The situation in the East is overwhelming. I hope that I am not the only one experiencing some resistance at facing the truth, hearing what has happened, seeing the images. It feels surreal and a part of me wants it to stay that way.

I am at a loss as to how to even inquire into what has happened, how to feel, what to do. Tragedy and horror at a personal or familial level I have experienced and have some precedent for digesting. On the national and international level I am… at a loss.

For myself, as probably for many Americans, the last time an event of this general type shocked my psyche was the day of 9-11. This disaster they are hailing as “the worst natural disaster ever documented.” The tragedy of many deaths is, I suppose, not categorically different than that of one death. It is rather a difference of degree. Here, then, on a worldwide level, we are forced to confront our mortality.

C.S. Lewis, addressing those who criticize academics for continuing to study during war-time, pointed out that the “normal” state of being of England, being “at peace,” is a fiction and a phantom. The world –in the present progressive tense — simply is in a state of chaos; it is true that destruction and death occur.

This is not a comfort for those dealing directly and indirectly with the loss in Indonesia and Sri Lanka and other nations, but rather a clarification of the question, a clarification of the horror. Not, “Why did so many people die?” But, “Why do we die?”

Why do we die?

God have mercy on us.

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Posted by Keith E. Buhler


  1. You would think that after thousands of years of exposure, mankind would be getting used to the idea of death by now. If death is part of nature, why do we resist it so much? One of the most satisfying elements of Christianity, for me, is its assessment of death as an unnatural occurence. We react so strongly against it precisely because it’s an intruder, robbing us of loved ones that may have grown old in body but whose spirits have not been exhausted. Then, in situations like the tsunami, we are left reeling because we cannot grasp the abrupt departure of 150,000 plus individual souls.


  2. Lindsey,

    That just seems right on.


  3. The reason death is so frightening and horrible to humans is that it is not natural. Man was not created to die. Rather, death entered into the world with sin (Rom. 5:12). I’m not correlating tragedy with any particular sin but rather it is a consequence of the curse. Thanks for your post – tim


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