Are the Gods Angry?
People in many cultures and places in the world ascribe natural disasters to the anger of the gods. It's our impression that at least some people in most cultures think this way. My barber said she thinks that is what is happening now, based on her bible study. We certainly did read many comments like this when the Asian Tsunami wrecked havoc in countries on the Indian Ocean. The earthquake off the coast of Sumatra resulted in one of the deadliest natural disaters known to humankind. We read of one person who expressed the view of many - that the damage being done without thought to the natural world was angering the gods and they are punishing us.
Hindu philosophy is filled with a pantheon of Gods. These Gods are various expressions of one underlying dynamic source and the three vibrations of creation, preservation and destruction - represented by Brahma, Vishun, and Shiva. Dhumavati is the Divine Mother at the time of the duluge, when the earth is under water. As with most religions, Hinduism recognizes that destruction comes with creation. We don't think this means that we should destroy our own world.
Some folks don't believe in any God and see that kind of thinking as nothing but superstition. Some suggest that with our understanding of science it is time to put such primitive beliefs behind us and recognize that there are scientific explanations for these occurances and no reason to blame our behavior - or the gods response - for natural events. It can be argued that there always have been shifting plates on the earth, and enormous pressures from deep within the earth that sometimes cause earthquakes and volcanoes.
Still other people believe in God or a higher power - but don't think that because there is a God that means he or she is punishing us through natural disasters.
We think that these views are actually only different ways of describing the same realities. Religion and science understand that everything is connected. We are a part of one system. Everything that we do plays a part in the greater picture. We don't think that there are many thoughtful people who don't accept that now. Whether you come to that understanding through science, religion or common sense - the implications are the same.
We humans need to pay more attention to the consequences of our actions on this earth.
When we heavily use toxic chemicals to grow our food crops and animals more quickly, then those chemicals end up in our food and in the waste materials that run into our soils and waterways at rates far beyond earth's ability to break them down. Some do not break down in water at all. Hormones are flowing in our rivers. They enter our fish so that many wild fish now contain dangerous levels of chemicals. The gender balance of many types of fish has been altered. Our children are getting too many hormones through milk and food with the result they reach puberty too soon. No, that isn't proven to the satisfaction of all. But we need to be smarter than we've been. Science and religion teach us it's all connected. Why then does every individual issue have to be proven beyond a doubt before we address it? 25 years ago if a doctor found a 9 year old girl developing breasts it would be taken very seriously. Now it happens so frequently it no big deal! Why do you think this is happening? Global warming has been denied by many for years despite the obvious. Now because we have waited, it is harder to correct.
Many spiritual beliefs around the world, like those of most Native American groups, are based in the recognition that we are part of the natural world. Many from several world religions are now teaching that earth stewardship is a religious responsibility. They say that the Talmud, Koran and Bible teach us to respect and protect God's creation.
There are also many who are active in the outdoors who may or may not be members of formal church groups. Many find God in Nature. The Christian understanding that man should have dominion over earth shouldn't be interpreted to mean that humankind should rob the earth blind. We think it means that we are the dominant species which makes us responsible. Any way you get there, this is a little globe spinning through space. We have to care for it if we want future generations to have a life here.
However we view the situation - isn't the result the same? We are part of one system and if we don't accept the consequences of our actions far more seriously, we will destroy what supports our life. Religious, not religious, spirtually-oriented or not, nature-lover or couch potato - if you don't pay attention to your impact on the place we live - it will not continue to live and support life.
The chemicals many use on their lawns and gardens are damaging the earth and water. Carbon combustion and deforestation have resulted in global warming and it's getting worse fast. The ecology of our oceans is being seriously damaged by net trawling in many parts of the world. Examples abound.
It's time to stop falling for the 'economy vs. ecology', 'lumbermen vs. environmentalist', 'fisherman vs. governments' or 'manufacturing vs. the EPA' arguments made to separate us and distract us from the realities we all share. The Nature Conservancy is working with loggers and ranchers. The AFL-CIO is working with EarthFirst! We need to admit what we already know and change our behavior. This is our air. This is our water. Let's make it clean air and water for future generations too.
There seem to be many things beyond our control. But there are many that are fully within our reach if we can work together.
Maybe the Gods are angry. Or maybe we're just facing the results of our not being thoughtful about what we are doing to our earth home. It's our world. Save water. Save Earth. It is our responsibility.
Thank you for reading.