17 May 2008

Faith Defines Meaning

Ashreinu! Too often we forget how fortunate we are to have the Truth of Torah to guide us. Our faith infuses meaning into every aspect of our lives and we are not left to wonder "why?"

Chinese turn to rumour, superstition to explain disasters

HONG KONG (AFP) — ...China's massive earthquake has given way to rumour and superstition. ...Chinese are looking for a cosmic explanation for their misery. ...Fantastic theories for the disaster -- as well as January snowstorms, March riots in Tibet and this month's disastrous cyclone in Myanmar -- have become cyberspace currency....

In the absence of religion, deemed by the Communists as a vestige of China's imperial past, people look to the heavens for omens and invest numbers with meaning,....

Even as the government has sought to capitalise on the predilection for portents by scheduling the opening ceremony of the Olympics for August 8, at 8:08pm, some Internet users have given added significance to the fact that the date for each of this year's disastrous events adds up to eight.

May 12, the day of the quake, adds up to eight (5, for May, + 1 + 2) -- is 88 days before the opening ceremony.

"This is how people deal with disasters like this, by finding meaning and hidden significance in numbers and cycles," said Gerome Barme, professor of Chinese history at Australian National University.

"One of the things the government is trying hard to avoid is normal people believing that the heavenly powers are displeased with what is going on here on earth,"....

...the Year of the Rat on the Chinese lunar calendar, was destined to be one of tumult and disaster.
"This is a year of earth and water, it means the earth is unstable and water is very powerful," he said.

The snowstorms -- which crippled huge swathes of the country from January 25, which also totals eight -- were the first natural disaster of 2008 and involved water, he said. "The earth was unstable, and then the quake comes."

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