World Press Photo Winner Shows Faith in the Face of Adversity… So Why Does It Make Me Despair?

Looking at this photo and reading the caption (both courtesy of the Guardian), produces contrasting emotions.

Good for these believers, and more power to them, if they snatch some dignity or some sense of social cohesion or even meaning from the destruction (though I can’t quite fathom what the Almighty’s message might be).

At the same time… I’m gobsmacked that that’s how they spend what energy they have — carrying around their relics, honoring and thanking the very God who unleashed all that annihilation and misery on them in the first place.

Aren’t there wounded and bereaved to tend to, items to be salvaged, shelters to be built?

I spend much of my time trying to grasp where religious people are coming from. Depressingly, sometimes it seems that the more I learn, the less I understand.

Photographer Phillipe Lopez gives some background on the image here.

About Terry Firma

Terry Firma, though born and Journalism-school-educated in Europe, has lived in the U.S. for the past 20-odd years. Stateside, his feature articles have been published in the New York Times, Reason, Rolling Stone, Playboy, and Wired. Terry is the founder and Main Mischief Maker of Moral Compass, a site that pokes fun at the delusional claim by people of faith that a belief in God equips them with superior moral standards.


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