Does God Hate Haiti?

Q: Many have criticized Pat Robertson’s suggestion that the catastrophic earthquake in Haiti was the work of the devil or … Continued

Q: Many have criticized Pat Robertson’s suggestion that the catastrophic earthquake in Haiti was the work of the devil or a form of divine punishment. But if one believes God is good and intervenes in the world, why does God allow innocents to suffer? What is the best scriptural text or explanation of that problem you’ve ever read?

The images streaming in from Haiti look like scenes from Dante’s Inferno. The scale of the calamity is unprecedented. In many ways, Haiti has almost ceased to exist.

The earthquake that will forever change that nation came as subterranean plates shifted about six miles under the surface of the earth, along a fault line that had threatened trouble for centuries. But no one saw a quake of this magnitude coming. The 7.0 quake came like a nightmare, with the city of Port-au-Prince crumbling, entire villages collapsing, bodies flying in the air and crushed under mountains of debris. Orphanages, churches, markets, homes, and government buildings all collapsed. Civil government has virtually ceased to function. Without power, communication has been cut off and rescue efforts are seriously hampered. Bodies are piling up, hope is running out, and help, though on the way, will not arrive in time for many victims.

Even as boots are finally hitting the ground and relief efforts are reaching the island, estimates of the death toll range as high as 500,000. Given the mountainous terrain and densely populated villages that had been hanging along the fault line, entire villages may have disappeared. The Western Hemisphere’s most impoverished nation has experienced a catastrophe that appears almost apocalyptic.

In truth, it is hard not to describe the earthquake as a disaster of biblical proportions. It certainly looks as if the wrath of God has fallen upon the Caribbean nation. Add to this the fact that Haiti is well known for its history of religious syncretism — mixing elements of various faiths, including occult practices. The nation is known for voodoo, sorcery, and a Catholic tradition that has been greatly influenced by the occult.

Haiti’s history is a catalog of political disasters, one after the other. In one account of the nation’s fight for independence from the French in the late 18th century, representatives of the nation are said to have made a pact with the Devil to throw off the French. According to this account, the Haitians considered the French as Catholics and wanted to side with whomever would oppose the French. Thus, some would use that tradition to explain all that has marked the tragedy of Haitian history — including now the earthquake of January 12, 2010.

Does God hate Haiti? That is the conclusion reached by many, who point to the earthquake as a sign of God’s direct and observable judgment.

God does judge the nations — all of them — and God will judge the nations. His judgment is perfect and his justice is sure. He rules over all the nations and his sovereign will is demonstrated in the rising and falling of nations and empires and peoples. Every molecule of matter obeys his command, and the earthquakes reveal his reign — as do the tides of relief and assistance flowing into Haiti right now.

A faithful Christian cannot accept the claim that God is a bystander in world events. The Bible clearly claims the sovereign rule of God over all his creation, all of the time. We have no right to claim that God was surprised by the earthquake in Haiti, or to allow that God could not have prevented it from happening.

God’s rule over creation involves both direct and indirect acts, but his rule is constant. The universe, even after the consequences of the Fall, still demonstrates the character of God in all its dimensions, objects, and occurrences. And yet, we have no right to claim that we know why a disaster like the earthquake in Haiti happened at just that place and at just that moment.

The arrogance of human presumption is a real and present danger. We can trace the effects of a drunk driver to a car accident, but we cannot trace the effects of voodoo to an earthquake — at least not so directly. Will God judge Haiti for its spiritual darkness? Of course. Is the judgment of God something we can claim to understand in this sense — in the present? No, we are not given that knowledge. Jesus himself warned his disciples against this kind of presumption.

Why did no earthquake shake Nazi Germany? Why did no tsunami swallow up the killing fields of Cambodia? Why did Hurricane Katrina destroy far more evangelical churches than casinos? Why do so many murderous dictators live to old age while many missionaries die young?

Does God hate Haiti? God hates sin, and will punish both individual sinners and nations. But that means that every individual and every nation will be found guilty when measured by the standard of God’s perfect righteousness. God does hate sin, but if God merely hated Haiti, there would be no missionaries there; there would be no aid streaming to the nation; there would be no rescue efforts — there would be no hope.

