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How Japan's religions confront tragedy
A religious statue in a tsunami-devastated area in Natori city, along the coast.
March 14th, 2011
04:43 PM ET

How Japan's religions confront tragedy

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

Proud of their secular society, most Japanese aren't religious in the way Americans are: They tend not to identify with a single tradition nor study religious texts.

"The average Japanese person doesn’t consciously turn to Buddhism until there’s a funeral,” says Brian Bocking, an expert in Japanese religions at Ireland’s University College Cork.

When there is a funeral, though, Japanese religious engagement tends to be pretty intense.

“A very large number of Japanese people believe that what they do for their ancestors after death matters, which might not be what we expect from a secular society,” says Bocking. “There’s widespread belief in the presence of ancestors’ spirits.”

In the days and weeks ahead, huge numbers of Japanese will be turning to their country’s religious traditions as they mourn the thousands of dead and try to muster the strength and resources to rebuild amid the massive destruction wrought by last Friday's 9.0 magnitude earthquake and resulting tsunami.

For most Japanese, religion is more complex than adhering to the country’s ancient Buddhist tradition. They blend Buddhist beliefs and customs with the country’s ancient Shinto tradition, which was formalized around the 15th century.

“Japanese are not religious in the way that people in North America are religious,” says John Nelson, chair of theology and religious studies at the University of San Francisco. “They’ll move back and forth between two or more religious traditions, seeing them as tools that are appropriate for certain situations.”

“For things connected to life-affirming events, they’ll turn to Shinto-style rituals or understandings,” Nelson says. “But in connection to tragedy or suffering, it’s Buddhism.”

There are many schools of Japanese Buddhism, each with its own teachings about suffering and what happens after death.

“There are many Buddhist explanations of why calamities happen: from collective karma to seeing calamities as signs of apocalypse,” says Jimmy Yu, an assistant professor of Buddhism and Chinese religions at Florida State University. “And perhaps all of them are irrelevant to what needs to be done.”

Indeed, where Christianity, Judaism or Islam are often preoccupied with causes of disaster - the questions of why God would allow an earthquake, for example - Eastern traditions like Buddhism and Shinto focus on behavior in reaction to tragedy.

“It’s very important in Japanese life to react in a positive way, to be persistent and to clean up in the face of adversity, and their religions would emphasize that,” says University College Cork’s Bocking. “They’ll say we have to develop a powerful, even joyful attitude in the face of adversity.”

Japan’s major religious groups are still developing responses to the disaster, but experts say the impulse toward maintaining a positive outlook will likely translate into calls for Japanese to help friends and neighbors clean up and rebuild.

At the same time, Japan’s Buddhist priests will be preoccupied with rituals surrounding death and burial. Japanese Buddhism is often called funeral Buddhism because of its concern with such rituals.

Despite the Japanese penchant for blending their religious traditions - even with Western traditions like Catholicism - the overwhelming majority are buried according to Buddhist custom: cremation and interment in a family plot.

With many bodies swept away in the tsunami, many Japanese will have to come to terms with having to forego that ritual.

After burial, Japanese typically continue to practice rituals around caring for the spirits of the deceased. Most Japanese keep Buddhist altars in their homes, Nelson says, using them to pay tribute to dead ancestors.

“In the days ahead, you’ll see people praying, with hands folded, for the spirits of those killed,” he says. “It goes back to a really early understanding of human spirits and rituals designed to control those spirits, which can take 49 days or, depending on the type of Buddhism, could go on for up to seven years.”

One popular school of Japanese Buddhism, called Amida - or Pure Land - believes in a paradise that spirits of the dead can enter with help from living relatives.

Despite what is likely to be a mass embrace of Buddhist rituals after the earthquake, there may also be some grievances expressed over those traditions.

Many young Japanese have left Buddhism, accusing priests of profiting from grief because of their paid roles in burials. Critics say the priests spend money from funerals on temples without playing a broader role in society.

“The earthquake is an opportunity for Buddhist priests to step up and show they are still relevant,” says Nelson. “Young people just aren’t buying it anymore.”

