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Japan's Christians celebrate Easter amid disaster

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“I am so blessed,” Oyama said. “I really feel God’s great power.”

OK, but wasn't it God's great power that caused all of this death and destruction in the first place? If we follow your logic and God is all powerful, where was he when he was needed?

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well if you want to celebrate easter that is fine, but has nothing to do with God, just another pagan custom tolerated by churches, refers to goddesses of fertility (eggs, hens, rabbits anyone???) the passover of Christ death is important, but has nothing to with easter.

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i don't think God ever promised anyone a perfectly smooth life or that anyone can not avoid suffering. If you live long enough, you'll see that this is true. It's how you deal with this kind of adversity that will shape you into a stronger person.

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although i agree with you ironchef on the suffering to a certain degree, the 24,000 who died wont have the chance to suffer and grow into a stronger person. Neither would the ones who are severely physically health wise suffering.

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OK, but wasn't it God's great power that caused all of this death and destruction in the first place?

No it wasn't God's power, it was a natural event that inevitably occurs particularly here in Japan. God is the one some humans choose to either blame or praise depending on the outcome.

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I don't understand how anyone can sustain their belief in a 'merciful loving omnipotent God' in the face of disaster on this scale.

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cleo

I'm a devout Catholic and all my life I have wondered the same thing. But it doesn't shake my faith, even though ignorant (and scared) people insult me for my faith. God didn't cause the earthquake and tsunami. It was an act of nature (not act of God, as some insurance companies like to say). But I have no answers to that eternal question of "why?" I certainly don't think that God sits at his computer, calls up an image of Tohoku and then presses the "smite" key. Rather, I like to think in my mere mortal mind that every soul lost in the disaster was met by an angel and is now enjoying eternal life.

And that's my Easter Monday message.

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I've seen/read something like this a few times "I'm praying for all the people over there"

I just want to scream out and say 'Stop praying and do something useful like send money/aid. And if you are going to pray, then pray that everyone sends money/aid'.

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Cleo, I think some people would say that the disaster showed us the best in ourselves. It gave people a chance to atone and aid others. It gave purpose in life to a lot of people. It vindicated the best qualities of human nature.

Others might say that it is good that it happened now and not a decade earlier or later. The learning that we will do from Fukushima will be that much greater because we have this impending fossil fuel crisis AND economic hardship. Still, the technologies and confidence were available to limit the damage there, and we are fortunate for that. Sensors and satellites and computers were all ready to crunch data from these events, and the damage was great enough that people will be motivated to predict them even better in the future.

If you know Voltaire, you know Candide. Is it a farce? Is it satire? Or is it a statement of human nature that, to go on, we have to believe that we are in the best of all possible worlds? I am not a religious person, but I see a lot of good coming out of all this that wasn't there before. It's not a fact. Just faith. Faith in humanity.

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If people find solace in their belief of God during this terrible time who are we to shake our heads and mutter 'damn fool'? It is a great thing that they can find comfort somehow. At least they aren't going around killing other people because they don't believe in the same God they do.

If we follow your logic and God is all powerful, where was he when he was needed?

Well....Oyama IS alive isn't she?????

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I never understood why the Japanese didn't take to Easter like they did Christmas. It's got the lot - seasonal change for the traditionalists, cutesy bunny wabbits for the half-witted squeakers who think the most important thing in life is diabetes-inducing cuteness, and chocolate for the economic stimulus/ obligation spending.

Yet ask a hundred Japanese if they've heard of Easter and you'd be lucky to get a single affirmative answer.

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@Gloobey

Ever read the book of Job?

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I think some people would say that the disaster showed us the best in ourselves

I would agree with that. Nothing to do with any god.

If people find solace in their belief of God during this terrible time who are we to shake our heads and mutter 'damn fool'? It is a great thing that they can find comfort somehow.

I would agree with that, too. I just don't see how they do it, is all.

One thing that does get up my nose is the people who say 'Thank you God for saving me' - how mind-bogglingly, selfishly arrogant to assume that some almighty celestial being intervened to save that one person's life when tens of thousands of others were allowed to perish.

smartacus - I too would like to believe that all those I have loved and lost, humans and animals, as well as all those who died in this disaster and others, are living a happy life of eternal bliss. It's not something I can get my head around though, and if you can, then I envy you. I cannot find it in me to trust that a God who inflicts/allows/turns a blind eye to such suffering on earth would have the ability/inclination to see us all right in the next world. Assuming there is a next world, which is another iffy concept.