The earthquake in Haiti, like every other earthly disaster, reminds us that creation groans under the weight of sin and the judgment of God. This is true for every cell in our bodies, even as it is for the crust of the earth at every point on the globe. The entire cosmos awaits the revelation of the glory of the coming Lord. Creation cries out for the hope of the New Creation.

In other words, the earthquake reminds us that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the only real message of hope. The cross of Christ declares that Jesus loves Haiti — and the Haitian people are the objects of his love. Christ would have us show the Haitian nation his love, and share his Gospel. In the midst of this unspeakable tragedy, Christ would have us rush to aid the suffering people of Haiti, and rush to tell the Haitian people of his love, his cross, and salvation in his name alone.

Everything about the tragedy in Haiti points to our need for redemption. This tragedy may lead to a new openness to the Gospel among the Haitian people. That will be to the glory of God. In the meantime, Christ’s people must do everything we can to alleviate the suffering, bind up the wounded, and comfort the grieving. If Christ’s people are called to do this, how can we say that God hates Haiti?

If you have any doubts about this, take your Bible and turn to John 3:16. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. That is God’s message to Haiti.

  • GMartin-Royle

    Every post on here has a request to report an offensive comment beneath it. What a great pity that the original offering does not also give that opportunity. I find R. Albert Mohler Jr’s article highly offensive. He offers nothing to the Haitians but a set of myths.If this god that you go on about is so powerful, why did it set in motion the events that led to the earthquake in the first place?If this god that you go on about is responsible for all creation, then it follows that it is responsible for the creation of sin and the creation of evil. A creature that is capable of acts like that is not worthy of worship. If it existed, it would only be worthy of condemnation.

  • BlaiseP

    Oh Please! A ship badly constructed got caught in a gale and went down, all on board drowned.And you would curse God for creating the ocean, the wind and the rain. A band of Innuit went out into a blizzard and froze to death.And you would curse God for creating the snow.Greedy, corrupt men constructed flimsy houses. Millions of people lived in them. The plates underneath their houses moved and the houses collapsed with tremendous loss of life.And you would curse God for creating the earth.It’s men, not God, who lay waste to the earth, prey on the poor, and kill their fellow men.

  • justillthennow

    “Does God hate Haiti? That is the conclusion reached by many, who point to the earthquake as a sign of God’s direct and observable judgment.”This is a pathetic statement that is a sign of Christians direct and observable ignorance and prejudice. It is depressing to think that people seriously entertain these delusions. But then it is probably some of the same idiots that call themselves lovers of God that believe that Obama is the anti-Christ. Jesus!”A faithful Christian cannot accept the claim that God is a bystander in world events.”A rational mind can make no such claim. That thinking mind, if drawing a conclusion, would more likely say that God indeed is a bystander, allowing us the opportunity to use the free will He gave us to the effect that WE realize.”The Bible clearly claims the sovereign rule of God over all his creation, all of the time.”"We have no right to claim that God was surprised by the earthquake in Haiti, or to allow that God could not have prevented it from happening.”No right to claim? Are you serious?”The nation is known for voodoo, sorcery, and a Catholic tradition that has been greatly influenced by the occult.”Please come out of dark ages mentality, Christians! The occult is not inherently evil, (of course to your closed and superstitious conditioned minds ANY other spiritual path is evil!!!). It is just another set of rituals organized for worship and practice. It does not necessarily call the Lucifer or evil, uses age old symbolism that predates Christianity, (which itself uses related symbolism!), and usually has the intent toward betterment. Stop believing lies of the Church!”The earthquake in Haiti, like every other earthly disaster, reminds us that creation groans under the weight of sin and the judgment of God.”The earthquake in Haiti reminds us that the earth is a living and active environment, a changeable place and that we live at that effect. “weight of sin and judgment of God” is utter garbage. Use a brain cell.there are so many statements in this essay that are baseless and mythbuilding, and only serve to keep the faithful faithful. And in Ignorance. Please wake up, People!!!