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Asia • Buddhism • Japan • Shintoism

soundoff (899 Responses)
  1. Muneef

    http://mycatbirdseat.com/2011/03/william-a-cook-what-does-it-profit-a-congressman-to-retain-his-office-but-suffer-the-loss-of-his-soul/

    March 19, 2011 at 11:44 am |
  2. letoatreides

    The purpose of life is for us to know, love, and enjoy God through His Son Jesus Christ forever.

    March 18, 2011 at 9:44 am |
  3. Muneef

    Al-Anfal sura 08:
    But Allah would not punish them while thou wast with them, nor will He punish them while they seek forgiveness. (33).

    March 17, 2011 at 8:31 pm |
  4. Muneef

    Sura 39:
    Allah is Creator of all things, and He is Guardian over all things. (62) His are the keys of the heavens and the earth, and they who disbelieve the revelations of Allah – such are they who are the losers. (63).

    Well when nature calls for clamity such as this subject discussion and the Guardian over all things is not eager to use power of keys to save those then here the clamity becomes so huge...since God said he is guardian over those who remember him and call his names asking forgiveness...

    March 17, 2011 at 8:25 pm |
    • Muneef

      Al-Rad sura 13:
      In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
      Is he who knoweth that what is revealed unto thee from thy Lord is the truth like him who is blind? But only men of understanding heed; (19) Such as keep the pact of Allah, and break not the covenant; (20) Such as unite that which Allah hath commandeth should be joined, and fear their Lord, and dread a woeful reckoning; (21) Such as persevere in seeking their Lord's Countenance and are regular in prayer and spend of that which We bestow upon them secretly and openly, and overcome evil with good. Theirs will be the sequel of the (heavenly) Home, (22) Gardens of Eden which they enter, along with all who do right of their fathers and their halpmeets and their seed. The angels enter unto them from every gate, (23) (Saying): Peace be unto you because ye persevered. Ah, passing sweet will be the sequel of the (heavenly) Home. (24) And those who break the covenant of Allah after ratifying it, and sever that which Allah hath commanded should be joined, and make mischief in the earth: theirs is the curse and theirs the ill abode. (25).

      Al-Rad sura 13:
      Allah enlargeth livelihood for whom He will, and straiteneth (it for whom He will); and they rejoice in the life of the world, whereas the life of the world is but brief comfort as compared with the Hereafter. (26) Those who disbelieve say: If only a portent were sent down upon him from his Lord! Say: Lo! Allah sendeth whom He will astray, and guideth unto Himself all who turn (unto Him), (27) Who have believed and whose hearts have rest in the remembrance of Allah. Verily in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find rest! (28) Those who believe and do right: Joy is for them, and bliss (their) journey's end. (29) Thus We send thee (O Muhammad) unto a nation, before whom other nations have passed away, that thou mayst recite unto them that which We have inspired in thee, while they are disbelievers in the Beneficent. Say: He is my Lord; there is no God save Him. In Him do I put my trust and unto Him is my recourse. (30).

      Al-Rad sura 13:
      Had it been possible for a Lecture to cause the mountains to move, or the earth to be torn asunder, or the dead to speak, (this Qur'an would have done so). Nay, but Allah's is the whole command. Do not those who believe know that, had Allah willed, He could have guided all mankind? As for those who disbelieve, disaster ceaseth not to strike them because of what they do, or it dwelleth near their home until the threat of Allah come to pass. Lo! Allah faileth not to keep the tryst. (31) And verily messengers (of Allah) were mocked before thee, but long I bore with those who disbelieved. At length I seized them, and how (awful) was My punishment! (32) Is He Who is aware of the deserts of every soul (as he who is aware of nothing)? Yet they ascribe unto Allah partners. Say: Name them. Is it that ye would inform Him of something which He knoweth not in the earth? Or is it but a way of speaking? Nay but their contrivance is made seeming fair for those who disbelieve and they are kept from the right road. He whom Allah sendeth astray, for him there is no guide. (33) For them is torment in the life of the world, and verily the doom of the Hereafter is more painful, and they have no defender from Allah. (34).