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Did anyone read the story about celebrating Easter in China? IT WAS BANNED. So much for freedom of speech. Thank G--, ? or someone that you live in a free country like Japan. It is sad when a government is afraid of someone who may never have existed and who has been dead for close to 2000 years. Nobody will remember the present regimes in any country even if they last another 2000 years.

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There is no god, but I ate a whole lotta chocolate yesterday. Thank the easter bunny for easter!

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cleo

I understand your point of view and I can't get my head around some of the same things that vex you, also. But I don't have to understand God or heaven to have faith. Imagine trying to get an ant to understand what life is, or trying to explain to an unborn child what life is.

I wish I could find a good way to put it into words and have you consider that God - whatever God is - does not inflict/allow/turn a blind eye to all the suffering. The world is set up to function and there will be earthquakes. tsunami, floods, hurricanes, etc. Humans will get cancer, have heart attacks. Planes will crash. And yes, people do commit monstrous acts against one another (that's called free will).

I know I am not explaining myself very well. Hopefully, we'll all have a drink in the afterlife.

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I don't understand how anyone can sustain their belief in a 'merciful loving omnipotent God' in the face of disaster on this scale.

You expect religion to make sense? Good luck with that.

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Happy Easter everyone. Hope you enjoyed some chocolate! (BTW, no offence intended toward the Muslims, Buddhists, Jews etc)

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@BurakuminDes

Happy Easter everyone. Hope you enjoyed some chocolate! (BTW, no offence intended toward the Muslims, Buddhists, Jews etc)

Why on Earth are you apologising to other faith groups for wishing Christians a happy Easter?! I've never seen a Jew apologize for wishing people a blessed Passover or a Muslim apologize for celebrating Eid.

Is political correctness gone so crazy now that Christians have to qualifiy their greetings not to cause offence?!

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I don't understand how anyone can sustain their belief in a 'merciful loving omnipotent God' in the face of disaster on this scale.

cleo -- Undoubtably there more Buddhists and followers of the Shinto faith than there were Christians who died in this disaster. Possibly some muslims as well. So does that make those religions just as subject to your "sustain their belief" comment? I mean I understand that this post is about Easter, but, since Japan is not a Christian country, why are you focusing on an "omnipotent God", which has no sigificance here?

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Not all Christians celebrate Easter...

Some gather to respect Christs' death, with the annual "Evening Meal", at the time of Passover...

I imagine this went on in the affected areas, as well.

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pamelot i agree with you this time of year is about that, not about chocolate

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Why on Earth are you apologising to other faith groups for wishing Christians a happy Easter?! I've never seen a Jew apologize for wishing people a blessed Passover or a Muslim apologize for celebrating Eid. Is political correctness gone so crazy now that Christians have to qualifiy their greetings not to cause offence?!

You are right Mayuki - but I wished everyone a Merry Christmas on here last year and got flamed by some non-Christians if I recall!

Moderator: All readers back on topic please.

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smartacus - The idea that 'stuff just happens' sounds more Buddhist than Christian to me, but there you go. If we meet up in the afterlife, the first round is on me, 'cos I'll have been proved wrong! Cheers.

herefornow - Sorry, I don't think I understand your post. The thread is about people celebrating Easter, that's an important Christian festival whether Japan as a whole is a Christian country or not. It's my understanding that the idea of an omnipotent God is pretty significant in Christianity. It's also my understanding that Buddhists don't have faith in any merciful loving omnipotent God (Buddha isn't a god, is the way one priest explained it to me), so the question of sustaining their faith in God doesn't arise....as for the other religions, yeah, if this everloving God is a central part of the doctrine, then they get a headshake too.

That said, I wish all the Christians on JT and elsewhere a very happy Easter, and I wish I had a chockky egg.

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Happy Easter to everyone. We had a big chockky egg. I tried to explain once the meaning of Easter to my J-hubby. In the end he was only amazed that I would believe in such a story. I agree though, that in times of despair it is a good psychological way to believe in something. God only gives us challenges we can face or so the saying goes.

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Be thankful there is chocolate to eat in Japan. China banned any celebration of Easter. Religion may be "the opium of the people" but people can at least FREELY enjoy religion in Japan. Do your own thing!

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cleo -- simple. I was reacting to the fact that you connected the celebration of Easter to an "omnipotent God", who you imply was somehow responsible for the disaster. That is nonsense to me and shows your lack of true understanding of Christianity. And, the fact that it happened will not make a true Christian any less secure in their faith than a Buddhist, Shinto, Jew or Muslim. And the fact that Easter happened to fall close after the disaster, does not make the Christian God any more or less "responsible" and therefore hard for people to "sustain their belief" than if it had happened right before New Year or Ramadan.

