Editorial: Religious spin on tremors-A A +A
Wednesday, October 16, 2013
IT IS easy to put a religious spin to the quake that devastated parts of Bohol and Cebu, more so because reports about the destruction initially focused and continues to zero in on the damage wrought on churches in Bohol and even on Cebu’s own Basilica del Sto. Niño.
Some say it is a wake-up call for Catholics; others go for the harsher view, that it is a punishment for the church’s wayward ways.
Spins like that will always sound compelling at first blush although these become irrational once you sift through the facts. Like, the earthquake devastated not only churches but other edifices and infrastructure. That takes away any religion-specific interpretation.
And if churches weren’t spared by the quake, can’t this point be also considered as manifestation of a “miracle”: that the tremor struck during a holiday and in the morning when the economic activities of the two islands weren’t at their peak?
In cases like this, the better option is to put primacy on the scientific explanation.
Tremors of tectonic origin are not instruments used to punish certain sectors but caused by the movement along fault lines, in this case the one located near Carmen town in Bohol.
Earthquakes test the integrity of structures. Meaning that the weaker ones are always the first to fall.
That many churches got damaged by the recent quake does not mean that they were specifically targeted for destruction. Rather, churches were only among the weak structures within the quake-hit areas that couldn’t stand 7.2 magnitude tremors.
Those churches, constructed with the sweat and tears of a subjugated people during the early phase of the Christianization of the archipelago by Spain centuries ago, were technically mere piled slabs of stone. No wonder that when these were subjected to prolonged and vicious shaking, some of them were transformed into rubble piles.
In a way, the manner the churches were constructed was consistent with the available technology of the period—-meaning that their devastation is forgivable. That can’t be said of structures built in the present time and which buckled down when the quake struck.
Some people should be held liable for that.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on October 17, 2013.