Disasters Give Religion a Chance to Shine

Disasters Give Religion a Chance to Shine

Compassionate service is a core tenet of most, if not all, religions. Faiths across the world are known for their eagerness and adeptness when it comes to organizing volunteer efforts for those in need.

Natural disasters are never a good thing, yet they remind people—whether they themselves are religious or not—that the world could be worse without organized religions. That’s because, when disaster strikes, local and worldwide church groups are often the first on the scene. They’re the ones putting together crews to provide shelter and cleanup. They’re the ones providing food and clothing. And they’re the ones who often seem to stay around and continue to help when others have long since left the scene.

It happens with hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, and more. Chapels become first-aid centers and family shelters. And it’s not because they are forced to do so by governments. it’s because the church leaders and their members have a genuine desire to ease the suffering of their fellow man.

Last month’s earthquake in Nepal has left thousands dead and many more without homes, food, water or clothing. Of all the images that touch on the tragedy, perhaps the most touching are those of Buddhist monks in their signature burgundy robes helping their neighbors. In the hardest-hit area affected by the quake, just outside of the Nepalese capital, monks belonging to the Shechen Monastery have opened their doors to provide temporary housing to some 2,000 quake survivors.

What’s even more impressive is that the monks aren’t just trying to help in a surprise situation—they are actually trained in disaster relief. That’s right, they’ve prepared themselves in the past to be ready for situations just like this. They are providing victims with tents, water and food. All this even though their own home, including the monastery’s main temple, was severely damaged in the quake.

If there ever was an excuse to tend to one’s own, these monks have it. Yet their first priority has been to look outward to to serve others in need. Sure, there are people who are not affiliated with any religion who do the same. But that’s the point. These monks happen to be part of a religion that believes in helping others, but that’s not what drives them. What drives them is the basic and noble human desire to do what is right. Being part of an organized religion just makes it that much easier for them to do it quickly and effectively.

Source. The Chicago Times Post