Cory Heidelberger's Madville Times critiques Pat Robertson's moral judgment explanation of the tragedy - and a fascinating theological thread develops in the comments.
Cory hosts a liberal, political blog - yet substantive thoughts about God go on there. Very often, I fear that the church is the place that many go to avoid serious engagement with God. (And from time to time God says just that. ) We need to wander around outside of our "religious Reservations" to get at the real questions, cares, idols, surprises of the Holy Spirit and other things of eternal consequence going on in people's lives.
Cory quotes from Shel Boese, a friend and creative CMA church planter here in Sioux Falls. Click on Shel's name above to read his serious, Biblical Christian treatment of disasters and tragedies (to Robertson, he says "Epic Fail, bro...")
For my part, the words of Jesus that come to mind are
But I tell you: Love your enemies[a] and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. (Matthew 5:44-45)
We are all subject to blessings and disasters in a created order that God called "good" but which has been corrupted from its life-sustaining purpose by human rebellion against the Creator. Like ourselves, the natural world bears the imprint of God's loving, creative work but is also full of deadly and tragic forces.
So, I don't think God "targeted" Haiti with a punitive strike.
Where I think Robertson might be on to something is in the social impact of Haitian spirituality. Haiti is a place where many people really, honestly believe that life is out of their control and run by "the spirits." (Sound familiar, South Dakota? Some of that is present in Native American spirituality as well). When that thinking sets in, there is very little incentive for human effort.
The direct consequence of this in the earthquake is the high loss of life. Building and infrastructure are haphazard, and that is a reality that flows from Haitian spirituality.
Eureka, California suffered a 6.5 earthquake last week. Didn't hear about it? That's because some stuff fell off of shelves but little else happened. I am not claiming that California is somehow a more "Christian" environment - far from it! But the Western thinking there had Christianity's hopeful influence at one time, and there are whiffs of it in the secular humanism that values reason, which is God's gift to help us order and tend our environment.
As I said about SD's divorce rate a few blogs ago, what we believe has a direct impact on how we behave and the attendant circumstances. Haiti's spiritual orientation is a strong part of its endemic social problems. It didn't cause the earthquake, but it makes the impact more costly, the misery more grinding, and the recovery more difficult if not impossible.
On another note, where are the advocates of "Gaia/Mother Earth" theology today? Mommy had a bad day so she had to kill a few hundred thousand of her children?