Why does God allow natural disasters?

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Re: Why does God allow natural disasters?

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Jan 21, 2010 9:56 pm

Annabel wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
Annabel wrote:
One has to do a religion justice, I feel, by showing both sides.


Sure, but does that really address why there is suffering in the creation work of the god in question, which is the point of the OP?


Hi, Tilt,

I addressed it in my first post:

that it is a misunderstanding of the Abrahamic doctrines to assume that earth is a place like paradise, where nothing evil will happen:

No catastrophes, no suffering, no death.
The point is, it is the way god created it. It was its choice to create the way it did.

This misunderstanding causes yet others to arise:

That God failed us through cruelty, absence or weakness.

Earth, according to the Abrahamic dogma is the place for the expelled, to suffer.
It is so by the creative act of the god they claim to have created it.

If that is clear, questions like the topic question will not arise.
But these questions do arise within the very religions who hold to such a creator god, with all sorts of attempts to explain away the problem of suffering and the creator god's responsibility.

As Bikkhu Pesala's article shows, the wise King realized this:

Beloved-of-the-Gods, King Piyadasi, does not value gifts and honors as much as he values this -- that there should be growth in the essentials of all religions.[23] Growth in essentials can be done in different ways, but all of them have as their root restraint in speech, that is, not praising one's own religion, or condemning the religion of others without good cause. And if there is cause for criticism, it should be done in a mild way. But it is better to honor other religions for this reason. By so doing, one's own religion benefits, and so do other religions, while doing otherwise harms one's own religion and the religions of others.
That does not mean one cannot or should not respond to certain claims made by other religions. The Buddha certainly did respond so.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Why does God allow natural disasters?

Postby Sanghamitta » Fri Jan 22, 2010 11:03 am

I am also interested in why these threads re Christianity occur on a Buddhist message board, but from a possibly different angle. Do we suppose that on the average Catholic or Orthodox message boards heated discussions go on regarding Buddhadhamma ? I rather doubt it. Why ? Because they have nothing to prove vis a vis Buddhism. If they think about Buddhism at all for the vast majority it at best an irrelevance, and at worst the work of the devil notwithstanding the tiny minority who have an interest in Dhamma, and which could result in their expulsion from their church like the Dominican monk Matthew Fox. So why do Buddhists get heated about Christianity ? I suspect that ( as has been pointed out ) it represents an unprocessed. unresolved concern. A subject that returns and nags because it hasnt been let go of. I suspect that some Buddhists want their cake and want to eat it too. They cant quite bring themselves to actually , with cool eyes, allow themselves to internalise what the Buddha said about the God concept. He was not complimentary.
I think that the sign of a maturing Dhamma in the west ( not note a western Dhamma ) will be an absence of a need to discus Christianity at all except in the broadest cultural terms. No anger, no rejection, no last lingering farewells. Just a positive embrace of the Dhamma, and a friendly face to all.
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Re: Why does God allow natural disasters?

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Jan 22, 2010 11:37 am

Sanghamitta wrote: They cant quite bring themselves to actually , with cool eyes, allow themselves to internalise what the Buddha said about the God concept. He was not complimentary.
A lot of ex-Christians, including those who are "self-professed Buddhists," have a great deal of anger and other uncomfortable negative feelings concerning their Xtian background. There is a lot of ingrained stuff that is often in the background, and one's "relationship" with "god" is rarely intellectual, but rather emotional. It is a huge move going from Xtianity to Buddhism, particularly Theravada.
I think that the sign of a maturing Dhamma in the west ( not note a western Dhamma ) will be an absence of a need to discus Christianity at all except in the broadest cultural terms. No anger, no rejection, no last lingering farewells. Just a positive embrace of the Dhamma, and a friendly face to all.

Ideally, you are correct. It is, however, far easier said than done, given that so many do come out of theistic backgrounds which often foster, as away of control, guilt and fear. The question of god will continue to be an important issue to deal with for many.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Why does God allow natural disasters?

Postby Sanghamitta » Fri Jan 22, 2010 11:55 am

It will be an important issue to deal with Tilt, and for a generation or two I suspect. As I see it though it is no more and no less than that, an issue to deal with . I think what we are currently seeing is the pushyou pullme of attraction and aversion concerning the whole matter. Its like a collective neurosis for some students of the Dhamma , stuck between two world views that cant be both right, no matter what intellectual juggling is performed, but not quite able to let go. So we get the Jesus was a Bodhisattva threads and the Sermon On The Mount proves that Jesus went to Kashmir threads.. Or conversly the Anger and Rejection of all things Christian threads, both imo are symptomatic of growing pains, and umbilicus cutting. The fact is Christianity is neither friend or foe although individual Christians might be friends, from a Buddhadhamma perspective Christianity is actually irrelevant. Just as the Buddha described God belief in his day. The late Christmas Humphries was quite interesting on this topic, he said that for western Buddhists to ignore their Christian heritage was to set up a dynamic that would return to bite them, he said that western Buddhists need to work through their feelings about Christianity and then walk on. I assume the same would be true about Judaism too.
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Re: Why does God allow natural disasters?

