Friday, December 31, 2004

Tsunami's God's punishment -- No way

I read this story in the local paper: “Some say tsunami is reprisal for sins.”
Then I read Chicago Tribune columnist Steven Chapman’s take: “Moments like this mock that humans should live in harmony with nature. When did nature ever live in harmony with us.”
I would offer a different take. If humans were living in harmony with nature then nature would be kind to us. We continue to upend our environment. To even care about the environment is to be labeled a “hippie” or a “lefty.”
Expanding on my thoughts from yesterday, I’m throwing out a pseudo scientific explanation, using the ecosystem as a model – everything is interdependent on everything else and when that is off balance, there are consequences.
I don’t think God punished all those people. Many were children and children are too young to be evil. If God or the creator were to punish, then surely God would take aim at murders and such. Punishing is something that humans do, not what God does, at least in my book.
I don’t have any explanation for what happened.
But I look at it as an opportunity to more fully participate in the world, whether it be learning more geography, or reading a book about another culture or learning another language, even traveling to another country, if that’s financially possible. I think Americans, especially, have a tendency to think this is the best country in the world; why go anywhere else or learn about another culture? That thought is reflected in our educational system, where social studies is a missed opportunity to learn about other cultures, and foreign languages aren’t even offered until high school. I think the single thing that America could do to understand its new place in the world would be to revamp social studies. I know it sounds simplistic but essentially, we're taught we're the best.
I look at it as an opportunity to become a better empathizer. What would I do in that situation? Would I save my own life or save others without regard for mine? Would I be brave or fearful? How can I better serve the world?