March 19, 2006

God Of Small Things

'No one can deny the fact of Evil,' said the philosopher, sententiously. 'Now, if God cannot prevent Evil he is not all-powerful, and if he can prevent it and will not, he is not all-good.'
-W. Somerset Maugham, The Judgement Seat
Right in the heart of Makati's Ayala avenue, an accountant crossed the road and met his maker. His brains splattered like pink tofu on the asphalt road while his cranium became flat from impact. A bus near him did the job. Near the corpse were people gawking at the spectacle thinking that they could be in his place right now.

Some may ask "where is God in all this?"

I believe God is still there. He may not like what happened or how it happened but he knew that this had to happen. If he indeed had intervened, then, where is free will? We may as well become chess pieces being moved around the chessboard by a divine hand. It's the same free will God gave to Adam & Eve when they disobeyed and took a bite from the forbidden fruit. Same applies here. Because of man's free will that he chooses evil, he then must suffer its consequences. From his choices will spring forth sin- in this case, murder. The bus driver may have chosen to drive recklessly (for whatever reason I don't know) and because of that, he hit the guy. Or the guy may have chosen to make the run for it and because of that, he became a roadkilled flat "cat". This might explain why we have wars, genocide, rape, theft, and all the horrible things. It's because of man's doing that everything goes wrong. His choice to sin causes undue loss and suffering amongst its victims. That's what sucks the most. And that's why Christ encourages us to forgive and to repent.

Poverty, as an example, is suffering... and this is caused by the sins of those who have more. The unequal distribution of wealth and lack of welfare (government), greed and apathy (society), and sloth (self) are reasons why poverty continues to exist. People who, out of free will, chose not to give (sin of omission) a part of their wealth, talent or time to those who have less remains the main cause of poverty.

So, I blame the Holy Mother Church for being such a lameduck institution. If they force people to give more (not because of charity but because of necessity) and remind them that it is their duty to help carry the cross of their brethren, then poverty may be wiped out. But what the Church emphasizes more is for the poor to bear their sufferings like martyrs all for the promise of a Lazarus-like redemption. It's like saying that there's no hope for the poor to find heaven here on earth, and that they may as well prepare for the heaven that is to come. For me, that's a load of bull. Fortunately, there are lots of religious and lay workers who try to combat this suffering through livelihood projects and education. A couple of them are the Virlanie Foundation (by Dominique Lemay) , ERDA by (Fr. Pierre Tritz.) Another is the Gawad Kalinga by Couples for Christ, and the Bacolod Boys Home (by Bro. Gratian Murray.) Charity is always good, but education is best.

As for natural disasters to befall on man, he is just at the wrong place at the wrong time. Take for example Mt. St. Helens: people knew it was going to erupt sooner or later but they still chose to ignore the warning and continued to live there. When indeed the volcano erupted, they were all killed. Now, whose fault was that? God's? I don't think so! As for Guinsaugon, people returned to an already dangerous village.

What about miracles? It really depends on what angle you're looking at. A skeptic won't believe it but the faithful won't deny it. If it is indeed a miracle and say, God answered your prayers, then can you say that God indeed intervened? For me, He may have indeed intervened because He knows this will help you go closer to Him. His intervention may be interpreted as his love but it's more because of his generosity. Remember the parable of the workers of the vineyard where Christ gave the same wage to the workers who He hired at different times? It shows how generous He is. But if He didn't answer your prayers, that only means his answer is "No." (That's why people would say, 'it's not meant for me.') My religion teacher once said that God answers prayers in three ways: He either answers right away, or makes you wait for some time, or He gives you a better one. I'm sure God's answer to the man whose brains were splattered in the road is still a mystery to me. I can't honestly say that He gave a better answer either. Well, God moves in mysterious ways.

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