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God’s Punishments or Natural Disasters?

ย  Disasters, sickness, disability, crises and death have been an integral part of life since the beginning of life. So far, the fact is that all life must come to an end, one way or the other. All life, including animals, plants, unicellular organisms, killer whales and human beings, no one is excluded. Pick up the statistics from any part of the world, for any form, category, type. size and strength of life, end of it is the most undeniable truth. In every part of the world, for any given group of living beings, whether religious, non-religious, infidel, atheist, agnostic, no one can escape from death or end, so far. Scientists have been trying very hard to stop, decelerate or reverse the aging process, which leads to the end or death, but success is very limited, by far. The incidence of any given cause of death may vary among different groups of population, but no group is exempt from any given cause of death or end. Good people, bad people, excellent people, worst people or middle of the road people, everyone faces risk, more or less, of every possible cause of death or end. Heart attacks, accidents, natural disasters, crises, financial problems can hit everyone and no one is too far away from any of this. The risk for anyone of these could range from maximum to minimum, in individual or grouped cases, but none of these reaches zero for anyone or any group of population. Throughout the history, we see the people of every cast, creed, religion, ethnicity and origin, dying off every imaginable or possible, existing cause. Before the advancement of Science and technology, it was very hard to identify the cause of every death. But, now, a cause of death can be very well established in almost all cases of death. These causes may or may not be preventable, medically or just by maintaining a healthy lifestyle, but prevention usually just prolongs the life, and there is no measure or mean known yet, that can make any life immortal. Just go over the list of major disasters in 2005. 1.) Pakistan and Indian Earthquake: Pakistan a Muslim country, with secular democracy; alleged involvement in terrorism. Also, the country that is most affected by terrorism. India, world’s largest democracy, with pre-dominantly Hindu population. Involved in constant controversies and repeated wars with Pakistan. Shares the nuclear power status and wide spread poverty with Pakistan. Affected by terrorism. 2.) Food shortages in West and Southern Africa: Comprised of some of the world’s poorest countries. Seriously lake resources to cope with disasters and other issues. Infra structure is really bad. Communication, very primitive. Governments, generally very week. Populations mostly Muslims and Christians. 3.) Typhoons (Tsunamis) in East Asia: Drew lot of media attention in West. Mixed population, mostly Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim and Christian. Includes from well-off, developed economies to very poor areas and regions. Some of the major tourism centers were affected. Involved countries include countries with western style democracies. 4.) Devastating Hurricanes affecting Central America and U.S.: Affected countries Include world’s largest Economy United States and other relatively affluent countries like Mexico. United States has lots of involvement in many large scale humanitarian efforts, as well as, in many controversies, conflicts and wars, around the globe. Intensified the debate on global warming. Populations, mostly Christian, with people of almost every religion living in affected countries, particularly, United States. Most countries affected have secular democracies. If you give a careful look to these sets of disasters, happened in just one calendar year, you will realize that nothing is common in them except that in every case poorest were affected the most, mainly due to their inability to cope and recover from the disasters. So, logically speaking, it is impossible to conclude that God targeted these extremely diverse countries and regions of the world for any particular reason, whether it is religion. ideology, deeds, nationality or ethnicity or any other comprehensible or logical basis. I can not conclude that God punished his already suffering poor people, since they suffered the most, just because they were poor. Hence, we can confidently and reasonably, exclude these or any disasters as the punishment of God. Question is, what is the real cause than? Lets take these incidences one by one, and try to find the causes behind these or any other similar disasters. Earthquake is defined by Wikipedia as, “the result of a sudden release of energy in the Earth’s crust that creates seismic waves.” Earthquakes can also cause Tsunamis, langslides and volcanic activity. Common known causes of Earthquakes are rupture of geological faults, volcanic activity, landslides, mine blasts and nuclear experiments. Lets gothrough a list of known major, big and high risk geological fault lines, causing higher risk of earthquake for certain areas of the world. 1.) San Andreas fault across California, causing higher risk of earthquakes for a large part of California. 2.) Keraf Suture in Sudan Collision Zone. 3.) Lone Pine, CA, fault in Southern California. 4.) Alaska’s Denali fault 5,) Fault Scarp, Rock Creek, Idaho Go over this list of major geological faults and good luck with finding a common reason for God’s punishment, to these United States regions and a region in Sudan. To me the more logical explanation for the existence of these faults is that they just happened to be formed there during the billins of years of Earth’s evolutions, formation and deformation. Take the example of 1918 influenza pandemic. 1.) 17 million, 5% of population died in India. 2.) Out of 23 million affected, 390.000 died in Japan. 3.) In U.S. 28% of population was affected and 500,000 to 675,000 died. 4.) In Britain 250,000 and in France 400,000 died. 5.) In Canada 50,000 died. Besides millions others in different parts of the world. Estimated 50 to 100 million people, 3-6% of world population died worldwide. Atleast, I am not smart ehought to find a common cause of God’s punishment over almost very part of the world and on alomost all different types of population groups, world over. To me the more ligical and reasonable explanation is that it was an incidental outbreak, which caused the largest medical holocaust in the history of world. In Article, Projections of Global Mortality and Burden of Disease from 2002 to 2030, Colin D. Mathers*, Dejan Loncar, published in PLoS Med 3(11): e442. