How Did the Tsunami Affect Your Faith?

The BBC actually ran a story in mid-January asking people of different faiths how the tsunami and other natural disasters affected their belief in whatever God(s) they believe in.

For example, they talk with a Muslim who survived the Bam earthquake,

Another who has not lost faith despite suffering terribly from natural disaster is Akbar Panjalisaday, a 61-year-old father of five who survived the Bam earthquake in Iran which killed 30,000.

Mr Panjalisaday said that it was a “miracle” he survived the quake, but stressed that had he died, his family would certainly have thought of it as God’s will.

“We are Muslims, and we believe a Muslim is subject to God’s will,” he said.

“Even at that time, I was calling God, I was calling my religion, the Imams, to help me.

“I do believe that it was a miracle.”

And a Christian commenting on the tsunami,

Meanwhile, Edgar Ruddock, of the Christian organisation United Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, stressed that Christians should not lose their faith.

“My own Archbishop Rowan Williams has made the point that we would be less than human if we didn’t at least have a question going through our mind – ‘how do we make sense of all this?'” he said.

“But in terms of natural disaster, I think it’s important to bear in mind that actually, it’s the moving of tectonic plates that has allowed earth to rise out of the sea and human life to exist in the first place.

“So there is an element in which we are part of a process, part of something bigger.”

Interesting. According to the BBC, their article was motivated by the statements of atheists, though they don’t mention who precisely these atheists were,

The scale and the horror of December’s tsunami has led some atheists to argue that it provides further proof that there is no God.

I don’t see how one particular natural disaster could possibly provide any additional evidence for or against the existence of God. Certainly it possible to conceive of some possible Gods whose existence would be inconsistent with allowing suffering, but clearly none of the major monotheistic religions contemplate such a God.


Tsunami: Believers defend their religions. The BBC, January 17, 2005.

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