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Can God Intervene?: How Religion Explains Natural Disasters [Hardcover]

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Retail Value $ 44.00  
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Item Number 197478  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   229
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.5" Width: 6.55" Height: 1"
Weight:   1.15 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Apr 30, 2007
Publisher   Praeger Publishers
ISBN  0275989585  
EAN  9780275989583  

Availability  121 units.
Availability accurate as of Oct 25, 2016 03:27.
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Item Description...

The death and devastation wrought by the tsunami in South Asia, Hurricane Katrina in the Gulf states, the earthquake in Pakistan, the mudslides in the Philippines, the tornadoes in the American Midwest, another earthquake in Indonesia-these are only the most recent acts of God to cause people of faith to question God's role in the physical universe. Volcanic eruptions, wildfires, epidemics, floods, blizzards, droughts, hailstorms, and famines can all raise the same questions: Can God intervene in natural events to prevent death, injury, sickness, and suffering? If so, why does God not act? If not, is God truly the All-Loving, All-Powerful, and All-Present Being that many religions proclaim? Grappling with such questions has always been an essential component of religion, and different faiths have arrived at wildly different answers.

To explore various religious explanations of the tragedies inflicted by nature, author Gary Stern has interviewed 43 prominent religious leaders across the religious spectrum, among them Rabbi Harold Kushner, author of "When Bad Things Happen to Good People"; Father Benedict Groeschel, author of "Arise from DarknesS"; The Rev. James Rowe Adams, founder of the Center for Progressive Christianity; Kenneth R. Samples, vice president of Reason to Believe; Dr. James Cone, the legendary African American theologian; Tony Campolo, founder of the Evangelical Association for the Promotion of Education; Dr. Sayyid Syeed, general secretary of the Islamic Society of North America; Imam Yahya Hendi, the first Muslim chaplain at Georgetown University; Dr. Arvind Sharma, one of the world's leading Hindu scholars; Robert A. F. Thurman, the first American to be ordained a Tibetan Buddhist monk; David Silverman, the national spokesman for American Atheists; and others--rabbis, priests, imams, monks, storefront ministers, itinerant holy people, professors, and chaplains--Jews, Roman Catholics, mainline Protestants, evangelical Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, and Atheists-people of belief, and people of nonbelief, too.

Stern asked each of them probing questions about what their religion teaches and what their faith professes regarding the presence of tragedy. Some feel that the forces of nature are simply impersonal, and some believe that God is omniscient but not omnipotent. Some claim that nature is ultimately destructive because of Original Sin, some assert that the victims of natural disasters are sinners who deserve to die, and some explain that natural disasters are the result of individual and collective karma. Still others profess that God causes suffering in order to test and purify the victims. Stern, an award-winning religion journalist, has extensive experience in this type of analytical journalism. The result is a work that probes and challenges real people's beliefs about a subject that, unfortunately, touches everyone's life.

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More About Gary Stern

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GARY STERN is a journalist who has covered religion for a decade for "The Journal News" of suburban Westchester, New York. He won the James O. Supple Award from the Religion Newswriters Association as the national religion writer of the year in 2001, and in 2005 he won the Templeton Award as National Religion Reporter of the Year. Stern has written about every major religious group in New York and has covered many of the top religious figures of the day. He grew up in Brooklyn and Staten Island and has a master's degree in journalism from the University of Missouri. He lives in White Plains, New York.

Gary Stern was born in 1949.

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Enlightening and reassuring...  Dec 31, 2007
Though the basic idea of this book was to examine how theologians from various disciplines explain and understand the role of God in natural disasters, it is so much more than that. It is a study of the difference in theological thought and why so many people can look at the same situation and see so many different things. It goes a long way toward explaining why we are like we are when it comes to religious and theological divisiveness.

As a Catholic, I turned to the section on Roman Catholicism first and was not disappointed to find what I personally believe --- God is mysterious and unknowable and the world is constructed by a divine plan that has rules (such as the rules of physics) that sometimes seem to negate our desire for an all-powerful and all-loving God. The Evangelical Christian responses were also what I expected, Biblically based and focused on man's sinfulness. But I was equally fascinated by the Jewish perspective, particularly the very popular Rabbi Harold Kuschner's comments about an all-loving vs. an all-powerful God.

The Hindu and Buddhist theologians spoke more of human perception of disaster than of God's actual role in allowing disaster to happen and, throughout many of the responses there was the thought that the occurence of disaster is less important than the opportunity it provides for us to respond to one another's suffering. Some of the perspectives I could not relate to and others I found very accessible and sympathetic even though they are not what I believe.

This is an admirable work that takes 2 situations we can all relate to --- the 2004 tsunami and Hurrican Katrina --- and offers perspectives that not only enlighten but help us to understand our differences if we open up our minds to the diverse ways of seeing the same thing.
Can God Intervene?: How Religion Explains Natural Disasters  Jul 31, 2007
This is a must! The very best book on this difficult subject that I have ever read. Mr. Stern is an engaging and lively writer and plumbs this subject like no other, opening for the reader how a myriad of religions answers this age old question. I believe that this book will find a permanent place on shelves for reference. It is a great read and opens the subject up for serious exploration. First rate! Charles R. Colwell-President: The Center For Jewish-Christian-Muslim Understanding, Irnington, New York

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