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Is there a Meaning in Natural Disasters? Constructions of Culture, Religion and Science

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This article discusses the various ways Indonesian Muslims and Christians wrestled with the existential issues caused by the tsunami and the earthquake that hit Yogyakarta in 2006. Many of them are strong related to the issues of the theodicy. One of the most compelling ones is the question whether this disaster was a punishment imposed by God. Impressive was how certain Muslims accepted the catastrophe. However, it is remarkable that the answer also often reflected current mutual relationships between Muslims and Christians. Javanese Christians saw the tsunami as a punishment meted out to the Muslims in Aceh, but after the earthquake in Yogyakarta they held a different view. Other people took another attitude and opted for a view in which they, in the name of God, reached out to their neighbours.

Affiliations: 1: Indonesian Consortium for Religious Studies (ICRS-Yogya), Yogyakarta, Indonesia


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