      March 18, 2011 at 1:53 pm |
    • Muneef

      Al-Kahf sura 18:
      In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
      And verily We have displayed for mankind in this Qur'an all manner of similitudes, but man is more than anything contentious. (54) And naught hindereth mankind from believing when the guidance cometh unto them, and from asking forgiveness of their Lord unless (it be that they wish) that the judgment of the men of old should come upon them or (that) they should be confronted with the Doom. (55) We send not the messengers save as bearers of good news and warners. Those who disbelieve contend with falsehood in order to refute the Truth thereby. And they take Our revelations and that wherewith they are threatened as a jest. (56) And who doth greater wrong than he who hath been reminded of the revelations of his Lord, yet turneth away from them and forgetteth what his hands send forward (to the Judgment)? Lo! on their hearts We have placed coverings so that they understand not, and in their ears a deafness. And though thou call them to the guidance, in that case they can never be led aright. (57) Thy Lord is the Forgiver, Full of Mercy. If He took them to task (now) for what they earn, He would hasten on the doom for them; but theirs is an appointed term from which they will find no escape. (58) And (all) those townships! We destroyed them when they did wrong, and We appointed a fixed time for their destruction. (59).

      March 18, 2011 at 2:15 pm |
  5. Amor-Vincit-Omnia

    Don't you just love how everyone turns a tragedy into an argument about religion? For the love of all that is holy...can you people focus on the matter at hand? Oh I don't know...the TSUNAMI. How about the people that were affected by it? Of you God-fearing people, why not offer prayers instead of sermons about your particular religion? I don't really care whether this religion is the right one or the wrong one. No matter where you go all over the world, you will find varying arguments and discussions about it. It's an argument as old as humanity, I am beginning to believe. So it will never end. That much is certain.

    Anyhow, I am not posting to talk about religion. All I wanted to say is that my heart goes out to everyone affected by the tsunami, whether the person lost a house or a family member or anything of that nature. This is to those that were affected by the tsunami, "Know that my heart goes out to you and that you are in my prayers."
    Love and hope,
    Chels

    March 17, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
  6. Zerg Rush

    Well, obviously we all have issues with one another. Well here is my opion, religon does nothing useful in society other than, give people a crutch to hold onto, so they don't kill themselves. Also we didn't come from monkeys, we came from apes, there is a diffrence. And for you christans out there i live in the fricken bible belt, and all i hear everyday is god this jesus that, and i am harassed for being atheist. I also have gay friends who believe in god and they are harassed, one was even banned fromhis church. SO your religon is just a stain upon humantiy and a buisness ttying to exstort people. So quite you zelous babbling, examine the evidence and quite spending all you time on your knees and do something productive with you life.

    March 17, 2011 at 12:40 pm |
  7. Muneef

    Their Ego was their disbelief.
      
    Az-Zumar sura 39:
    In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
    Say: O My slaves who have been prodigal to their own hurt! Despair not of the mercy of Allah, Who forgiveth all sins. Lo! He is the Forgiving, the Merciful. (53) Turn unto your Lord repentant, and surrender unto Him, before there come unto you the doom, when ye cannot be helped. (54) And follow the better (guidance) of that which is revealed unto you from your Lord, before the doom cometh on you suddenly when ye know not, (55) Lest any soul should say: Alas, my grief that I was unmindful of Allah, and I was indeed among the scoffers! (56) Or should say: If Allah had but guided me I should have been among the dutiful! (57) Or should say, when it seeth the doom: Oh, that I had but a second chance that I might be among the righteous! (58) (But now the answer will be): Nay, for My revelations came unto thee, but thou didst deny them and wast scornful and wast among the disbelievers. (59) And on the Day of Resurrection thou (Muhammad) seest those who lied concerning Allah with their faces blackened. Is not the home of the scorners in hell? (60) And Allah delivereth those who ward off (evil) because of their deserts. Evil toucheth them not, nor do they grieve. (61) Allah is Creator of all things, and He is Guardian over all things. (62) His are the keys of the heavens and the earth, and they who disbelieve the revelations of Allah – such are they who are the losers. (63).

    March 16, 2011 at 8:52 pm |
  8. RLR

    I truly dont blame or judge anyone on this page or world wide in not having any faith or believe in the FATHER ,SON and the HOLY SPIRIT.The only thing christians can do is pray in the name of CHRIST to our FATHER in HEAVEN to have mercy on them.To open up their hearts and minds so they can come to know how sweet the LORD is. GOD bless

    March 16, 2011 at 5:31 pm |
  9. VishaNu

    Theists believe in life after death.
    Atheists believe in death after life.

