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Where was God - where was Allah? Catastrophe philosophy in the history of thought in Europe

Where was God - where was Allah? Catastrophe philosophy in the history of thought in Europe and the christian faith

Filozofáltál már ma? Imádkoztál már ma? Tolle, lege! Fogd és olvasd, s gondolkodj el! Ma még lehet, ma még szabad...

Where was God - where was Allah? Questions in the wake of the two most devastating earthquakes Catastrophe philosophy in the history of thought in Europe


In Lisbon, the capital of the Portuguese colonial empire, on November 1, 1755, on All Saints' Day, the earthquake that shook the whole of Europe at the time and caused European thinking to stop and react occurred, in which more than 100 thousand people lost their lives. Debris and ash covered the city with its beautiful palaces built from the (robbed) wealth of the colonists. The spires of 30 Catholic churches, filled to overflowing, collapsed on the faithful gathered for the festive mass. The horrible, previously unimaginable devastation of the event shook the whole of Europe, not only spiritually, but also in European thinking. How could God allow this? asked millions. The analogy is obvious. Today, the bodies of more than 30,000 dead are claimed, and who knows how many thousands lie in the mass grave. How many of the 150,000 or so people affected by family loss and injury in Turkish and Syrian territories, and the billions of people watching the horror images, ask a similar question: where was Allah, where was God?

It is very interesting, but how is it possible that decades before the drama of the Lisbon earthquake, G. W. Leibniz (1646-1716), a German scientist who thought through the issue of divine justice on a philosophical level, in his epoch-making book published in 1710 on the goodness of God, human freedom and the origin of evil, rated this world as the best of all existing worlds? Would Leibniz have kept his opinion if he had lived through the tragedy of Lisbon and the Turkish-Syrian earthquake? Because Leibniz gave a theoretical answer to the French philosopher Pierre Bayle, who claimed that the evil experienced and victorious in the world precludes the existence of an all-powerful and benevolent God. In the theoretical discussion, Leibniz referred to Job and also quoted Pascal, who said that the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is not the God of philosophers. It is also present when and where existential tragedies occur as a result of nature's internal laws and catastrophic potential, as well as the dramatic, poignant events of the human freedom given to man by God in creation also take place in reality.

God is not present as a heavenly disaster reliever, but as a sympathetic Father, an earthly reality of mercy. To notice and take to heart the battered lives lying on the side of the road like a Good Samaritan. He is also present in disasters as God, in the processing of horror as a real disaster, as a God who shows himself as a spiritual healer. The French Voltaire himself, the contemporary philosopher of 1700s, struggling with the depressing experience of the Lisbon disaster, wrote a philosophical poem a year after the events, in which the question "how could this happen?" with his thoughts and writes: Are mortals able to penetrate deeply enough into the thoughts of God? In fact, the French skeptic of reason cannot give an affirmative or negative answer to this question.

German, French answer seekers, biblical surpluses

At the same time, the German theologian F.C. Lesser, who came up with a somewhat fanatical view of creation, which he published as a book in 1738, even before Europe's great Lisbon drama, under the title: Insecto-Theologia, i.e. Insect-Theology. In this order, which can be observed in the lives of insects, our smallest human companions, God, the Almighty, illustrates his wisdom, goodness and justice. Voltaire also intended the poem "Deaster" as a response to him. Later, Immanuel Kant, the pinnacle of Protestant philosophy, formulated his criticism in the thought-regulating, cool silence of the clean air of the Baltic coast in 1791: all philosophical attempts are doomed to failure in the question of theodizea, divine justice. Kant therefore postulates the only essential question of human existence, namely that existence is burdened by the risk of freedom, and he posits the meaningful, truly viable alternative of moral action as a unique chance for survival.

God's divinity cannot be proven or disproved by any kind of disaster theology, disaster philosophy, or earthquakes. The question of questions: how do we, as humans, behave in such situations, according to common sense and internal moral command? After all, Kant, Leibniz, Pascal, and even Lesser see the two Old Testament examples as a common denominator. Confronted with the fiery furnace of human judgment, the joint testimony of Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego: We have our God, whom we honor, and he can deliver us from the burning fiery furnace... but even if he does not want to, know, O king, we do not respect your gods ( Daniel 3:17-18).