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I've found it very interesting to see some Christians claim that "God is working through the survivors and rescuers."

Many of these same Christians also claim that we humans have 'free wil.'

But there's a contradiction (to me, anyway):

According to the Bible, God set up natural forces on earth to work and operate. If we humans have free will, how does God have any influence over us and our actions – let alone work through us to accomplish a specific goal/purpose – without nullifying the notion that he has granted us free will??

And by ‘working through us’ I also mean God planting suggestions or ideas in our minds that might lead us to – using our free will – take a particular course of action that we otherwise would not have taken.

This has far greater implications, too, since IF we don’t have genuine ‘God-independent’ free will all the time, then why were Adam and Eve blamed for exercising their free will and going against God in the Garden of Eden?

If humans don’t have 100% free will, doesn’t this imply that God was at least partially responsible for the Fall of Man?

Doesn’t believing that God works through us (ie: has control and influence over our thoughts and actions) undermine the entire premise of Original Sin (caused by ‘God-independent’ free will), not to mention the reason for Christ’s death on the cross (to redeem our sins caused by the Fall)?

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That said, I wish all the Christians on JT and elsewhere a very happy Easter, and I wish I had a chockky egg.

Cleo - PM me your address and next year I will share some of the mountains of eggs I got from home - Roses? Buttons? Crunchie? Take your pick!

My daughter busted the Easter Bunny this year unfortunately, finding both the eggs hidden away before the event, and the empty packet after the event.

I taught my kids both the secular and the religious meaning of Easter. They didnt seem to care either way though if Im honest - they were all high on sugar!

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herefornow - When anything happened is irrelevant, I think (If there is some great Celestial Being who's responsible for the workings of the Universe (and I don't think there is), I do not imagine it would be in the least bit interested in some calendar devised by a group of warmongering hominids infesting a tiny corner of an insignificant little galaxy). Neither was I implying that something I don't believe in was responsible for anything - that's even greater nonsense to me than it is to you. I'm simply saying that I don't understand how people can maintain their faith in what they claim is a merciful, loving and omnipotent God, faced with pretty strong evidence that if there is such a being he obviously spends a lot of time on holiday or at least not paying much attention.

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miamum, You're a treasure!  Roses all the way.....♥

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Undoubtably there more Buddhists and followers of the Shinto faith than there were Christians who died in this disaster.

Which makes this even more of a tragedy from a Catholic point of view. Don't they say you have to believe in God in order to get into heaven?

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Don't they say you have to believe in God in order to get into heaven?

It's OK, most will have been Buddhists and they get to come back again.

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I miss the Easter bunny!

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Gloobey:

" OK, but wasn't it God's great power that caused all of this death and destruction in the first place? If we follow your logic and God is all powerful, where was he when he was needed? "

You could ask that after every great disaster. But religionists always their answer for that, and no disaster has ever made religionist leave his belief.

As far as a am concerned, Christians don´t try to impose their rules on me, so I have no problem with them. Live and let live. If all religions did that, we would not have all religious trouble around the world.

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Jesus was a wise Rabbi. I find it interesting that they pray to him. Religion is confusing and complicated.

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I think it's a bit easier to deal with tragedies like this if you believe in a creator god rather than a loving, personal god.

The way I see it is that something (not necessarily 'God' and certainly not automatically the Christian god) created us and everything around us - all of creation, a closed system.

Whatever did this is ultimately - not necessarily directly - responsible for everything that happens, AND everything we have and don't have, get and don't get.

This means that for those who choose to blame [fill in name of worshipped deity/greater power], they should also be thankful to the same power.

Judgement of the supposed powers of said deity should not start when death occurs but while life exists.

All that said, that does not explain the reason behind suffering.

Apparently the Pope had a stab at doing that over the weekend.

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Yubaru - "No it wasn't God's power, it was a natural event that inevitably occurs particularly here in Japan."

And who or what created Nature?

Whatever did is - I believe - ultimately responsible for this disaster.

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why do the atheists have to chime in on every single article that even mentions Christianity? if you don't like it, that is your choice, but this is an uplifting article about people's faith helping them during a time of crisis. please find another article to do your trolling and advance your agenda.

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@cleo notice i didn't tell you what a fool i think you are for your beliefs or go on and on about why i believe what i do. yet i have read numerous wordy posts by you about why you don't believe. you have said it 100 different ways...ok ok we get it...let it go..move on.