    Which one do you choose?

    March 16, 2011 at 2:49 pm |
    • Muneef

      Well it is correct that there is death after life and life after death....so what is wrong with that....?

      March 16, 2011 at 8:26 pm |
    • Muneef

      Al-Baqara sura 02:
      In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
      How disbelieve ye in Allah when ye were dead and He gave life to you! Then He will give you death, then life again, and then unto Him ye will return. (28).

      Al-Hajj sura 22:
      And He it is Who gave you life, then He will cause you to die, and then will give you life (again). Lo! man is verily an ingrate. (66).

      Al-Room sura 30:
      Allah is He Who created you and then sustained you, then causeth you to die, then giveth life to you again. Is there any of your (so-called) partners (of Allah) that doeth aught of that? Praised and exalted be He above what they associate (with Him)! (40) Corruption doth appear on land and sea because of (the evil) which men's hands have done, that He may make them taste a part of that which they have done, in order that they may return. (41) Say (O Muhammad, to the disbelievers): Travel in the land, and see the nature of the consequence for those who were before you! Most of them were idolaters. (42) So set thy purpose resolutely for the right religion, before the inevitable day cometh from Allah. On that day mankind will be sundered- (43) Whoso disbelieveth must (then) bear the consequences of his disbelief, while those who do right make provision for themselves – (44) That He may reward out of His bounty those who believe and do good works. Lo! He loveth not the disbelievers (in His guidance). (45).

      Al-Jathiya sura 45:
      Say (unto them, O Muhammad): Allah giveth life to you, then causeth you to die, then gathereth you unto the Day of Resurrection whereof there is no doubt. But most of mankind know not. (26) And unto Allah belongeth the Sovereignty of the heavens and the earth; and on the day when the Hour riseth, on that day those who follow falsehood will be lost. (27) And thou wilt see each nation crouching, each nation summoned to its record. (And it will be said unto them): This day ye are requited what ye used to do. (28) This Our Book pronounceth against you with truth. Lo! We have caused (all) that ye did to be recorded. (29) Then, as for those who believed and did good works, their Lord will bring them in unto His mercy. That is the evident triumph. (30) And as for those who disbelieved (it will be said unto them): Were not Our revelations recited unto you? But ye were scornful and became a guilty folk. (31) And when it was said: Lo! Allah's promise is the truth, and there is no doubt of the Hour's coming, ye said: We know not what the Hour is. We deem it naught but a conjecture, and we are by no means convinced. (32) And the evils of what they did will appear unto them, and that which they used to deride will befall them. (33) And it will be said: This day We forget you, even as ye forgot the meeting of this your day; and your habitation is the Fire, and there is none to help you. (34) This, forasmuch as ye made the revelations of Allah a jest, and the life of the world beguiled you. Therefor this day they come not forth from thence, nor can they make amends. (35) Then praise be to Allah, Lord of the heavens and Lord of the earth, the Lord of the Worlds. (36) And unto Him (alone) belongeth Majesty in the heavens and the earth, and He is the Mighty, the Wise. (37).

      March 16, 2011 at 8:45 pm |
    • myklds

      "Theists believe in life after death.
      Atheists believe in death after life.

      Which one do you choose?"

      @ VishsNU..your statements above only prove that Atheists has an ego as big as (space) blob but a brain the (microscopic) size of a quark.

      March 17, 2011 at 1:06 am |
    • KingColdHeart

      have*

      March 17, 2011 at 1:43 am |
    • myklds

      @king..TY

      March 17, 2011 at 1:50 am |
    • Chris McDonald

      Muneef –

      I have recently read the Koran – very interesting. I previously didn't know how much of it comes from the original five books of the Bible – I didn't know that we share Noah, Abraham, David, Joseph, and other great prophets. I was really surprised to see that it even speaks of Jesus and his virgin birth. I was so excited to see this, and even the fact that it said he was a good prophet. However, the book that was written 700 years after Christ died based on many of the books of the bible that Christ taught from – denies he is the son of God. However, Christ himself said he was.

