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Tsunami Death Toll Continues to Rise
2004.12.31 (Fri) 02:56
We haven't said anything about the tsunami that hit Southeast Asia earlier this week for two reasons; first, we've been on hiatus due to the holidays, so we haven't said anything about anything lately, and second, we don't really have much to say that hasn't already been said. It is a terrible and horrific natural disaster that has killed over a hundred thousand people already, and has the potential to kill hundreds of thousands more over the coming days and weeks due to starvation and disease. In fact, the death toll from the aftereffects of the disaster could end up taking far more lives than the disaster itself, as millions are currently without food and shelter.
Our hearts go out to those who are suffering, and to those who lost loved ones, as well as those still searching for the missing. It also reminds the rest of us that something like this can happen to anyone, anywhere, at any time, without terrorists, or serial killers, or any other bad guys to at least take the blame. If you can find an appropriate charity to which you can contribute time or money, and if you are able, we encourage you to do so. We haven't listed any here since we haven't been able to research them ourselves yet. [Ed: See update below.]
All that said, we have one other comment to make about this situation. If you feel the need to turn to God or supernatural forces or something else in this difficult time, that's fine. There are times when inner strength may not be enough for some people, and we can't argue with whatever it takes to keep someone alive and moving forward day after day, especially in light of these circumstances.
However, please don't sit in front of your computer thousands of miles away and talk about how this disaster is God's doing. We've slogged through about a metric ton of religious blogs, comments, reports, and editorials that go on and on about how God's motives are mysterious, how his actions rightly glorify him and humiliate man, and how this is probably a message from God to the people whose lives were destroyed. We've seen a lot of speculation about what that message could be, but we won't repeat any of them here. Just please shut up about it.
Not all Christians are doing this — many are just showing compassion, and finding out how they can help. As usual, it is a relatively small and very vocal group of morons that we are talking about here. But man, are they pissing us off.
Forget the fact that we don't understand the nature of the Christian mythos as some people choose to apply it to this type of situation. Why is this disaster God's work instead of Satan's? Why does this God feel the need to glorify himself, and to do so by humiliating and killing humans? Why would anyone choose to worship such a heartless, spiteful, petty being, even if he did exist? The whole thing reminds us of Battered Wife Syndrome, where the victim is always making excuses for her drunken, violent husband, instead of ever seeing him for what he is and leaving. Of course, in this case, it's even worse since the "husband" in question is just an imaginary being.
So, if you are a battered lamb of God, and you insist on justifying a beating that someone else got from your imaginary god who they don't even necessarily believe in, then keep it to yourself. The last thing that anyone impacted by this tragedy needs right now is some sanctimonious prick saying "we told you so."
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[Update: A post from PZ over on Pharyngula pointed out a few good resources for choosing a charity if you would like to help. One is via The Command Post, which is tracking a large number of organizations that are providing relief.
Overhead Costs of International Relief Organizations
» Lists the overhead of numerous charity groups as a percentage of their funds raised
» The American Institute of Philanthropy grades charities on overhead and fundraising ability
Check 'em out, and help if you can.]
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[ Filed under: % Government & Politics % Media & Censorship % Religion ]
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