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THE TSUNAMIS AND GOD

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In recent years, two gigantic tsunami wolfed down the life of more than 330,000 persons and left in nudity millions of others. Where was God at that moment? Where was he, the Love God?

Every day, it is true, there are the miracles of the sun, the wind, the light, the music, the children who smile, the universe that reveals suddenly one of its secrets, dreams that all of a sudden come true; there is the miracle of water that flows, the stars that are born, the flowers that smile, the hearts that kiss one another, the bodies that embrace, the bread that tastes good, the grass that sway in the breeze; everyday there is the miracle of life, and never will the TV daily news say: " It's obvious, God is there!"...

God exists or not. If he exists, he should be almighty. That's what we always have said. And if he is almighty, he should not allow evil. Now, the world is not full of children's laughs only...It is also full of children who die from hunger and of thousands of other horrors. But God does not do anything to stop that. But then, a God who does not take care of the small children and does not block all the bugs that attack the planet is not a God.

A real God should have all the hurricanes and all the tsunamis in his vision range and have at its disposal a good gadget, something like an anti-missile shield, to smash them to pieces before they fall upon the heads of the poor people. But God, it seems, is not like that. The world would collapse and he would not bulge. In that case, what would be the point of having a God? ...

There was a man called Jesus and here is what was said about him: "This is really God in the flesh!" Was he almighty? ... Many tried to show him as such, but finally never succeeded in hiding the fact that he was a poor man, incapable even of defending himself while he was being condemned in the most unjust way possible to gruesome death that would achieve him. Not very powerful our guy, indeed... In spite of that, still nowadays, after 2,000 years, people who are not totally fools continue to say relentlessly about that Jesus: "That fellow is really God with us!"

Yet Jesus had nothing of a Tarzan or of an Einstein. He did not know a thing about quarks neither had he seen a single toothbrush in his whole life. He never had gone to war and he was not a parish priest. We are told that he knew how to plane wood, that he was born in a stable and that he died on a cross. What is known is that he was a good person, open- minded, free, even a free-thinker. He loved also his people, its traditions, its beliefs, its dreams of peace and greatness, but he was not wedded to any of that. He did not conform to what was established, not even to what was thought to have been engraved in the stone by God himself. He would say and perform stunning things.

However, what surprised the most was not that he had given back sight to blind people, but to have tried to open the eyes of the world on things that it was better not to know about. It is not the fact that he had given back to the mute the power to speak, but to have been bold enough to say something new about God, about religion, about morality, about the ruling classes, about the economy, the rich, the poor, about women, the marginalized, the delinquents, about the biblical experts, in short, a little about everything, without repeating like a parrot what had been taught about those questions for centuries. What is most astonishing is not that he has opened the ears of the deaf, but to have had people to hear things that we did not want to hear. It is not the fact of having cured lepers, but of have loved them, of having taken the defense of the prostitutes, of having eaten with crooks, of having associated with delinquents and unclean people.

The holy Law of his people was at the heart of his life, and yet, (oh, what a crime!) he was not afraid of keeping it in perspective the moment he would discover that simple people were being crushed by it. He was not against riches or pleasure, but he would have wanted that everybody could have their share of it. And since the riches that were splashed in front of their eyes had been amassed by taking the shirt off the back of the poor, he had for it only aversion. As for the Temple, powerful symbol of the unity of the nation, he had the greatest respect, but since a caste had confiscated it to establish its power and to promote its interests, he was sure that sooner or later it would close down, be sold, burn down or be demolished.

In a context where women were only an appendix to the males, condemned to spend their life in the shadows, he was not afraid to add many of them to his team of disciples and to show himself everywhere under the sun in their company.

Some groups of people who could not take the foreign domination in their country anymore and who were trying to get rid of it by any means wanted to make him king through force. He wanted a kingdom that would not be established by any means. He did not believe that it was possible to create a world of justice and of freedom through fanaticism and rage in one's heart. He did not believe that one had to hate and to kill to give life, but quite the opposite. And so, he withdrew.

He had his moments of success, his hours of popularity, but as soon as it was felt that things were beginning to turn nasty, he was abandoned. He failed. He was killed and he died while forgiving. And it is seeing him dying in dire distress that a pagan armed to the teeth and who was at the foot of the cross shouted: « Truly this was the Son of God! »

Was he God? ... Let us admit it that he was; this would mean that God through Jesus shows us how he acts with human beings on the earth of hurricanes and tsunamis. His method is not that of the Almighty Creator. He does not want to show off his power. He does not like that. He does not like to impress because what impresses runs the risk of blinding, of alienating, of preventing humans of being who they are, that is, beings capable of freedom, of making choices, capable of doing millions of things by themselves, capable of creating, of inventing, of walking on their two legs, capable of being responsible for their destiny, capable of loving.

It is the proper of idols of preventing human beings of assuming their life. God did not want to do like the idols. He is not an idol. He is...human... At the very beginning of his career, Jesus, in the desert, was tempted to take that short-cut of the idols: the potency of power and of riches, the potency of esotericism and of magic, the potency of publicity, of popularity and of pompous rituals. He had to choose between mystifying and sweet-talking the people or humbly take the road of the humans. He opted for the path of the humans.

God does not take the defense of innocents? Jesus did it, and he was killed. Every day, the indifference towards the innocents makes more victims than many tsunamis...

If we had a little more heart on a daily basis, and not only at the time of catastrophes, it would have been a long time since we would have invented what is needed to protect the most exposed populations from the angers of the sea (and of many other angers).

In a few years, millions of people will lose everything because the waters of the oceans will have risen by 50 centimeters, and this due in particular to the gazes of greenhouse effect. We have in our hands the capacity to reverse that. Some people are trying to do just that, but they are not many. And so, some day, the catastrophe will come, and then, as usual, there will be some individuals who will say once more: « God does not exist ». Or much better, « What's the use to have a God? » Or worse, «It is God who is punishing us »...

Happy are you who are not affected by the sheer madness of consumerism, productivity, competition... and who love birds, and also the human beings springing from the same stock and kneaded with the same mud as you. The kingdom of life is yours.

Translated from the French by Jacques Bourdages

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