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Haiti’s horrendous earthquake disaster

Should we help and why?

by

Published: 21 January 2010(GMT+10)

Photo iStockphoto.com

Richter scale

Due to the ability to receive almost instantaneous news and media coverage from around the world, the global community once again is in shock at the epic tragedy unfolding in Haiti due to an earthquake that rocked the small island nation.

Haiti is located in the Caribbean off the south east corner of the United States and is listed as the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. At 4.53pm on the afternoon of 12 January 2010 an earthquake of 7 magnitude on the Richter scale hit the island at a depth of 13km (8.1 miles) with its epicenter located only 25km (16 miles) from the nation’s capital of Port-au-Prince. There have been over 30 aftershocks.

In recent years many Christians aware of the plight of the impoverished Haitians, particularly from the US, have been involved in aid programs and direct efforts such as organized mission trips to the nation. Many are wondering then why such a disadvantaged nation seems to have been ‘punished’ in such a way, and as usual at these times of massive tragedy people are asking the question, “How could a God of love allow such things to happen?” It even appears that some Christian aid workers may have been killed in the earthquake. No doubt many Christians may even say that the answer lies in Haiti’s pagan roots and its well advertised dalliance with voodooism etc. In reality, these are fairly trite answers, because how would one then explain when tragedies befall supposedly Christian nations (For example, read Australia’s 2009 bushfire disaster that shocked a nation below). Even if voodooism was widely practiced we are not in a position to attribute the disaster to such practices alone. Did these Haitians suffer this way because they were worse sinners than any others? (Luke 13:1-4). What we can know about such catastrophes lies in the book of Genesis.

Photo iStockphoto.com

Rubble

Quite simply, we should recognize that this creation is fallen and cursed because of sin. Both believers and non-believers are not exempt from this curse, and conversely non-believers are not exempt from the blessing that God occasionally pours onto all mankind (Matthew 5:45). In Genesis 3:16–18 we learn that it was not only human beings that suffered the effects of the Curse, but also the ground (the earth), the plants and obviously also the animals. Romans 8 reminds us that the whole creation groans and travails today under this same Curse and is now waiting for the day when it will be released from bondage. This is when the new heavens and new Earth are created, restoring creation to its pre-Fall state (Revelation 21 and 22). At that time, believers, because they have accepted Christ, will be relieved from the pain and suffering of this world when they are redeemed into the next one.

We have written much on the subject of why bad things happen in this world—we strongly recommend that you read the following articles to avoid repeating it all here:

Why would a loving God allow death and suffering?

Is death a good or a bad thing?

The December 26, 2004 tsunami that killed 200,000 people

Australia’s 2009 bushfire disaster that shocked a nation

There is also a whole section on death and suffering answers in our Q and A section.

An outpouring of compassion

Because Haiti is a desperately poor country with a substandard infrastructure by western standards, its ability to rebound and recover from such devastation is also limited. Many leaders in its government have been killed. Similarly its police force and so on. There are no basic services operating such as electricity and running water. The hospitals that existed have been destroyed.

The fact that many Christians were already working in their country is a testimony to the Gospel, based upon the tenet of ‘Love thy neighbor as thyself’.

The fact that many Christians were already working in Haiti is a testimony to the Gospel, based upon the tenet of “Love thy neighbor as thyself”. The passage in Mark 12:30–31 reads as follows:

And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.

Notice that these are specified by the Lord Jesus as the greatest commandments, but the second one is actually an outflowing of the first. Quite simply, if one does not love God and understand that the Lord Jesus Christ came to this Earth to reveal God’s love to mankind, then one is actually unlikely to display the same demeanor to one’s fellow human beings.

