Monday, May 23, 2011

Joplin Tornado called "The Beast" after book of Revelation?

In keeping with the doomsday theme over the past couple days, apparently there was a major tornado in Joplin, MO, and apparently it is being called "The Beast", which sounds like a reference to the Book of Revelation. If that were true, however, one would expect it to kill either 666 or 616 people, depending upon the variant translations which give those number. Most people are not aware that the oldest versions of this rather questionable book of the bible quote a figure of 616.

More interesting is that, according to news stories, plenty of people in Joplin think that God and prayer saved them. The same God who sent the tornado and killed others who were likely devout and busy mumbling the same scared prayers into their hands, decided that certain people were more worthy to save than others.

In any event, if this tornado was the long awaited "Beast" of the Book of Revelation, then it is certainly underwhelming. The Beast was supposed to kill way more people than that, and not just in a modest size down.

In any event my sympathies do go out to the people of Joplin. Nobody deserves such senseless tragedy. If there were an all-good, all-powerful god pulling the strings, then such things would most assuredly never happen. The fact that they do tells us that humans will have to learn to help our fellow man to cope and recover as best we can. That doesn't require belonging to any particular religion. None of them have a monopoly on compassion. Humanism is arguably a better approach, because it is a secular philosophy that doesn't waste time with imaginary dieties and prayers to supernatural forces. Instead it dispenses with the prayers, rolls up its sleeves, and gets to work.

Thanks to the secular miracles of science and modern technology, we have radars, and other forecasting systems which can help us reduce the dangers of these kinds of storms, and then more quickly and effectively respond in the aftermath.

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