Faith vis-à-vis facts
On August 31, Eastern Visayas and other eastern provinces in the country were literally rocked by a magnitude 7.6 quake the epicenter of which was over a hundred kilometers offshore Sulangan in Guiuan, Eastern Samar. Although the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology(Phivolcs)agency outrightly raised a tsunami alert level 3 in along coastal town immediately facing the Pacific Ocean, no wave surge happened, and damage to property was minimal and no life was lost. In China, however, a 5.7 magnitude land-based quake that very recently occurred ,created vast destruction, leaving at least 50 persons dead.
Science explains that it was due to the movement of the plates beneath the ocean floor. The Pacific plate smoothly slipped under the ocean plate not creating a clash that could have caused a life-threatening tsunami. Phivolcs further explained that the origin or focus of the tectonic quake was around 45 kilometers below the seabed thus the energy somehow dissipated or decreased in force upon reaching the ocean floor. The facts that there are lesser skyscrapers in the affected towns and cities than in the highly populated urban areas, and lesser population density were also viewed as factors why damage was placed at nominal level.
Religion, notwithstanding these scientific explanations, viewed the aftermath as a “miracle”, an event made through the intervention of the Omnipotent God. The very strong tremor, which was erstwhile registered as magnitude 7.9 in Phivolcs Earthquake Intensity Scale but later downgraded to 7.6 magnitude by the United States Geological Survey, was described by authority as “strong enough to topple structures,” yet “no major damage was reported even in Sulangan.” The seismic activity emanated offshore yet no upsurge of seawater level was significantly observed in Eastern Visayas, especially in Eastern Samar.
Palo Archbishop John Du said, “God saved us,” affirming the outcome as “miracle”. This fact could be the same notion in the mind of the public. The prelate observed that a day following the occurrence of the quake, mass goers tripled such as those who attended the early morning Eucharistic celebration. This made him pronounce that our people recognized the power of God. He nevertheless called on the people to “thank God that we are still alive and (the quake) did not cause much damage.” He stressed, though, in an interview with LSDE that the natural event could be “God’s way of ‘reminding’ the faithful, particularly those ‘un-Church people’ to always remember Him.”
Science and religion oftentimes collide in reason – the first based on hard facts the other on faith. Most often though science tends to give in to what faith pushes forth, on the simple rationale than it has nothing more to stand on. But faith encompasses what facts could not expound on, thus in the end it is still the magnificence of God that prevails. The August 31 quake was a proof that miracles do happen by God’s mercy and grace.
Short URL: http://leytesamardaily.net/?p=32530