I cringed when I heard that some evangelical Christians have begun to speculate that perhaps we are seeing all these disasters like the one in Haiti because God is now seeking to punish us for going astray. I had to cringe. Because the idea that if something bad happens to you then you must’ve done something to make God mad at you is just plain ridiculous.
Bad things happen to good people all the time. On the surface this doesn’t seem fair, but disasters are a part of life. And yes when a disaster such as the quake in Haiti claims many human lives it is a tragedy of epic proportions. But it’s not necessarily because people like the Haitians did something that made God mad.
Quite simply, natural disasters in the world, from a religious standpoint, are another of the temporal effects of the original sin of Adam and Eve. Not only did their actions cause us, the human race that they created, to inherit a corrupted nature and a comparatively frail and weak physical form, but their actions had temporal effects on our world as well. In the beginning earth was a paradise, but because of their actions our world is no longer a paradise. It is now a world fraught with imperfection, much like our own selves, corrupted till the very end.
And so we are directed to pray for those people lost to these expressions of our world’s imperfection and the family members and other loved ones they leave behind. And we must also with heavy hearts mourn their passing. For the Haitians and others, while subscribing to cultural beliefs that often times clashed with ours, are not as a people intrinsically evil. They deserve our prayers and our charitable support, not our condemnation for not believing in God. For if all we do is condemn those who do not believe, we will not endear them to us and we will push them further away from the ideal we as Christians seek to show them.