      Since he came fulfill the very law that you live by, and bring grace – Is he:

      1. Truly the son of God – the truth, the way, the life

      or

      2. Is he a mad man that was crazy and could never be the good prophet the Koran says he was????

      In the Koran – how do you know that Allah has forgiven? How do you know of his salvation? How many deeds – and at want point are you assured?

      March 17, 2011 at 6:55 am |
    • Muneef

      Chris McDonald.

      That was great and comforting to see that at least one is not saying I have been spewing the Quran and no one reading..
      So thanks and I am happy that you realized that we are in the same track from Abraham but each has his messenger to follow...
      Am sure if you read further you would realize how highly the Quran spoken about each messenger of God and surely even higher than the Five elder books....who went accusing some messengers with shameful acts and sins...

      Jesus or as we call Issa is a miracle creation of God as miraculous as was the creation of Adam....surely Jesus was referring to God as lord and creator but not as father? After all in the movies of Frankenstein we seen that creature was calling his creator as father....meaning the one who created him from nil..
      Jesus was not at all the one who was on the cross but still he was caused to die by God,then was purified before he was raised to heavens and only would be sent back to earth when God gives the order for him to come down to kill the Dijjal and bring peace back to earth...that is what we are told...

      March 17, 2011 at 8:03 pm |
    • Muneef

      Chris McDonald.

      Not sure what you meant by this comment ;
      "In the Koran – how do you know that Allah has forgiven? How do you know of his salvation? How many deeds – and at want point are you assured?"

      March 17, 2011 at 8:06 pm |
  10. DD

    Nevermind about religious labels. The best thing is to be a good person & help people. That fulfills the requirement for a lot of religious opinions of what happens to you after death. Even Satanists follow this generalization.

    March 16, 2011 at 12:47 pm |
    • VishaNu

      Actually, if you're following Aleister Crowley's teachings on Satanism, it endorses and encourages hedonistic pleasure and the fulfillment of self before all others.

      March 16, 2011 at 2:41 pm |
  11. Steven

    "Every good act is charity. A man's
    true wealth hereafter is the good that
    he does in this world to his fellows." – The Prophet Mohammed
    "And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise." – Jesus
    "That which is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow. That is the whole Torah; the rest is the explanation; go and learn." – Rabbi Hillel

    Seeing a pattern? All rivers flow to the same ocean. We are all G-d's children whether we worhip Him/Her/It or not.

    March 16, 2011 at 12:39 pm |
  12. Arden

    Mat 24:3 As he sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, "Tell us, when will this be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the close of the age?"
    Mat 24:4 And Jesus answered them, "Take heed that no one leads you astray.
    Mat 24:5 For many will come in my name, saying, 'I am the Christ,' and they will lead many astray.
    Mat 24:6 And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars; see that you are not alarmed; for this must take place, but the end is not yet.
    Mat 24:7 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places:
    Mat 24:8 all this is but the beginning of the birth-pangs.

    March 16, 2011 at 11:51 am |
  13. Everyman

    Wow, obviously this country has just suffered a terrible tragedy, I feel so bad for them! Sometimes bad things JUST happen. We can't stop nature from running its course, and disasters like this can catch any country off guard. Although I live in the U.S. it doesn't mean my country is any more safe from natural disasters than anywhere else. There's no act of God here, but an terrible disaster. Wake up people Jesus isn't coming back anytime soon.

    March 16, 2011 at 10:27 am |
  14. Chris McDonald

    Fact – 10 out of 10 people die. Some die of old age – some of tragic consequences – but fact is 10 of 10 people die. Does it matter how really? Flood, Hurricane, Earthquake? We all die – there is nothing that can save you from the grave. It is like a freight train coming in the distance – closer for some than others, but it keeps chugging along.

    The major difference between all worldly religions is that Jesus died for our sins – willfully going to the cross. The difference? He rose again. He conquered the grave. Death no longer has any sting – no bite – no fear.
    Buddhism, Hinduism – and other ISMs can't come to agreement on this – and ultimate tell you that to be absorbed into the Universe via doing GOOD DEEDS is the goal. Has anybody ever come back from the Buddhists grave to explain this? Buddha died of eating bad pork – didn't come back...nope, sorry – game over. What is the standard of good? How many people do you have to be nice to? How do you know when you are good enough in a manmade system of good deeds and works?