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0030442, a study that was funded by the World Health Organization (WHO), the authors have projected that life expectancy will continue to rise in all parts of the world, from year 2002 through year 2030, in all age groups and in both sexes, regardless of their cast, creed, birth, ethnicity and religion. This study just confirms the continuation of trends that have been existing in last thiry years and past, beyond. I do not see any different trend for any specific group of population in past, present or future, which you may expect if God was punishing any specific groups of population in past, present or future. These increments in life expectancies, in all age groups of both sexes, all over the world, are related to development, improved standards of living and better access to healthcare, the world over. These data, from our past, present and future, do not suggest any rewards or punishments from God to any specific groups of population. The trends are srikingly similar with higher life expectancies for rich and more educated people, in every part of the world. If this is due to Gods punishmant or rewards, I will not expect that God would be punishing already disadvantaged, poor and less educated people, just for being poor and less educated. My conclusion will not blame God, but would be that these are global trends based on better access and affordability related to improved healthcare and prevention. So, sickness is not a punishment from God but a consequence of natural vulnerability and global trends regarding the availability of healthcare and prevention. When compared to United States and other developed countries, developing countries, usually have a higher birth rate, higher mortality, specially infant and juvenile mortality. World Health Organization (WHO) statistics fir 1994, showed that Ethiopia had a population of 57 million, per capita income of 110 US Dollars per year, fertility rate of 6.8, life expectancy of 47 years, and mortality rate for kids less than 5 years of age was 220 per 1000. Mali had the population of 10.8 million, per capita income 310 US Dollars per year, fertility rate of 7.1, life expectancy 46 years and mortality rate for kida under 5 years of age was 284 per 1000. Angola had a population of 11.5 millions in 1994, per capita income less than 500 US dollars per year, fertility rate 6.4, life expectancy 46.5 years and mortality rate for kids less than 5 years of age was 292 per 1000. Somalia had a population of 8.4 millions, per capita income less than 500 US Dollars per year, fertility rate 6.3, life expectancy 47.1 years and mortality for kids less than 5 years old was 215 per 1000. United States in 1993 had a population of 252 millions, per capita income 23,000 US Dollars per year, fertility rate 2.1, life expectancy 76.4 years and mostality for kids less than 5 years of age was 11 per 1000. This data, too, shows that the higher mortality rates in less than 5 year olds and over all lower life expectancy are related to income level. I believe it is because of poor access and less affordability of healthcare and not because God doesn’t want His poor people live more, particularly the innocent less than 5 year olds. My other question is, if this is due to God’s punishment then, why they have higher fertility rate? Why God would punish them with higher mortality rates and smaller lifespan and rewardthen with more babies at the same time? It is, also, noticeable that net population growth in these poor countries with higher mortality rates and smaller lifespan, is highet than most developed countries, including United States. Now, take the example of 2007-2010 financial crisis, late 2000s recession and 2010 European sovereign debt crisis. The financial crisis that statrted in 2007 and which has still not ended, started by liquidity shortfalls in United States Banking system caused by over valuation of assets. This crisis resulted in broad based and lon stretched recession causing unemployment rates reaching double digits. Millions of people lost jobs and homes, as a consequence predatory corporate practices. Due to the chain effect created by this crisis millions are still suffering. This recession is being considered as the largest crisis since great depression and the effects are so powerful and far reaching that many wealthy developed countries are facing the risk of credit defaults and bankruptcy. The efffects are literally global and no contry appears to be exempt from them. Even the fastest growing economies like China and India have slowed down, as a direct consequence of it. If this crisis is God’s punishment then why no one is exempt from it and why God is targeting everyone, regardless of anything. My more logical conclusion would be that certain reckless practices in financial markets and poor regulation led to this crisis, that is affecting everyone, rhardless of cast, creed, birth, nationality or religion. Hence, in the light of above mentioned scientific reports, studies and data and a large number of other reports, sudies and data, we can confidentlty conclude that the Disasters, sickness, disability, crises and death are not the punishment from God and cannot be used to pass judgment on any group of global population, since every group of population, regardless of cast, creed, birth, nationality or religion faces them and no one is exempt from them, all over the world.

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Navaid I. Syed is the owner and CEO of www.ExcitingAds.com / ExcitingAds! Inc. He is a medical doctor and was born in Mirpurkhas, Sind, Pakistan, on July 31, 1964. He graduated from Liaquat University of Medical and Health Sciences, Jamshoro, Sind, Pakistan, in 1990. He is Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates, Philadelphia, PA, USA, certified.

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