Nov 10, 2013

Why Did Typhoon Hayian Kill So Many People? Did They Deserve to Die?

Philosopher of the Enlightenment, I. Kant
After a big natural disaster that hits home, it's hard for most people--especially the ones directly affected--to ask critical questions, but while feeling sympathy for our fellow humans in the Philippines, some questions are indeed in order. It's time, as I. Kant noticed upon the dawn of the Enlightenment, that we shed our immaturity. Faith is wishful thinking, in the faithful's favor; it's believing in something so fantastical without evidence and reason. I wouldn't mind except that this kind of attitude has been an obstacle to progress for humanity.

It's this kind of mentality--or, most appropriately, a virus of the mind--that makes reasonable, educated, and well-adjusted people have a huge blind spot. And, when someone tries to shed some light into this dark spot, there are objections of all sorts.

We're told that God is benevolent, all-knowing, and all-powerful. But, it wouldn't take more than a few pages of reading from "His book" to realize that his ideas are exactly of those primitive folk--uneducated, highly superstitious, homophobic,patriarchal,  genocidal, ethnocentric, fearful, and scientifically illiterate. We're told that God is good & just no matter what he does or allows to happen. We have free choice to be moral or immoral and we don't really know how God assess us at any given moment. 

 Free will?
The free will notion is essential in Xtian doctrine. Even though God knows in advance, somehow it's necessary for people to demonstrate whether they're good or bad. But, why is this necessary? Should babies be charged with the same responsibility?

So, all right then, it was God's will that 15,000 people died in the typhoon Haiyan, undoubtedly many were little children. Their parents, undoubtedly, were religious. If they happened to be non-Xtians, they were already condemned to spend an eternity in hell. How about their children? 

Natural disasters aren't man-made. Diseases aren't either. The creator of the universe has to be credited with all, the good and the bad, including the harmful bacteria, bad diseases like cancer, and the water-borne worm that eats the eyeball from inside out and blinds thousands in Africa. Some of these poor people never been taught about the Bible--the word of the one true God--so they suffer and will go to hell due to no fault of their own.

I hear the objections to this. Oh, God is merciful and loving, and wouldn't condemn anyone simply because they're not Xtian. Really? Think again! It absolutely matters whether you worship another God, have certain types of sex, fast on certain days, and generally sins are very religion-specific! No way around it. Muslims would agree with this concept. Eat pork, charge interest, question the prophet Mohammed and you're condemned for eternity!

Image from the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, US.

Every year, 9 million children under the age of 5 die in the world. That's 27,000 a day, 17 every minute. They die from diseases, accidents, or natural disasters. Yet, God watches unwilling, or unable to intervene. I fail to see the moral lesson here. If anyone among us behaved likewise, we'd think this person would be impotent or evil for not caring enough to save the children.

When children are drowned by the thousands, as in this case, we see people praying to the same God that didn't do anything. Survivors thank the deity for saving them, forgetting the others who, I guess, deserved to die in a horrible, agonizing death! This is the dark blind spot that need to be illuminated. We have to break the chains of the mind and it's about time skeptics, humanists, and rationalists speak up and challenge the prevailing immaturity of the Dark Ages.

This is the kind of mentality that allows religious people to tell us that God punished New Yorkers and New Orelaneans for being atheists, homosexuals, feminists, hedonists, ACLU supporters, and whatever! The same "reverend" crowd that has an opinion on morality matters, and worse, on scientific matters. Have you noticed that one side of the debating points on abortion, stem cell research, evolution, general science, etc, are made by people whose views are ..informed by their religion!

I say, enough of that already.