Using Haiti

Between Danny Glover’s gaia comment and Pat Robertson’s divine punishment theory, the tragedy in Haiti has been a plentiful source for pseudo-theological and bone-head political sniping. There are other responses that, to my knowledge, have not yet made it to the news. Apocalypse-seeking Protestants know that an upswing in seismic activity is a harbinger of the end, so they are probably gleeful in their own twisted way.

And then there’s the atheists. We like to use things like this to point out the seeming arbitrary nature of God’s goodness and justice, use it (after some tasteful amount of time has passed) as proof that God doesn’t exist. “God could have stopped it, and he chose not to!” we like to cry.

Isn’t that using the Haitians in the same way as Glover, Robertson, et. al?

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One thought on “Using Haiti

  1. Jared Olar says:

    Very good point.

    Whenever there are natural or manmade disasters, Christians will inevitably wonder to what extent it might be an expression of God’s judgment. Yet in St. Luke’s Gospel, Jesus asks us to consider whether or not people who were killed in a Roman massacre or who died when a tower fell on them were worse sinners than everyone else. They weren’t, He said, warning us that we also are in danger of a like fate unless we repent. That is, He prescinds from telling us whether or not those who were killed were being cursed or punished for their sins (maybe they were, maybe they weren’t), and tells us to pay attention to the state of our own souls instead.

    Elsewhere Jesus says, “God sends rain on the just and the unjust.” That rain can provide water to drink and an abundant harvest, giving sustenance to both the just and unjust — and it can produce calamitous floods that destroy the lives and livelihoods of both the just and the unjust. The Lord doesn’t give us the luxury of seeing ourselves and our concerns in isolation from those of our neighbors (even when our neighbors are among the evildoers) — we’re all in this together, and we all have souls in peril and will someday be called to give an account of what we did with the gifts God gave us, and how we responded to the challenges and sufferings that came our way.

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