O MacGuffin: RAP 2

quinta-feira, janeiro 20, 2005


Escreve o Ricardo de Araújo Pereira:

“[N]inguém pergunta a Maria porque é que Deus, do alto da sua infinita bondade, dedicou a época natalícia a fazer umas brincadeiras no mar do sudoeste asiático e a matar 60 mil desgraçados.”

Ultima actualização: mais de 200 mil. Para responder a esta inquietação nunca colocada à doce Maria, recorro a Paul Johnson. Ele explica tudo. RAP: toma nota.

“(…) The notion, put forward by the Darwinian Central Committee, that the Indian Ocean disaster should persuade us to turn our intellectual backs on a God-directed universe, seems to be puerile. Why did God kill so many people? But God kills people all the time, millions every day. For that matter, God creates people, millions every day. The big waves killed no more than the Lisbon earthquake, and a much smaller percentage of the total population than in 1755. Against a total of 150,000 or so, we have to remember that four billion have been added to the number of people in the world during the last 70 years. That 150,000 is only the tiniest ephemeral blip on the world’s demographic radar. Sri Lanka, which suffered heavily, has a population of 20 million; 11 million will be added to it by 2050. Sumatra, another chief victim, will double its population by that date. Despite the losses, there are already considerably more people in the world today than there were in Christmas week. We are asked to draw transcendental conclusions from this event because of its scale. But the scale, in terms of the magnitude of the world and its inhabitants, is puny, almost insignificant.
It is worth pointing out that this catastrophe was a real event but also a media event on a grand scale. If it had occurred in 1755 it would have been virtually unheard of in Europe, and not at all in America. In 1755 the European media, such as it was, could just about take cognisance of what happened in its own continent; that is all. The Great Awakening then taking place in the American colonies was not interested in Lisbon, so it was ignored in the countless sermons then preached in the camp gatherings.
The true theological or philosophical point to be made about the Indian Ocean wave — if, indeed, there is one — is that it is a timely reminder of the fragility of our existence in this world, the ease with which life on a sunny holiday beach can be snuffed out in a few torrential seconds, and the awesome power which nature still wields, and will always wield, in a world where science and engineering make such boastful strides in subduing her. And any reminder of the ultimate and total powerlessness of human beings, made always necessary by our arrogance and boasting, must be an act of God, and a very sensible and benevolent one too. It can also be argued — and this is what our bishops, if they had any sense, would be arguing — that such events make us think about transience and death, and our own preparedness for our extinction and the life to come. So the calamity — so distressing for those individually involved — was for humanity as a whole a profoundly moral occurrence, and an act of God performed for our benefit.”

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