    The thing is, we have all sinned – ever tell a lie...ever taken anything that doesn't belong to you...ever used God's name in vain? This is breaking of God's perfect moral law. The bible says all liars, thieves, and blasphemers will be thrown into the lake of fire.

    Pretty dire...eh? Except, God loved us so much he sent his only son – that whoever believes in him will have eternal life.

    The law was fulfilled through Christ – and made perfect. His blood covers us – while even in our sin – as if we never have sinned – this is grace – this is hope – this is mercy – this is LOVE.

    Not knowing Jesus as your savior doesn't damn your soul – but rejecting and failing to live by God's perfect law does. A lie you told 10 years ago – is still a lie. That is why God made a bridge – a path of redemption through Christ. That is why Christ came because living by the law is nearly impossible.

    It is truly sad to have no hope – or think that some degree of good works will save you. Sad to believe your soul is dependent on the living doing good deeds and honoring you to help you make it into a peaceful eternity. You can't save you. 10 of 10 die. 10 of 10 will stand before God in his holy judgment. Those that believe Jesus is the son of God – the living savior – the truth, and the life – repent of their sins and follow him...will inherit the kingdom of God. Jesus said I am the truth, the life, the way – NOBODY comes to the father except through the son. That means "all paths" don't lead to God – only through Jesus.

    The other beauty is our free will. We are free to believe or reject. How awesome is that? What is love…except loving somebody especially when they don’t deserve it? What is grace…but to reach in and save somebody not worth saving? That is what Christ did…and offers to anybody that would ask.

    March 16, 2011 at 9:59 am |
    • momof2

      sorry to rain on your faith parade, but there never has been any definitive PROOF that Jesus rose from the dead.
      1. A missing body is not proof
      2. Post death "sightings" are not proof
      3. And most importantly, saying so in the Bible is not proof.

      March 16, 2011 at 12:57 pm |
    • Chris McDonald

      Hey Momof2 – no worries – you are actually in good company. Thomas doubted and asked to touch the scars.
      If you are serious about your doubt – do this. Go to Isaiah 53 and read that (you can pull it up on bible gateway and other sources). Read that -and ask who do you think he was talking about – then note it was written 700 years before Jesus. There were a total of 48 prophesies made regarding his coming. He fulfilled every one of them. The statistical chance of that happening is over a trillion to one. Also, if you get netflix or other source, check out The Case For Christ – you can get it streaming there – possibly other places. Lee Strobel was an Atheist.

      It all comes down to faith – even Darwinism takes faith – to believe all of what you see around you happened from a big explosion and things just grew on their own with no plan – or other things to take care of them. Not to mention, the missing links...are missing. You see, faith is what faith is. The difference is – what is the OBJECT of your faith?

      March 16, 2011 at 7:08 pm |
  15. GATOR

    Religion is for paranoid dumb people.

    March 16, 2011 at 8:11 am |
  16. Muneef

    Al-Isra sura 17:
    In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
    Lo! this Qur'an guideth unto that which is straightest, and giveth tidings unto the believers who do good works that theirs will be a great reward. (9) And that those who believe not in the Hereafter, for them We have prepared a painful doom. (10) Man prayeth for evil as he prayeth for good; for man was ever hasty. (11).

    The Best in West About Islam
    http://www.safeshare.tv/v/agj3CBFP3HM 

    March 16, 2011 at 6:56 am |
  17. really

    if the earthquake is godsend then he is not different compare to Satan.

    March 16, 2011 at 6:53 am |
  18. Satya Ranjan Sarkar

    Stand up, be bold , be strong . Take the whole responsibility on your own shoulders, and know that you are the creator of your own destiny. Why we are abusing the enverionment , why we use the neuclear for the Power without safety measurement, Profit--- enjoyment---- luxrious life Now??????????????

    March 16, 2011 at 5:25 am |
    • ds

      Take a day off and imporve your English writing including spelling!

