Friday, May 19, 2017

The Priests Who Survived Hiroshima and Nagasaki

In Hiroshima, a group of eight Jesuit priests lived in a presbytery near the parish church less than a mile away from where the first atomic bomb ever dropped on a city exploded well within the total death and devastation radius. Keep in mind this was a blast that killed 80,000 people almost instantly and up to a total of 140,000 eventually.
All eight priests in their home building sat in the direct kill zone while for miles around nothing but ashes remained. They were not only “virtually unscathed from the effects of the bomb” but none of the group suffered either the ill-effects of radiation or major injuries from the bomb blast.  Furthermore, while their building received some damage, unlike others it still stood.
While it is true that small numbers of other civilians in the blast area survived, all presumably suffered, and most if not all eventually died from radiation sickness.
What is truly miraculous is that radiation sickness did not affect ANY of the Jesuits at that time or decades later.
Why were these eight priests spared in an area of total death and destruction?

"In a strange parallel to what happened at Hiroshima, the Franciscan Friary established by St Maximilian Kolbe in Nagasaki was likewise unaffected by the bomb which fell there. St Maximilian, who was well-known for his devotion to the Blessed Virgin, had decided to go against the advice he had been given to build his friary in a certain location. When the bomb was dropped, the friary was protected from the force of the bomb by an intervening mountain. So both at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, can we see Mary’s protective hand at work?"

Religious Fundamentalists and Zygotic Personhood

Radical 'fundamentalists' believe that because millions of children were not conceived because of "birth control pill" contraception then that makes it evil. Reasonable people see that because unwanted children were not produced, countless suffering has been abolished (e.g., decreases in crime, child abuse, and ecological nightmares). Regardless, with women gaining more control over their reproductive fate, society has changed. Reliable birth control became as easy as taking a pill, which some call the single greatest factor in helping women achieve equality.

Although religious people may debate whether a fertilized egg (zygote) should be accorded the same rights as a child, no one debates that the pill has decreased the suffering of fully formed, multicellular humans.

   Note that "zygotic personhood" (the idea that a fertilized egg is a person) is a recent concept. Historically, many believed that the embryo was not a person until it was 40 days old. Thus, a human did not have a soul have a soul until day 40. 
Note: This was the belief before the invention of Christian fundamentalism one hundred years ago / the movement reflected the cultural disorientation of poorer, more rural, less well-educated Americans in a rapidly urbanizing America, especially in conjunction with WWI.

But perhaps the real issue here is the question of when the soul is created (and by whom)? Some believe that the soul is created at conception (thus making the human coupling the creators). However, I believe that the soul exists much prior to this and is God's creation and that the soul does not even "begin" the long process of incarnating until about the time the embryo loses it's "vestigial tail".