The wisdom of biblical faith - the possibility of disaster-solving faith

To this comes the highlighting of Kant's Job model. Job, who lost almost everything and everyone after an existential earthquake, was able to say this: Naked I came from my mother's womb, naked I will leave. The Lord gave, the Lord took away, blessed be the name of the Lord. Even in this situation, Job did not sin and did nothing against God (Job 1:21-22). Even in the midst of existential and real earthquakes, devastating and soul-crushing losses, he did not deny God. He did not become a rebellious atheist out of gratitude and the memory of the grace he had experienced over many years. This is not the morality of renunciation, but the morality of faith. Not the most important cynicism of losers, but the greatest treasure even in the midst of losses, the Kohinoor diamond of existence, the unbreakable hope and attitude of gratitude of a person living in the awareness of the presence of God.

This is the catastrophe interpretation, the theological earthquake and destruction theology, the Christian belief, which our 17th century religious leaders and religious ancestors sang about. Valid to this day: Even if mountains and hills trembled/Which were raised by a heavenly hand,/And departure towards the great sky/Would give the sign of destruction:/If you see this, do not believe/This minute will lose you./Zion, you cannot fall,/ Until God protects me! (Reformed Hymnal 394.3).

Has mankind reached the final stage of the end times?

Are the end times over? German sociodemographer and theologian Heinzpeter Hempelmann wrote an extremely thought-provoking study recently, even before the Turkish-Syrian disaster, entitled "Earthquakes - and what the Bible says about them". He has not published a disaster-theological essay or a disaster-theological thought process. It analyzes the natural science and seismological characteristics of earthquakes in detail over thirty pages. Then, how thinkers and philosophers from ancient times to the present have placed this phenomenon among the phenomena of human existence. He then states that earthquakes have great religious and existential significance for all of humanity. After all, he turns to the biblical findings, and then directs attention to the role of biblical prophecies in world history. Finally, he summarizes the lessons learned in 14 points. This goes all the way back to perhaps mankind's most powerful and dramatic earthquake, the Chinese disaster of 1556, which claimed approximately 830,000 lives. Here are some important takeaways from this exciting and study-worthy essay. God's presence cannot be excluded from the greatest catastrophe, and His pre-warning is not what is very important. An earthquake is a natural tool that can lead to God. It also indicates that a part of humanity, the population of a given area, is in a moral crisis. But there may be a catastrophe with which God erases something from the old, lifestyle, thinking, to make room for the new. The earthquake is also a warning, namely that the end of the world will indeed be a shocking final earthquake. The omega point of history will not be some rosy or artificial intelligence wonderland, but a cosmic and planetary future earthquake in the full and unsuspected sense of the word. Therefore, every generation must prepare for this in spirit, because even Jesus does not know the hour and the day, only the Father. We don't have time, but we are ready. Earthquakes are "apocalyptic codes" once in the Bible and today in reality reminding us that one day everything will end. Permanently and irrevocably. Until then, watchful waiting, preparation before God, positive action, nurturing the hope of survival, and taking seriously the existential alarm and alarm of intervening disasters, all these and many other small possibilities remain our innovative opportunity and temporary chance.

Earthquakes, once and today, are not a concrete judgment of God, but a possible, real signs of grace about, that evil has prevailed in the world, and therefore the entire human well-being and state has been shaken. The biblical apocalyptic, end-time perspective sees a connection between natural disasters and spiritual events, visible and invisible reality. According to a prophetic approach, increasingly frequent and powerful disasters may indicate the collapse of the world order.

The visible form of the world is passing away - according to the Greek text: the plan of this world is passing away (1 Cor 7:31). Schemes and templates are for the time and fashion. Biblical hope does not use, or does not use in the least, the spiritual worry, fear and anxiety caused by the drama of events. He does not see events as a means to the mission, but rather as a source of comfort when they occur. Not for a single moment forgetting the conviction of the common faith: we await a new heaven and a new earth. Therefore, in the name of the tens of thousands and hundreds of thousands affected by the disaster, it is our Christian freedom, even our duty, to say: Come, Lord, Jesus! So that nothing will be under a curse anymore, and the night will pass forever (Revelation 22,20; 22,3.5.).

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