      March 17, 2011 at 4:05 pm |
  19. ali

    Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.
    Albert Einstein, "Science, Philosophy and Religion: a Symposium", 1941
    US (German-born) physicist (1879 – 1955)

    March 16, 2011 at 3:09 am |
    • myklds

      I honestly thought at first that "Reason" was just quoting "GATOR". But aside from the absence of quotation marks,also, it doesn't contain counter or confirmatory comment (supposedly) from the former to reject or affirm the latter's respectively. Thus, "Reason's" typical Atheist's rants was nothing but a duplication of Gator's God-hateful tirade. Thus, Reason is nothing but a duplicate of Gator. Therefore, Atheists have had been using dozens if not hundreds of duplicates to make a handful look like millions and wasted much space on this board.

      It only shows a typical handiwork of Atheists. Using their wit and intellect as front of their deceitful and devious ways to push their God-hateful Agenda.

      How desperate and miserable people they are.

      March 16, 2011 at 9:15 pm |
  20. Erick Hernandez

    ok so everyone in here arguing about Gods existence, religions, and thinking that someone is better then the other because of their education or place of work is the reason why God sent us this earthquake. Why is it that humans tend to always fight, argue, and cant seem to get along. God is angry, we are living in times where there is no more such things as morals, values, honesty, caring, etc... Humanity has changed not for the better, but for the worst. This is why this earthquake will not be the last of Gods wrath. OH and for those who want to know which God it is? He is all of them, they are all the same but in different cultures and languages.

    March 16, 2011 at 1:29 am |
    • Moin Ali

      Agreed.

      March 16, 2011 at 3:08 am |
    • GATOR

      First of all, there is no God. Every year people of all religions, including God fearing Christians are killed by natural disasters. When Katrina devastated New Orleans it wasn't because God was angry. That is how a child would think. Nature is what it is, no one can control it. Not even if we all become good Christians and pray three times a day.

      March 16, 2011 at 8:16 am |
    • Reason

      First of all, there is no God. Every year people of all religions, including God fearing Christians are killed by natural disasters. When Katrina devastated New Orleans it wasn't because God was angry. That is how a child would think. Nature is what it is, no one can control it. Not even if we all become good Christians and pray three times a day.

      March 16, 2011 at 8:18 am |
    • BullzFan

      What about the infants who died in the earthquake? What did they do wrong? They did nothing wrong. I'm only trying to show that the earthquake didn't happen because people did/do bad things. The earthquake happened because, in life, bad things happen sometimes. It's got nothing at all to do with religion. Your logic and your thinking are very, very wrong. I suggest you start living in something called reality, and not the make-believe world of religion.

      March 16, 2011 at 10:16 am |
    • myklds

      I honestly thought at first that "Reason" was just quoting "GATOR". But aside from the absence of quotation marks,also, it doesn't contain counter or confirmatory comment (supposedly) from the former to reject or affirm the latter's respectively. Thus, "Reason's" typical Atheist's rants was nothing but a duplication of Gator's God-hateful tirade. Thus, Reason is nothing but a duplicate of Gator. Therefore, Atheists have had been using dozens if not hundreds of duplicates to make a handful look like millions and wasted much space on this board.

      It only shows a typical handiwork of Atheists. Using their wit and intellect as front of their deceitful and devious ways to push their God-hateful Agenda.

      Therefore, they are nothing but desperate and miserable creatures.

      March 16, 2011 at 9:18 pm |
    • achepotle

      Baby Jesus is laughing at you...a high-pitched, nervouse giggle.

      March 17, 2011 at 9:01 am |
    • 3rdMLNM

      There is only one Real GOD;
      the GOD of Abraham, and Moses, Jesus, David, Muhammad,
      who has already foretold about this historic EarthQuakes and Tsunamis for/within this Last Day/Millennium,
      and has already sent the "Messianic Salvation" to all humanity, that we may immediately wake up and get saved now, before it may be too late then, here:

      http://www.holy-19-harvest.com

      March 17, 2011 at 7:31 pm |
    • k

      How can he be all Gods? i mean some Gods are personal and some are impersonal. Like with a Christian God, it is a personal relationship. Also, Jesus who is also God, is the only God that died for our sins. All of the Gods are so different.

      March 31, 2011 at 5:33 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.

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