Postby Annapurna » Fri Jan 22, 2010 12:39 pm

Annabel wrote:
If the shoe doesn't fit, a "No" is sufficient.


Tiltbillings wrote: Obviously, no.


If people react, they feel addressed.
Last edited by Annapurna on Fri Jan 22, 2010 12:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Why does God allow natural disasters?

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Jan 22, 2010 12:56 pm

Annabel wrote:
Annabel wrote:
If the shoe doesn't fit, a "No" is sufficient.


Tiltbillings wrote: Obviously, no.


If people react, they feel addressed.
?
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Why does God allow natural disasters?

Postby Annapurna » Fri Jan 22, 2010 1:00 pm

A lot of ex-Christians, including those who are "self-professed Buddhists," have a great deal of anger and other uncomfortable negative feelings concerning their Xtian background. There is a lot of ingrained stuff that is often in the background, and one's "relationship" with "god" is rarely intellectual, but rather emotional. It is a huge move going from Xtianity to Buddhism, particularly Theravada.


Yes, that is an explanation. The solution:


'He insulted me, hit me, beat me, robbed me' —
for those who don't brood on this,
hostility is stilled.
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Re: Why does God allow natural disasters?

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Jan 22, 2010 1:07 pm

Sanghamitta wrote: The fact is Christianity is neither friend or foe although individual Christians might be friends, from a Buddhadhamma perspective Christianity is actually irrelevant.
Yes and no or it depends. There are very aggressive evangelical type doing their business in Buddhist countries. This has been a serious issue in Sri Lanka. Apologetics has it place. Much of the evangelical movement in the USA would view Buddhism as the work of the devil. More liberal denominations take a more benign stance, and then there are individual stances that run the full spectrum

The late Christmas Humphries was quite interesting on this topic, he said that for western Buddhists to ignore their Christian heritage was to set up a dynamic that would return to bite them, he said that western Buddhists need to work through their feelings about Christianity and then walk on. I assume the same would be true about Judaism too.
TCH, for all his Theosophical oddities, was not without insight.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Why does God allow natural disasters?

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Jan 22, 2010 1:10 pm

Annabel wrote:
A lot of ex-Christians, including those who are "self-professed Buddhists," have a great deal of anger and other uncomfortable negative feelings concerning their Xtian background. There is a lot of ingrained stuff that is often in the background, and one's "relationship" with "god" is rarely intellectual, but rather emotional. It is a huge move going from Xtianity to Buddhism, particularly Theravada.


Yes, that is an explanation. The solution:


'He insulted me, hit me, beat me, robbed me' —
for those who don't brood on this,
hostility is stilled.
Easier said than done, given the emotional grips such things as one early religious training can engender. It helps, for some, to take a careful look at the issues.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Why does God allow natural disasters?

Postby Annapurna » Fri Jan 22, 2010 1:14 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
Annabel wrote:
Annabel wrote:
If the shoe doesn't fit, a "No" is sufficient.


Tiltbillings wrote: Obviously, no.


If people react, they feel addressed.
?


Tilt,

if you step on a dog's tail, he will squeal.

If you don't, he won't.

Likewise, if you hit bulleye in a discussion, some people will react, those, who feel you got their number, and will start to attack or explain it away.

Those who don't feel you meant them, will not react. :anjali:

Generally speaking....
Last edited by Annapurna on Fri Jan 22, 2010 1:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Why does God allow natural disasters?

Postby Sanghamitta » Fri Jan 22, 2010 1:15 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
Sanghamitta wrote: The fact is Christianity is neither friend or foe although individual Christians might be friends, from a Buddhadhamma perspective Christianity is actually irrelevant.
Yes and no or it depends. There are very aggressive evangelical type doing their business in Buddhist countries. This has been a serious issue in Sri Lanka. Apologetics has it place. Much of the evangelical movement in the USA would view Buddhism as the work of the devil. More liberal denominations take a more benign stance, and then there are individual stances that run the full spectrum

The late Christmas Humphries was quite interesting on this topic, he said that for western Buddhists to ignore their Christian heritage was to set up a dynamic that would return to bite them, he said that western Buddhists need to work through their feelings about Christianity and then walk on. I assume the same would be true about Judaism too.
TCH, for all his Theosophical oddities, was not without insight.


True...He had his moments. :)
The going for refuge is the door of entrance to the teachings of the Buddha.

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Re: Why does God allow natural disasters?

Postby Annapurna » Fri Jan 22, 2010 1:15 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
Annabel wrote:
A lot of ex-Christians, including those who are "self-professed Buddhists," have a great deal of anger and other uncomfortable negative feelings concerning their Xtian background. There is a lot of ingrained stuff that is often in the background, and one's "relationship" with "god" is rarely intellectual, but rather emotional. It is a huge move going from Xtianity to Buddhism, particularly Theravada.