  • justillthennow

    Hello BlaiseP , Do not continue to believe Church propaganda. The occult is not inherently evil, any more than the Church is. Both have been and continue to be used for what you may call evil purposes, as anything in life can be. Santeria is not inherently evil, nor Native American ritual, the Sundance, Kabbalism, Hinduism or Zen Buddhism. They are all just different ways of relating to and referencing individual and societal connections to life and the cosmos. The Tetragrammaton is not evil, but a depiction of free will, man the manipulator, the ability to manifest and create, as humans are able to do. It is an ancient symbol that defines the creative. The Church has done harsh evil, (all branches, not just historical Catholicism), in the persecution and prosecution of ‘non-believers’ and non-adherents’. They were, (and continue to be, if only through the ignorant fear and loathing that you evidence in your statement), bloodthirsty and ruthless in their attempts to eliminate pagan and indigenous religious practices. If there is a God, and I believe in that, then judgment surely comes down harsh on the murderers that pushed these genocides and purges.

  • BlaiseP

    Not for me to dispute the merits of voodoo. Nor to engage with JTTN who can stay as anti-Catholic as he wants (should maybe join the Jacobins?). But to note that Haitians purport to be Christian: 80% Catholic and 16% Protestant (of which 10% Baptist). At the same time we are told (CIA factbook) Now So something is very wrong with the spiritual DNA of the country. You cannot cling to Jesus Christ by day and indulge yourself by calling up Satan by night.

  • revmaines

    The L-rd revealed to me that there would be one or two smaller earthquakes before a great earthquake will hit the North American continent. I wrote this on my blog on Jan. 7: I believe the L-rd has spoken to me that a great earthquake will hit North America. I think the great earthquake may hit in the time August/September of this year or 2011. I am unsure of the time. I must spend more time in prayer and listen.However, sometimes the L-rd will confirm the word He gives me by allowing a smaller version of the prophecy to be fulfilled first. I would not be surprised if we saw an earthquake in North America sometime soon as a confirmation, or perhaps even two smaller shakes as confirmations. If this is from the L-rd, He will confirm it and it will come to pass.”

  • justillthennow

    BlaiseP,Just to further clarify my point:”You cannot cling to Jesus Christ by day and indulge yourself by calling up Satan by night.”Your assumption here is that “voodoo” and occult is solely intended toward “calling up Satan”. This is invalid, even if it is believed by the ignorant. And the ignorant here definitely includes those that buy into the prevalent yet false propaganda originating in Church doctrine to discredit competing religions, paganism included. To believe those lies is to buy tainted goods. Occultism, paganism, and voodoo, along with a long list of competition to Christianity, is not innately satanic or evil.May the truth of that light burn through some of the darkness surrounding this fallacy.Peace.

  • Navin1

    It seems to me that 99% of “christians” celebrate the pagan traditions of the winter solstice and the rising of the sacrificed son of god in the equinox. It seems to me that most of “christians” worship the evil one when they horde money in bank accounts, fail to live as an impoverished jesus, and do satanic rituals of ritual human sacrifice.Of course if you can define this person as christian and not that person (see TTY’s denial of Hitler’s catholic christianity and the protestants that supported him) then you can choose who is christian enough to be an acceptable model. Of course that whole argument is nonsense. It would be far easier to conclude that the Voodoo gods were upset at the Haitians for having embraced so much christianity, likewise the New Orleaners, the people in the Twin Towers… and decided to clear it out to let them start worshiping the Voodoo gods freely without the taint of the demon worshiping christians.Or is that too symmetric an argument?hariaum

  • Climacus1

    Hogwash. I don’t have to be deeply schooled in order to see when someone is being inhumane. The Haitians caused their own destruction? How can you be so certain Mr. Mohler? Looking at books, looking at the past isn’t going to make everything completely black and white. The view of why the earthquake occurred as it stands is that Haiti was not adequately built to withstand an earthquake due to its poor economy. Also, its underlying composition made it ripe for an earthquake.I would think words and action should be redirected to help them rebuild their country or at least find possible solutions apart from taking care of their basic necessities, not on religious dogma.After all if it happened to us, wouldn’t we want to be helped? Perhaps you may think “Would they judge us as I am judging them?” Who knows, maybe not. They could be actually much nicer than you seem. After all, you don’t seem to be very giving. Love thy neighbor and love thy enemy. However that goes. You aren’t being very Christian yourself.

