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Thursday, May 22, 2008

Myanmar & China Tragedies

Dale Carnegie noted this truth in his bestseller, How to Win Friends and Influence People: "A person's toothache means more to that person than a famine in China which kills a million people. A boil on one's neck interests one more than forty earthquakes in Africa."*


It may be hard to accept it, but Carnegie's observation applies to many of us today. Even in the face of the horror wrought about by the utterly devastating cyclone in Myanmar and earthquake in in Central China, many of us continue to complain about the many things that we lack in life and thus fail to fully appreciate what we got, or get too focused on our other personal problems and on our petty strifes with others that we sometimes fail to sympathize with those whose woes are far greater than ours.


Sometimes we find it better just to ignore tragedies like these, not wishing to compound our daily woes. Or perhaps, we realize that thinking about the suffering of tens of thousands of people out there can just remind us of our own helplessness.


Given these thoughts, we greatly admire then the individuals and groups who have gone to these tragedy-swept and shaken places to care for the victims. One of these individuals is Luis "Chito" Cusi of Cebu, who is now in Myanmar leading a team from the Philippine-based parachurch group called "MARCH for Christ" in a relief work. There are other Christian groups like Christian Aid and Partners in Progress who have been serving the people of Myanmar and China together with the UN and other international humanitarian groups. May all those involved in the rescue and relief operations in China, Myanmar and other places downed by the fierce blows of calamities continue to be blessed a thousandfold!


There are atheistic groups who quickly raise "Where is God?!" whenever these and other unfortunate events occur. It is easy for skeptics to blame God in times like these and forget the human factors involved. Theodicy -- a justification of God's ways -- is a tough subject, but there have been thoughtful people who have done their best in helping the rest of us understand the ways by which to approach the big question.


In this light, let me recommend the resources cited below to our readers.It is true that no one has the last say on the Problem of Pain, but as for me these writers can at least offer us some enlightening vantage points from which to see this perplexing issue. I continue to be blessed in my reading and re-reading of these articles and books. I hope these will bless your life too...:>


Internet: John C. Clayton - www.doesgodexist.org; http://www.whypain.org/


Books


Burke, Brad. Is God Obsolete? Colorado Springs: Victor, 2006.


Meister, Chad V. Building Belief: Constructing Faith from the Ground Up. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2006.


Sproul, R.C. The Invisible Hand: Do All Things Really Work for Good? Dallas, TX: Word Publishing, 1997.


Strobel, Lee. The Case for a Creator: A Journalist Investigates Scientific Evidence that Points Toward God. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2004.


Strobel, Lee. The Case for Faith: A Journalist Investigates the Toughest Objections to Christianity. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2000.



Tracy, Thomas F., ed. The God Who Acts: Philosophical and Theological Explorations. University Park, PA: The Pennsylvania State University, 1994.


Yancey, Philip. Disappointment with God: Three Questions No One Asks Aloud. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1988.



*Dale Carnegie, How to Win Friends and Influence People (New York: Pocket Books, 1981), 93.


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