Yes, that is an explanation. The solution:


'He insulted me, hit me, beat me, robbed me' —
for those who don't brood on this,
hostility is stilled.
Easier said than done, given the emotional grips such things as one early religious training can engender. It helps, for some, to take a careful look at the issues.


Yes, easier said than done. Absolutely.
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Re: Why does God allow natural disasters?

Postby acinteyyo » Fri Jan 22, 2010 4:06 pm

Funny that most of this thread doesn't deal with the question.
Pubbe cāhaṃ bhikkhave, etarahi ca dukkhañceva paññāpemi, dukkhassa ca nirodhaṃ. (M.22)
Api cāhaṃ, āvuso, imasmiṃyeva byāmamatte kaḷevare, sasaññimhi samanake lokañca paññāpemi lokasamudayañca lokanirodhañca lokanirodhagāminiñca paṭipadan. (AN4.45)

:anjali:
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Re: Why does God allow natural disasters?

Postby Sanghamitta » Fri Jan 22, 2010 4:12 pm

Thats because in Buddhist thought the question has no meaning. Might as well ask why the Flying Spaghetti Monster allows baseball.
If its answers that are required then the question needs to be posted on a Theist website.
Last edited by Sanghamitta on Fri Jan 22, 2010 4:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Why does God allow natural disasters?

Postby notself » Fri Jan 22, 2010 4:13 pm

This is a snip from The Wedge Strategy which was included accidentally with the document production in the Kitzmiller v Dover case about Intelligent Design. If you think that Christianity in America is benign and tolerant, you need to read this link. The goal of these Christians is to destroy the scientific method and establish a Christian theocracy in America.

http://www.antievolution.org/features/wedge.html

Governing Goals
To defeat scientific materialism and its destructive moral, cultural and political legacies.
To replace materialistic explanations with the theistic understanding that nature and human beings are created by God.

Five Year Goals
To see intelligent design theory as an accepted alternative in the sciences and scientific research being done from the perspective of design theory.
To see the beginning of the influence of design theory in spheres other than natural science.
To see major new debates in education, life issues, legal and personal responsibility pushed to the front of the national agenda.

Twenty Year Goals
To see intelligent design theory as the dominant perspective in science.
To see design theory application in specific fields, including molecular biology, biochemistry, paleontology, physics and cosmology in the natural sciences, psychology, ethics, politics, theology and philosophy in the humanities; to see its influence in the fine arts.
To see design theory permeate our religious, cultural, moral and political life.
Though one may conquer a thousand times a thousand men in battle, yet he is indeed the noblest victor who conquers himself. ---Dhp 103
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Re: Why does God allow natural disasters?

Postby Annapurna » Fri Jan 22, 2010 5:48 pm

I'm glad I don't have to do deal with that....Christianity is benign here...Jehovas too.

I've hosted Jehovas witnesses before in my holiday apartments, and they were clean, quiet, respectful, -very pleasant.

I've never hosted Buddhists before but would be happy about it.

The worst customers are those who have no spiritual direction at all, and smile about God.

They screw you, but Christians? No.

Not if they are serious about it...
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Re: Why does God allow natural disasters?

Postby notself » Fri Jan 22, 2010 7:50 pm

Annabel wrote:I'm glad I don't have to do deal with that....Christianity is benign here...Jehovas too....

They screw you, but Christians? No.

Not if they are serious about it...


Those who authored and follow the Wedge Strategy are very serious and devout Christians. They are a threat to the intellectual freedom of anyone who is not a Christian.
Though one may conquer a thousand times a thousand men in battle, yet he is indeed the noblest victor who conquers himself. ---Dhp 103
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Re: Why does God allow natural disasters?

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Jan 22, 2010 9:22 pm

notself wrote:
Those who authored and follow the Wedge Strategy are very serious and devout Christians. They are a threat to the intellectual freedom of anyone who is not a Christian.
These Christians are very much a threat beyond just trying to push creationism into public schools, in that they are also trying push their version of morality into law, as in the whole issue of gay marriage.

I wonder if we could get back to the OP: Why does God allow natural disasters?
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

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Re: Why does God allow natural disasters?

Postby retrofuturist » Fri Jan 22, 2010 9:44 pm

Greetings acinteyyo,

acinteyyo wrote:Funny that most of this thread doesn't deal with the question.


:D

I was just thinking the same thing... "lucky" it's in the Lounge, I suppose.

Anything goes (almost).

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Why does God allow natural disasters?

Postby Ben » Sat Jan 23, 2010 12:19 am

Hi Tilt and all -
tiltbillings wrote:I wonder if we could get back to the OP: Why does God allow natural disasters?


Not that I am a well versed reader of theology or western philosophy but the little thought I have given to this issue is that:
1. God, as the Abrahamic religions teach, an absolute omniscient omnipotent creator - does not exist, or
2. God is impotent or
3. God is indifferent.

The point of view expressed in the suttas is that those beings who believed themselves to be the original creator beings of the universe (Baka the Brahma) were suffering from delusion and that in reality, like the rest of us, they were subject to dukkha, anicca and anatta and were still rotating in the realm of samsara.
kind regards

Ben
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