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  Global Views
Reflection on Religion
The World Can Be A Scary Place
By Prof. David Carlson
Religious Columnist
Ebola is a rare but deadly virus that causes bleeding inside and outside the body. It destroys the immune system and organs, leading to severe and uncontrollable bleeding. The disease kills up to 90% of the infected.

With the extensive recent news of the deadly outbreak of the Ebola virus in Africa, and the fear of its spread worldwide, a person could easily become very anxious.

After all, it is said to be incurable, and carries a very high mortality rate. The disease sounds horrible, and yet most of us might have the feeling that: “it will never come here,” or “it will never happen to me.”

After all, Africa is so far away from most of us. Indeed, most of us will probably never have any kind of first-hand experience of the virus, and will go on living our lives as if the world never changed, and the virus does not even exist.

Still, the world is, in fact, going through enormous changes, as evidenced by the problems in the Ukraine, the Middle East, the rise of a new Islamic caliphate, and threats of increasing storms and calamities of nature, just to mention a few examples.

These changes do affect us, certainly in the long-term economic impact. This is something we all feel. It might be wise, therefore, for a person to stop and reflect upon their life. Am I living in a decent manner? Am I acting kindly towards other people? Am I living a good life, a life other people would respect?

Or, am I acting selfishly, greedily seeking after material comforts of one kind or another? Our present situation affords us a good opportunity to stop and think of ways in which each of us might become a “better” person. We might try harder to change one or two of our bad habits.

Or, we might make a conscious effort to act more kindly towards those we meet on a daily basis. Or, we might contribute more of our time to some charitable activity. The possibilities are nearly endless.

The issue is whether or not we are willing to make the extra effort. We can easily become so busy in our daily activities that we have no time left over. We often feel as if we have “no time” even for some of the things we might like to do.

Yet, if we are honest with ourselves, we can realize that it would not take too much extra effort just to make small changes here and there, and soon we would begin to see larger changes. That, in turn, would inspire us to even greater efforts.

We might never have to worry about being quarantined for an Ebola virus outbreak, and fighting for our very life, but the small changes we can make today in our lives, are a small step towards a better future, and a happier, more productive and meaningful life.



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The above writer, Prof. David Carlson of CheongShim Graduate School of Theology in Cheongpyeong, S. Korea, serves as religious columnist for The Seoul Times. The prominent American religious scholar has been living in S. Korea since he came to Seoul in mid-1970s.

 

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