would that be tangible?

some people accept the bible as the word of god. although god might not directly tell people things, searching the bible can provide answers.

if you choose not to see the bible as the word of god, then im afraid that what im saying right now isnt much help



posted on Jan, 19 2010 @ 08:06 PM
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Originally posted by miriam0566
what if god wrote it all in a letter and sent it to you? would that be tangible?

some people accept the bible as the word of god. although god might not directly tell people things, searching the bible can provide answers.

if you choose not to see the bible as the word of god, then im afraid that what im saying right now isnt much help


It would be more tangible than the mere interpretations that man has of a book that has been written and re-written over and over again after many generations of passing the stories down orally... Broken telephone anyone???

Man is to interpret the "word of God", but man is not worthy enough to be compared to God. So how can we, as humans, interpret something that is not to be interpreted?

It makes no sense at all... In essence, if God and Jesus are to save us, or love us, why don't they start by showing us that we will not suffer disastrous events... If this is how earth is then what aren't we being told about "heaven"?

Magnum



posted on Jan, 19 2010 @ 08:30 PM
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Originally posted by Magnum007
Man is to interpret the "word of God", but man is not worthy enough to be compared to God. So how can we, as humans, interpret something that is not to be interpreted?


im sorry but i dont argee.

in my experience, when men "interpret" the bible, its usually because they dont agree with it but still try to fain following it.



posted on Jan, 19 2010 @ 08:43 PM
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reply to post by miriam0566
 


But you need some interpretive reading to understand the meaning of something. If you don't interpret what you are reading then you don't get the point of what is being written... For example:



All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness .

2 Timothy 3:16


You know that God did not literally "breath" the scripture. You know that the scripture was written by people who wrote about their version of what they saw/lived. How do we know this? Because this is how people interpret the bible. This is how people see the bible by reading between the lines. If people had read the bible literally in the past, there would not be 10+ Christian faiths (Catholic, Protestant, Anglican, etc...). There would be one. The very fact that people interpret the bible cause the problems in religion...

Back to the topic on hand, if god is so powerful and so loving, then why does he/she cause disasters to be spelled onto people? Or is he really powerless in stopping or preventing it from happening?

Magnum



posted on Jan, 20 2010 @ 02:25 AM
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Originally posted by Magnum007
Here is an article I found on the BBC news site looking at the religious and philosophical question of the relationship between the existence of God and negative things that happen to humans.


"negative" in this case is a relative term, dependent upon perspective...




-If God controls who lives and who dies, then wouldn't that make him capable of preventing such massive destruction? Why does he/she choose to let it happen? Or does he/she cause this to happen?


because in the "GOD" household, it is Mrs. GOD, a.k.a. Mother Nature, who wears the pants in regard to housekeeping.

these things that we call "natural disasters" are actually necessary functions for the planet and her continued health - and by default, our own.

death on the smaller scale = life on the larger scale


- If God does this to purge the world of evil from time to time, then why do innocent people, such as children die also?


everyone dies

how and why and when ultimately have no true relevance

these events have nothing to do with evil or purging - other than the population, in general - another thing obviously necessary to our Mother's health and our own

the fact that we, as humans, are so resistant to change directly contributes to our perception that the workings of Mother Nature are somehow malevolently directed at humanity.

we build our homes in floodplains
we build our cities at the bases of active volcanoes
we live near the coast
we live right on top of large tectonic fault lines

:shk:

if we could just admit that she is far more powerful than humanity's wishful thinking could ever be, and that what she does is ultimately for our common good rather than destruction, we might not be so resistance to re-location - which would definitely decrease the misery we suffer in the wake of trauma from Earth's vital workings.


"Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is impotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Whence then is evil?"
(taken from the article)


I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.
Isaiah 45:7




posted on Jan, 20 2010 @ 04:45 AM
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Originally posted by Magnum007


All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness .

2 Timothy 3:16


You know that God did not literally "breath" the scripture. You know that the scripture was written by people who wrote about their version of what they saw/lived. How do we know this? Because this is how people interpret the bible.


or you just find a better translation.

some say the scripture is "inspired" of god.

let the bible interpret itself


Back to the topic on hand, if god is so powerful and so loving, then why does he/she cause disasters to be spelled onto people? Or is he really powerless in stopping or preventing it from happening?


i think that the article i posted answers this question



posted on Jan, 20 2010 @ 06:49 AM
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Well apparently Patterson told the world that Haiti got rocked because they sold their souls to the devil in order to get out of French control...he actually says "true story"

and of course he has proof of all this

-Kyo



posted on Jan, 20 2010 @ 07:49 AM
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reply to post by miriam0566
 


There seems to be as many 'holy books' as there are religions. Which of these do you purport to hold all of the answers and represent the word of God? How do you know this for certain? Why are the others not the the word of God?

If "God" is omnipotent, why is this entity unable to present itself to all men in a manner that would convince all of us beyond doubt of its existence? Why would this "God" create an existence where man is continually spiritually divided (and violently so, in many cases). If this is explainable, would you consider this "God" to be a benevolent one then?



posted on Jan, 20 2010 @ 07:55 AM
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reply to post by GoneGrey
 


I must say that you were reading my mind on this one! Thank you!!!

Magnum



posted on Jan, 20 2010 @ 09:48 AM
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From Chef the Philosopher ...



Chef: Stan, sometimes God takes those closest to us, because it makes him feel better about himself. He is a very vengeful God, Stan. He's all pissed off about something we did thousands of years ago. He just can't get over it, so he doesn't care who he takes. Children, puppies, it don't matter to him, so long as it makes us sad. Do you understand.
Stan: But then, why does God give us anything to start with?
Chef: Well, look at it this way: if you want to make a baby cry, first you give it a lollipop. Then you take it away. If you never give it a lollipop to begin with, then it would have nothin' to cry about. That's like God, who gives us life and love and help just so that he can tear it all away and make us cry, so he can drink the sweet milk of our tears. You see, it's our tears, Stan, that give God his great power.
-513



posted on Jan, 20 2010 @ 10:54 AM
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Its not that GOD allows it to happen, it just happens naturally. Because if you question the existence of natural disasters, that's like saying well why does GOD allow us to reproduce? Everything is a natural occurrence, it is in our nature to build, and its mother natures ability to destroy.


Saying this is like elevating "Mother Nature" to Goddess stature....and we're back in a Pantheon. If one is to accept an omniscient, everpresent God, then yes, one has to question, "why"....

The best (Christian) argument I can think of is that God created, but then simply took a hands off approach when Man first started making his/her own choices (i.e. the Apple)... (overreact much?)...

As for why the children, in the Bible, God seems to have always had it out for the little ones (i.e. remember that bit about smearing some goat's blood on the door?)... Why? Because it's scary, and fear works...

The BEST thing I can think of is actually from one of the "Oh God" movies, where George Burns (as God) says that bad things happen because he never learned how to make something with just one side....can't have good without bad, light without dark, etc. Those movies (regardless of your faith), have some excellent ideas about religion...



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