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TURNING POINT: Where is God in this Pandemic?

NAAWAN, Misamis Oriental (MindaNews / 21 April) – Scientists have forecast that more and severe disease outbreaks may occur in our generation resulting from the interplay of climate change, habitat loss, proliferation of intensive animal farms, rising population and urbanization, international travel, and growing anti-microbial resistance of pathogens.

A deep look into the interaction points to the truth that the reckless massive disturbance of nature to satisfy endless human wants and unquenchable desires have reached to a level of abuse resulting to calamities like the current coronavirus pandemic.

The pandemic is nature’s way of coming back with a vengeance over the relentless and unconscionable drubbing it has received from humans.

Many have suffered and a lot had already fallen. Many, believers and non-believers alike, have asked – where is God in this pandemic? For their unbelief, non-believers have actually no more right to ask the question, yet, they do because this is the best time to taunt the faithful.

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God is the first to flee every time humanity is in danger, says an obviously non-believing critic.

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Followers of different religious faiths across the globe, from the desert to the top of the Himalayas, have prayed for deliverance from the plague that has brought so much fear, suffering and sorrow to mankind. Nothing happens, enough for traditional skeptics to condemn the irrelevance and uselessness of religion and to conclude and confirm their belief that God does not exist.

We are always quick to infuse God with our thoughts and feelings, like the need to respond when asked, to give when we have something to give, as if we are actually practicing what we think and feel as good. We want God to behave as we want him to. By so doing we have made God our slave.

We really don’t know, but perhaps, God uses the pandemic to teach us some life-saving lessons, such as to be more caring for the environment and be more responsible for the over-all health of our planet; and for people to be more understanding and compassionate to one another in consideration of the connectedness, fragility and transiency of all life.

Consider, for instance, what the pandemic has done to open our eyes. It has rested people; ceased vehicles and industrial plants from emitting fumes to the atmosphere; stopped industrial and domestic solid wastes from polluting rivers, lakes and oceans; and halted the destruction of the forests. Criminality has also dropped everywhere. Even armed conflicts around the globe have generally been avoided or reduced in frequency and intensity.

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Indeed, there is much to ponder in this pandemic.

And who said that God does not answer prayers?

He does. God answers prayers in many ways, oftentimes outside our expectations. He is definitely in this pandemic. He answered the prayers of those who were tormented by fear and pain by giving them rest. He moved them to the afterlife. But He allowed many to recover than to die, for one reason or another, and sent them back home.

As to the global petition to stop the pandemic, the response may likely have to wait. It seems the pandemic has to stay course for a while, if only to restore order and sanity in the planet.

(MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. William R. Adan, Ph.D., is retired professor and former chancellor of Mindanao State University at Naawan, Misamis Oriental, Philippines.)

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