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"I am very frightened because the house where I felt safe really shook a lot and many children my age have died. I cannot go to play in the park. I want to know: why do I have to be so afraid? Why do children have to be so sad?" said seven-year-old Elena.

Benedict admitted: "I also have the same questions: why is it this way? Why do you have to suffer so much while others live in ease?

"And we do not have the answers, but we know that Jesus suffered as you do, an innocent, and that the true God who is revealed in Jesus is by your side."

Death is defeated by the resurrection and offers great hope. I have found many Japanese who are very good people and to me they are more closer to God then many who preach the many religions that exist. As the Pope in one of his many books wrote "a Christian is basically a good, moral person". The reason is Love and Love in the reason. Yes, the resurrection offers great hope for ALL. Happy Easter all.

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Thats good to see, though would of been better if it came from Kyodo not Associated Press

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OneForAll - "As the Pope in one of his many books wrote "a Christian is basically a good, moral person". The reason is Love and Love in the reason."

Unless it escaped you, non-Christians can be good, moral people too. You likely know many.

Religion is not a pre-requisite for being good.

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It seems earthquakes are part of a cursed earth, a sign designed into the fabric of nature like the rainbow but not so happy.

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This natural disaster teaches us that we should not be afraid of death. Even a God who became man, or the richest man or the wisest man on Earth, will eventually die. No one is spared from death. anytime, or anywhere you go, somehow death will befall on us. No matter how prepared we are, we will eventually die someday. Japan's recent natural disaster is the perfect example. And when It comes, we can't bring with us our money, properties, etc.. So the other lesson here is, to stop our greediness for material things.

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In America, we are always praying for you too. Don't fear, the Lord is coming.

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Unless it escaped you, non-Christians can be good, moral people too."

Actually the most decent and moral people I know are atheists. They don't possess the judgemental attitudes and hatred towards other religions or races that many religious types have. If anyone believes in a god who influences everything that happens in this world, inflicted death and destruction on undeserving children on March 11, then you need to serioulsy address your beliefs.

When you thank god every night for your health and happiness, also thank him that he gave that other Christian kid cancer and not you. The hyprocisy is stupifying.

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so eresay, we need to seriously address our beliefs because it doesn't fall in line with your beliefs? so basically you are passing on the judgmental attitude that you just said you hated.

that's hypocrisy if i ever saw it.

Moderator: Readers, the subject is Japan's Christians celebrating Easter.

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I'm just guessing but I think the reason Easter doesn't take hold here is because it's mostly a children's holiday and doesn't have the boy-meet-girl theme both present in Valentines and the local version of Christmas I think.

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Easter is a time for Christians to remember why they believe in God. It is good that the church is there.

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Atheists might not believe in God. And God is representative of many religions. The only difference is that they come in different names according to their roots and culture.

But atheists do worship something in their lives, don't they? Be it their husbands, dads, boss, children, career, money, etc. ..... whatever motivates them to go on another day through the tribulations of life?

What I am trying to say is, whatever the atheists might feel about being free from religion, there is actually a religion (faith) in their lives. The only difference is - it is there in their lives without them being aware of it - a very subtle permeating quality in their subconsciousness. It is this faith (religion) that makes them wake up in the mornings and then to retire to bed at night, for yet another coming day. Their faith (religion) might just be something small and personal (such as their loved ones, etc) when compared to Christianity or Islam or Judaism but it is a quiet faith that is powerful and strong in them to see that they live another day? Faith = religion? Similar to the mainstream religions which make life worthwhile for their believers, more so during a life's crisis.

My point is, whatever the name we give our religion, it is there in each and everyone of us, whether we would like to call ourselves believers or not or whether we openly worship in a place of worship or quietly in our home or in our hearts.

We are all believers..... of our faiths !

Hope I have explained clearly what I am trying to say.

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Sorry, correction - 5th line above, should read :

....... whatever motivates them to go on another day through the trials and tribulations of life?

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In America, we are always praying for you too. Don't fear, the Lord is coming.

Donating money would be far more useful, or is the Lord bringing Cup noodles and bottled water?

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I'm not religious, and I don't believe in a god of any kind. But I really wanted to hunt for candied eggs and get dressed up and play with rabbits! I forgot though, that Easter was that weekend.

I agree with the poster who said that it has all the trappings of Christmas. I wish that it was celebrated the same way in Japan as in the US. That would be a lot of fun! And good in these times, as long as they keep the religious part out of it so that everyone can enjoy.

(Nothing against those who are religious, I just think that it would be a fun spring holiday for all)

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God didn't cause the earthquake and tsunami. It was an act of nature

So Smartacus, what caused nature to come about, and did God know the events would happen? Either God is omnipotent and omniscient, in which case he certainly did cause the earthquake and tsunami, or God is not omnipotent and omniscient, in which case he is not God. You can't have it both ways.