A logical consequence of a Christian worldview

For example, at such times of international tragedies it is usually those nations whose foundations and democracies were based upon biblical laws and attributes that are the first to respond with aid and financial help.1 Although many of them can hardly be described as Christian nations anymore, the foundational principles have remained as part of the culture. These include major western nations such as the United Kingdom, Canada, the United States, Australia, New Zealand, France and so on. It was also noted that when the Boxing Day (December 26 tsunami of 2004) struck the coast of Indonesia that although it was a Muslim nation, once again it was the western nations who responded the most quickly and provided the most aid money. Australia, which has a small economy compared to the rest of the aforementioned nations, gave a staggering one billion dollars (AU). This was more than any other country. By contrast, Indonesia’s fabulously wealthy Muslim counterparts in the Middle East gave paltry amounts in comparison (although many did increase their aid after being stung by media criticism of their poor response).

Of course, unless one has a Judeo–Christian worldview, which advocates such charitable works, then one has no logical basis for doing them. We are not saying that atheists cannot be charitable, but that they have no logically consistent reason for being so. After all, one might consider that in the Darwinian big picture of survival of the fittest then this earthquake, or even famines in Africa, for example, might actually be a good thing, because it will cull out the weak who are diminishing the human gene pool with inferior genes.

Atheists have been stung hard by this obvious flaw in reasoning by creationists in recent years and as such are trying to rehabilitate their reputation. … Of course, unless one has a Christian worldview, which advocates such charitable works, then one has no logical basis for doing them.

Atheists have been stung hard by creationists pointing out this obvious flaw in atheistic reasoning in recent years and as such are trying to rehabilitate their reputation. Some years ago, noted anticreationist Richard Dawkins was interviewed on radio and said:

“I’m a passionate Darwinian when it comes to science, when it comes to explaining the world, but I’m a passionate anti-Darwinian when it comes to morality and politics.”2

In effect, what he is saying is that he would like to live in a nice moral (dare we say Christian world?), without actually being a Christian or having the ‘spiritual baggage’ that goes along with living in such a nice world. Darwinian evolution can provide no such foundation in its dog-eat-dog scenario. In fact, in the last century many more people have been killed in wars and fights due to, or invoked by, leaders who espoused Marxist/Darwinian views of survival of the fittest. Read The bloodstained legacy of evolution. Now The Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science has a website where it is encouraging non-believers (specifically) to give aid to Haiti.3 This seems almost to be an oxymoron. If you are a non-believer why do you believe you should give aid? After all, what does one believe in to inspire one to give aid? Indeed Dawkins has even defended the idea of eugenics—that is breeding people and only selecting those with favourable genetic traits.4

Michael Shermer, the Executive Director of the participating Skeptics Society, notes: ‘It’s all well and good to say that we nonbelievers are just as moral as believers (we are, but that’s a philosophical point)—actions count more than words and real donations are where the theoretical rubber meets the practical road. This is our time to pony up and show the world our true character’” (Emphasis ours).5

When it comes to character the Lord Jesus Christ had a bit to say about that:

So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honoured by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you” (Matthew 6:2-4), (emphasis ours).

There are dozens of verses in Scripture that advocate caring and giving for the disadvantaged. In the parable outlined in Matthew 25 there is actually a severe warning about the consequences of not helping others, which culminates in the statement:

… I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me” (Matthew 25:40).

Our motivation is the example Christ set. When He walked this Earth and healed the sick, fed the hungry and advocated clothing the poor, He was actually reversing the Curse and displaying God’s compassion for human beings—the very same ones that He shed His blood for.

Evolution says death is normal—‘good’, in fact, because it allegedly ultimately led to all life we see on Earth including human beings. In light of Shermer’s words (above), the atheists’ motivation for giving seems to be, in some measure at least, simply for show—to try and prove that the Christian foundation for ethics and morality is wrong. But please understand that it is not just creationists who have shown the logical consequences of an evolutionary worldview. The humanist professor of Biological Sciences at Cornel University, William Provine, has often repeated the following statement:

“Let me summarize my views on what modern evolutionary biology tells us loud and clear … There are no gods, no purposes, no goal-directed forces of any kind. There is no life after death. When I die, I am absolutely certain that I am going to be dead. That’s the end for me. There is no ultimate foundation for ethics, no ultimate meaning to life, and no free will for humans, either.”6

The atheist says at the end of it all we just get recycled as organic chemistry into something else. There is no meaning and purpose for our existence. By contrast, the death and struggle that we see in this world should be an indication and reminder that something is wrong with this world (Romans 8). Displaying Christ’s love through tangible means helps people to understand such things, that there is a God and that He loves us.


