John-Henry Westen


Top Israel Rabbi, Indian Catholic Bishop, Anglican and Muslim Leaders Agree Tsunami is Warning from

John-Henry Westen

JERUSALEM, January 3, 2005, ( - The recent catastrophe in Southeast Asia has led many to reflect on the shortness and instability of mortal life and turn their thoughts towards God.  In the wake of the tsunami, religious leaders from various faith backgrounds have urged people to look at the disaster as a warning sign to a world which is far from God’s ways. 

Israel’s Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar commented on the catastrophe last week saying “G-d is angry” and “we must pray more and ask for mercy.” In comments to the Ynet website, he said: “The nations of the world are obligated to observe the seven Noahide laws, such as prohibitions against murder and illicit (sexual) relations… The deaths are very painful.” 

The Catholic Bishop of Port Blair in the Andaman Islands of India, Alex Dias, told the media, “I believe that the tsunami is a warning. A warning from God to reflect deeply on the way we lead our lives.” 

The Bishop who is leading the main relief effort in the area continued, “We are too hurried today. We are rushing here, rushing there. Everything is a façade. There are lots of cracks and undulating things in our lives. 

A disaster like this is a word from God to think about those cracks and smoothen them out. We are filling our lives with so much that there is little place for god.” 

He concluded, “In moments of grave crisis, we remember God and we should also think how to put him back in the primary position in our lives.” 

Chief executive of the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils, Amjad Mehboob, also spoke to the media about the tragedy as a warning from the Almighty. 

In comments to AAP he said: “It’s a test - he wants to see how we react to this. 

If we react with compassion, our hearts are filled and we do something about it, then that act in itself is something God is wanting to see in us. We turn to God, we become God-conscious and when we become God-conscious we do good and not bad, we seek good in others.” 

The Anglican Dean of Sydney, Phillip Jensen, said the disasters were a warning from God that judgment was imminent. The statement was backed by South Sydney Anglican Bishop Robert Forsyth who said Jesus Christ used the example of disasters to bring people to God. 

“Without explaining the disaster, even Jesus drew peoples’ attention to let the disasters be a warning to them of their own mortality and their need to be right with God,” Bishop Forsyth said. 

“So at this point the Dean’s point is echoing the point of Jesus.” 

The Gospel of Luke at chapter 13, Jesus himself spoke of a disaster, noting that those who perished were not more evil than others, but that it was a warning for all to repent. 

“Or those eighteen upon whom the tower fell in Siloe, and slew them: think you, that they also were debtors above all the men that dwelt in Jerusalem? 

No, I say to you; but except you do penance, you shall all likewise perish,” said Christ. 

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