Alternate explanations would be that the people owed their lives to God in the first place, so it's up to God when to cash them in, or that there was some greater purpose served by the death of innocents. I don't find any of these explanations satisfying.

Some things have no reason or purpose.

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I think Epicurus had a very convincing line of thought:

If God is willing to prevent evil, but is not able to Then He is not omnipotent. If He is able, but not willing Then He is malevolent. If He is both able and willing Then whence cometh evil? If He is neither able nor willing Then why call Him God?
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Well, even if god was for real, merely by seeing all the horrible events that is taking place, it might be safe to say that he is vastly different from the most hopeful of our imaginings.

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could it be,,,if you follow the bible,,,that God is allowing man to rule themselves,,,and then he will step in with armageddon, and bring in a new world?

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Sqwak

But atheists do worship something in their lives, don't they? Be it their husbands, dads, boss, children, career, money, etc. ..... whatever motivates them to go on another day through the tribulations of life?

You've just described everyone in the world; pretending that being alive and human is equivalent to believing in and celebrating the zombie apocalypse of 33A.D.* is just silly.

*Jesus wasn't the only one in the Easter narrative who rose from the dead. Matthew 27:51-53: And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.

Funny how all the historians missed this, too.

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Donating money would be far more useful, or is the Lord bringing Cup noodles and bottled water?

I'm sorry, but that statement was hilarious!

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Sqwak has got it right on the money. Everyone has a "god" they bow down to. For atheists, it's whatever they put as their most important value in their lives.

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For atheists, it's whatever they put as their most important value in their lives.

How does that differ from christians or other faiths?

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@Ironchef 08:02 PM JST - 29th April

Sqwak has got it right on the money. Everyone has a "god" they bow down to. For atheists, it's whatever they put as their most important value in their lives.

Ironchef, thanks. You have helped explained/projected what I have been struggling to express.

(Please people, read with an open mind. Nobody is right or wrong here).

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For atheists, it's whatever they put as their most important value in their lives.

By your logic, atheists care more about their friends and families. Interesting.

Also by your logic, theists find "[more] value" in their gods than in their friends and families. This I don't buy; the self-delusion doesn't run that deep (for most anyway).

Nobody is right or wrong here

I wouldn't go that far. Claiming to understand things about the universe that one clearly does not is lying.

Pointing out that no evidence for gods exists is correct. Especially for one who supposedly rose from the dead after earthquakes tore Jerusalem apart and zombies invaded the city...since, well, none of this happened.

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@SiouxChef

I wouldn't go that far. Claiming to understand things about the universe that one clearly does not is lying.

Universal crap? Lying? You sure like to cook and twist things around to suit your arguments don't you. It is obvious that your mind does go wondering, diverting to the universe and accusing people of lying. What an exceptional healthy imagination you have. However, cannot say of the depth of your thinking.

Sorry to disappoint you SiouxChef, looks like it would be a waste of time for us to engage in any further discussions here.

Have a nice day.

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What the religionists always ignore is the fact that they are all atheists too.... in 99.99% of all the tens of thousands of other religions out there.

So, a religionist is a just an atheist minus one...

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Universal crap? Lying? You sure like to cook and twist things around to suit your arguments don't you.

I only stated a fact: claiming to understand things about the universe that one clearly does not is lying. You may use "faith" as a euphemism for such deception but I do not.

It is obvious that your mind does go wondering, diverting to the universe and accusing people of lying

You do understand what the word "universe" means, don't you? You seem surprised to learn that to make claims about gods, creation, etc. is to make claims about our universe.

Are you claiming that the folks in this picture don't claim to possess such knowledge? Because as Christians, they make precisely that claim. And, yes, the pretense is just that.

Moderator: Readers, please keep the discussion civil.

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**mrskit at 08:07 AM JST - 25th April

well if you want to celebrate easter that is fine, but has nothing to do with God, just another pagan custom tolerated by churches, refers to goddesses of fertility (eggs, hens, rabbits anyone???) the passover of Christ death is important, but has nothing to with easter.**

Exactly! Just like Christmas.. another PAGAN celebration..LOL Born in a 6 generation Pagan family, I'm sooo glad I live here...no rocks thrown at me or silly jehova's witnesses trying to convert me. Whether you are christian or catholic or mormon, that's your problem, just don't even try to push your "god" into me, because your "god" is NOT my god. Have a good evening. :)

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