  • Climacus1

    Hogwash. I don’t have to be deeply schooled in order to see when someone is being inhumane. The Haitians caused their own destruction? How can you be so certain Mr. Mohler? Looking at books, looking at the past isn’t going to make everything completely black and white. The view of why the earthquake occurred as it stands is that Haiti was not adequately built to withstand an earthquake due to its poor economy. Also, its underlying composition made it ripe for an earthquake.I would think words and action should be redirected to help them rebuild their country or at least find possible solutions apart from taking care of their basic necessities, not on religious dogma.After all if it happened to us, wouldn’t we want to be helped? Perhaps you may think “Would they judge us as I am judging them?” Who knows, maybe not. They could be actually much nicer than you seem. After all, you don’t seem to be very giving. Love thy neighbor and love thy enemy. However that goes. You aren’t being very Christian yourself.

  • Climacus1

    I apologize for posting my comment twice. I accidentally did that.

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    Mr. Mohler, as I’ve told you before, you are a dangerous man. Your Tiller the Killer mantra, your endless support of hateful propaganda, surely contributed to the murder of the doctor in the Cathedral.The tragedy is that you have a public voice, that the vulnerable believe you, among them those who have lost loved ones in Haiti.Yours is a religion of the deepest hatred. You loathe your fellow human, and for that I pity you. You are poisoning your soul.

  • UB1-2

    My heart sank when I heard people saying God did this to them. These religious scholars should know Jesus absolves sinners from being guilty of causing specific catastrophes, Luke 13:1-9, even though they like to point the finger at them. If off-based religion, sinners, or even pagan practices caused specific catastrophes, none of us would be alive. However, Jesus does issue the warning to repent (live like there is a real and living God, cooperate with Him, and produce some Godly fruit as a result), or eventually perish in a similar manner (which is to perish without God – not necessarily by a specific catastrophe). If you really want to point fingers, the remainder of Luke 13 (v. 15) says the hypocrisy of the religious leaders of the world, have brought upon the earth sickness and catastrophes. It’s not the fault of individual victims, like Haitians or, as in this passage, the daughter of Abraham bent over by a spirit found right in the synagogue. As people of faith, if we’re looking for guilt, let’s not be so arrogant to absolve ourselves.

  • rdpch

    “The arrogance of human presumption is a real and present danger.”If only the writer had enough self-awareness to understand the real and present danger of his own religious presumptions.

  • BlaiseP

    UB1-2Matter is not sentient, and the earth is constructed of said tectonic plates. We can say God constructed it, as he did all things.These plates move. God has no power to permanently prevent their movement in the same manner as he has no power to The sins for which the Haitians are suffering were committed by greedy men in the construction of the city. Those poor souls! Like the good Rev. said, all we can do is rush to their aid and help all we can.

  • BlaiseP

    I am most convinced that the sufferings of the Haitians were caused by overcrowding and poor building practices. So far, so logical. But what makes me uneasy is I know occult practices are very much present in Haiti. The Church teaches that the only way for the Devil to gain sway over us is with our own agreement. Practicing the occult is the surest way to open one’s soul to the Evil One. And what happens when a whole nation does so? The Church has always warned against the occult , but it seems to very poor effect in Haiti.

  • grashnak

    God judges the nations? Really?I seem to have missed the parts of history class where god intervened to stop the holocaust, punished slavery, prevented nations from using rape and famine as weapons against oppressed people.Yet you think god bothered to kill a couple of thousand of the poorest people in the western hemisphere because they weren’t christian enough? If your god is anything like you picture him to be, he’s a bloody psycho.

  • clearthinking1

    I agree with Christians’ & Muslims’ basic commandments: 1. One should exploit others suffering to spread one’s own religion. 2. Charity should be done with an ulterior motive to gain power.3. One should identify weakness in another country and culture. Then, instead of letting them correct problems, one should exploit.4. Divide and conquer.5. Always pretend to do charity. This provides the perfect cover for the true agenda.6. Always remember that my god is better than the other’s god. Use this belief to justify and rationalize acts of deception & destruction.7. Religion is about winning and expanding, not about spiritual development.8. Might is right.9. If the whole world can be converted to Islam or Christianity, we will win. Then we will destroy the other inferior religion.10. Peace on Earth and goodwill to mankind – NOT.