Related Articles

References

  1. New players seeking influence on the global stage notwithstanding. Whatever its motives, China is to be commended for being one of the first countries on the scene with aid. Return to text.
  2. Richard Dawkins, The Science Show, ABC Radio Australia, 22 January 2000. Return to text.
  3. “Non-Believers Giving Aid”, <givingaid.richarddawkins.net>, 18 January, 2010. Return to text.
  4. “Dawkins and Eugenics”, <creation.com/dawkins-and-eugenics>, 18 January, 2010. Return to text.
  5. “Non-Believers Giving Aid”, <scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2010/01/non-believers_giving_aid.php>, 22 January, 2010. Return to text.
  6. Provine, W.B., Origins Research 16(1), p.9, 1994. Return to text.

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Readers’ comments
Graham P., New Zealand, 21 January 2010

Haiti disaster: Great article as usual, although it may be rather PC to deny the obvious fact that Haiti and New Orleans are famous for witchcraft, immorality and disasters. Jesus himself told Jerusalem (among other places) she would be destroyed for her wickedness, and said she had more blame than Sodom because of His witness there.

His constant rejoinder to healed sick people was “go and sin no more …”.

Jason C., New Zealand, 21 January 2010

Michael Shermer has claimed that atheists are as moral as believers.

In a certain sense he’s correct, in fact I’d go further and say that the atheist is far more moral than the believer.

The Christian has a standard set by God, and the understanding we have is that we cannot ever truly measure up to it. We try certainly, but it always seems there’s a little bit more good we could be doing, a little less evil that we should not be doing.

The atheist meanwhile is more fortunate. As they will regularly insist there is no “atheistic morality” that is, no moral framework on which all atheists agree, hence the only true moral authority for the atheist is the atheist him or herself. Because of this it could truly be said that the desire to do something is all the justification the atheist needs to call it moral.

It doesn’t matter if the thing desired is to send money to Haiti, or kill and eat people. Their desire makes it moral.

Atheists are “moral” because it’s not possible for them to be “immoral” when the only person who sets their rules are themselves.

Of course the atheist may then descend into some discussion of legality and morality, but legality does not make something moral, abortion is legal but it is not moral.

Furthermore they’re then claiming that somehow it’s right for men to enforce their laws on other men, but wrong for God to enforce his laws on men … though then there are the Sartres of the world…

Regards, God bless your ministry.

Jason

Andrew H., Australia, 21 January 2010

Dear Gary

Excellent response and excellent article.

Many Thanks

Andrew H.

Sabin L., Canada, 21 January 2010

I was wondering if any article would come up about the earthquake in Haiti, because obviously to encourage people to donate but also to review the philosophical questions it brings up.

Even in the midst of all this horror, God can still glorify himself. Our church here in Quebec had 60 missionaries in Port-au-Prince (We have been sending missionaries and humanitarian aid to the southern part of Haiti for over 10 years now). They were in their hotel when the earthquake struck, some of them even in their shower. Despite being in a very cheap hotel, the building held strong and when they got outside to safety, they realized that their hotel was in fact the only building in the whole area who hadn’t fallen. God truly showed to them, and to us back here, that despite everything, he was in control.

My prayers go to another missionary group (from Ontario, I think) who lost one person in the earthquake. Finally I would also like to personally encourage everyone to donate as much as they can to the rebuild of this country (via the Red Cross). Haiti was such in a disastrous situation before, but I feel now that this earthquake could lead the country to start off on new grounds and hopefully for the better. Help is needed in the short and long term.

Thanks for publishing me,

God bless

Henry S., United States, 21 January 2010

Greetings in Jesus! Thanks again for all your good work. … .