  • Athena4

    Riddle me this. Why did the Archbishop of Haiti die in the earthquake? Why was the Catholic cathedral destroyed? Why did so may aid workers of all religious denominations die? And, you really need to get an education on voodoo. It’s a syncretic faith based on Catholicism and the Saints. It’s not the scary stuff from the cheesy zombie movies. Can the ooga-booga stuff.

  • US-conscience

    to most of the commentators…..especially the last 4 or 5.I suggest you actually read the whole essay before you comment, otherwise you just look dreadfully foolish and more than a tad bit ignorant.

  • US-conscience

    athena4 – your another perfect example !!!! Please read the comment just under yours.

  • Danial12

    Religious thinking, the ultimate embracing of superstition, is the path of least resistance for our cognitive systems. By contrast, disbelief is generally the work of deliberate, effortful work in critical thinking, against our natural superstitious dispositions. Because most people have been taught not to think for themselves – and in fact dislike thinking for themselves — this is hardly the easiest ideology to propagate.Adolescent cognition leads children to all sorts of supernatural beliefs about how the world works. As they grow up the inclination to illogical supernatural beliefs remains as superstitions about such things as Friday the 13th, breaking mirrors, walking under ladders, fear of black cats…and, greatest of all superstitions, religion.Common superstitions can be described as beliefs that have no rational basis or supporting facts, such as the belief in god. Some superstitions may be “amusing”, while others may profoundly affect choices made in life. None is based in fact, but most have roots deep in tradition and history. Source of all superstitions is in the irrational and illogical belief in the existence of god. Rationalism and conscience obliterate any need for faith in unseen, unprovable sky gods. When humans lose sight of rationalism, irrational and dogmatic religions arise which are morally deficient, elevating to moral status ancient, arbitrary, and ill-informed rules—taboos on eating pork, for example, as well as dress codes and sexual practices—possibly designed for reasons of hygiene or even mere politics in a bygone era.Fortunately, as science, the scientific method, and critical thinking skills become more commonplace in our society, religion is more debunked because civilized people lose their primitive fears of what was not previously explained or thought through. Simply put, belief in god is simply no longer necessary, and has never been rational. Even Albert Einstein described belief in God as “childish superstition” and said Jews were not the chosen people, in a letter recently sold in a London auction.There is, in fact, no god, nor even a hint of proof of god. It is all magical thinking. Ever wonder why god cures the lame so they can walk, and so people can get out of wheelchairs – but he never cures amputees? Because there is no god.

  • persiflage

    Albert Mohler in a nutshell:’The earthquake in Haiti, like every other earthly disaster, reminds us that creation groans under the weight of sin and the judgment of God. This is true for every cell in our bodies, even as it is for the crust of the earth at every point on the globe. The entire cosmos awaits the revelation of the glory of the coming Lord. Creation cries out for the hope of the New Creation.’Total fundamentalist claptrap from start to finish. God loves man, God hates sin, blah, blah, blah – a page from the Pat Robertson playbook. The ignorance perpetrated by certain religious persuasions is appalling……PS. We know WHAT causes earthquakes and we have zero evidence that there’s a WHO in that equation. Natural disasters such as earthquakes and tidal waves can cause immense suffering, and nature is unpredictable. So here comes religion, blaming the victims. What a way to sell your product! To attribute this natural cycle of planetary dynamics to man’s propensity for sinning is really beyond the pale.

  • cornbread_r2

    To summarize R. Albert Mohler’s piece as I understand it:God punishes individuals and nations for their sins, but it’s presumptuous to designate a particular natural disaster as an act of punishment. Sometimes God allows natural disasters to happen, or not happen, to the righteous and the wicked for no discernible reason.————If it’s presumtuous to assume that a particular natural disaster is an act of God’s righteous indignation, wouldn’t it also be presumtuous to assume that it isn’t? What if God intended that the Haitians suffer horriby? Wouldn’t Christians giving aid there now be mitigating against his will? While one might postulate that God wouldn’t hold their ignorance against them, that doesn’t get to the question of how a Christian ever knows for sure whether they are doing God’s will or working against it.Some Christian apologists argue that athesits have no moral compass — they have no objective standard that tells them right from wrong. Given the uncertainties outlined above, I’m not seeing how a believer in a god — which does not make it’s will explicitly known — is on any firmer footing.

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