Nikki N., South Africa, 22 January 2010

Our reaction to the earthquake was to plead God's mercy for ourselves and our own country. There is so much sin … South Africa TURN TO GOD!

George T., Republic of Korea, 22 January 2010

I would like to comment on the question that is raised in disasters like this. i.e. How could a good God allow such evil to occur.

The underlying assumption that seems to accompany this question is that the person asking it seems to imagine that they themselves have a sufficiently high knowledge of good and evil to try and call God to account. They may even imagine their depth of knowledge on the subject to be even greater than that of God Himself.

I would like to suggest that we don’t really understand the complex workings of evil or even good for that matter so it is going to be somewhat arrogant of us to ask that kind of question.

A better question to ask may be “How may God’s name be glorified in a disaster such as this?” The inability of the asker to answer this question says more about their ignorance than it does of the nature of God.

CS Lewis spoke of pain as God’s megaphone to try and get our attention. The question then becomes “What is God saying to me.” The question an outside observer may ask is “Are you prepared to listen to what God has to say?”

Finally the fact that there are churches in Haiti on record giving thanks and praise to God in the midst of all this disaster suggests that the faith of many there is stronger than any earthquake is capable of shaking.

Sue B., South Africa, 29 January 2010

Surely it shows the knowledge of God in each one of us when, when disaster strikes, the immediate reaction amongst non-believers is to blame someone who they recognize as being in a position to make a difference in the situation. It confirms Romans 1:19–20 … because that which is known about God is evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood by what has been made, so that they are without excuse.” Will we grasp this opportunity to speak to others of both the wrath of God and His incredible love and grace?

Stephen and Ruth W., United Kingdom, 21 January 2010

In your article on the earthquake in Haiti, you are not entirely correct to attribute the disaster to the fall in Genesis. Yes, disasters happen because of the fall, but they can also happen because of specific sins, such as Haiti’s dalliance with voodooism (Luke 13:3).

Gary Bates responds

Dear Stephen and Ruth,

Thanks for taking the time to reply. I did specifically address this idea in the article that the nation might be punished in such a way. Of course God might choose to punish a nation but how can we be in a position to judge?

For example, I live in Atlanta and there is heaps of sin in this city, so if tragedy befell it, it would be easy to point to that. But at the same time there are approximately two million Christians here. So what would we think? Choose to point to the sinful behavior or ask why God allowed it to happen to Christians? Hence the point of my article. Rain on the righteous and unrighteous etc. At the end of the day we all deserve death because of our sin and there is no one who is not guilty.

I encourage you to also read the other articles linked in the Haiti article. In Australia’s 2009 bushfire disaster that shocked a nation we wrote:

The simple plain truth is that all of us will eventually face death sooner or later. During Jesus’ time of ministry on Earth, He was asked a similar question of “Why?” In Luke 13:1–4 we read:

There were some present at that very time who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And he answered them, ‘Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.’

Jesus’ answer focussed on the very urgent need for salvation. Their death did not reflect how “bad” they were. Those who died were neither worse nor better than any other sinner. The point was none of us know our appointed time and Jesus was reminding us that we all, therefore, need to be saved. Of course the people in Siloam were not expecting a building to fall on them. In the same way, the victims of 9/11 were not expecting an airplane to come through their window on that fateful morning.

Furthermore, Haiti’s dalliance with voodooism is much likely massively overstated. We get this wrong impression because the practice is relatively unique to that island, but likely only practiced by a handful of the population. So, using my analogy about Atlanta, if one percent of the population practiced witchcraft say in Leicester, would God punish the whole city as a result (we have our UK office there and I know there are many fine Christians in that city)? Furthermore, as the article pointed out, there are dozens of Christians in Haiti now and when the earthquake struck. One church we know had 60 missionaries in Haiti’s capital at the time.

In Genesis we read about Abraham plea-bargaining with God against the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. We read:

20Then the LORD said, “The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great and their sin so grievous 21that I will go down and see if what they have done is as bad as the outcry that has reached me. If not, I will know.”

22The men turned away and went toward Sodom, but Abraham remained standing before the LORD. 23Then Abraham approached him and said: “Will you sweep away the righteous with the wicked? 24What if there are fifty righteous people in the city? Will you really sweep it away and not spare the place for the sake of the fifty righteous people in it? 25Far be it from you to do such a thing—to kill the righteous with the wicked, treating the righteous and the wicked alike. Far be it from you! Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?”

26The LORD said, “If I find fifty righteous people in the city of Sodom, I will spare the whole place for their sake.”

27Then Abraham spoke up again: “Now that I have been so bold as to speak to the Lord, though I am nothing but dust and ashes, 28what if the number of the righteous is five less than fifty? Will you destroy the whole city because of five people?”

“If I find forty-five there,” he said, “I will not destroy it.”

29Once again he spoke to him, “What if only forty are found there?”

He said, “For the sake of forty, I will not do it.”

30Then he said, “May the Lord not be angry, but let me speak. What if only thirty can be found there?”

He answered, “I will not do it if I find thirty there.”

31Abraham said, “Now that I have been so bold as to speak to the Lord, what if only twenty can be found there?”

He said, “For the sake of twenty, I will not destroy it.”

32Then he said, “May the Lord not be angry, but let me speak just once more. What if only ten can be found there?”

He answered, “For the sake of ten, I will not destroy it.”

I agree that God can destroy because of specific sins, but in the case of Sodom He was willing to spare it if a few righteous could be found there. So, once again, I draw to the point that we see many such disasters that Christians (the righteous) also get killed in. As we do not know the mind of God, it is therefore prudent to point to what we do know—that is, that the whole creation groans and travails under the weight of the sin burden it carries from the effects of the curse in Genesis 3. As awful as the tragedy in Haiti is, it actually could provide an opportunity for Christians to respond, share the gospel and help build a Christian foundation in that country.

I trust this helps in the discussion.

Johannes L., Netherlands, 29 January 2010

I don’t agree with the article, despite working my way towards creationism. Haiti is struck much harder than other regions or countries so the argument that the fall in Genesis is the cause does not hold. The fall causes the general destruction and upheaval in the world, not the extra ones. Haiti is known for it’s extreme high rate of AIDS and we know this comes from sexual promiscuity, like in South Africa. The remarks here of Graham P. and Stephen and Ruth W. are very right. Sin can cause sickness and other bad events (Sodom and Gomarrah, John 5,14) but not all sickness is a result of sin (John 9,2). So, let New Orleans and Haiti be a warning to us to change our behaviour, for what is coming to the world now is far worse than what has happened in these areas.

Gary Bates responds

Dear Johannes,

Thank you for your email. I appreciate your comments though you seem to have ignored sections of the article and the previous comments to arrive at your conclusion. Let’s say I am wrong, and that most of Haiti practices voodoo, then you have still not explained why God would allow Christians would be caught up in such a tragedy (rain on the righteous and unrighteousness etc.). Only last week I received an email from another ministry involved in filmmaking that announced the sad news that one of their team had been killed there. He left a wife and young children behind. BTW although some reports would say that most of Haiti is voodoo in religion, I see this as saying that most Australians or American call themselves ‘Christian’. Most people might identify with the culturally most popular religion, but that is a far cry from people actually practicing it.

I also said in the article that God can destroy because of specific sins, but we cannot know for sure why Haiti was affected in such a way. Where God did destroy as mentioned in the Bible we are told why, but we cannot presume to know the same here (unless one is claiming a special ‘hotline’ to God etc.). That’s why I said we can rely upon what we do know and that is the creation is affected by the curse. And of course, God being sovereign, nothing happens unless He allows it anyway. So it could have been for judgment’s sake also, but we do not know that.

Moreover, did you pay attention to the admonishment of Christ who warned those who were judging in such a way in Luke 13:1-4? It was in the comments at the bottom. Jesus was admonishing because people were presupposing the reason why the people perished in such a manner. Let me challenge in a friendly manner by saying that you are doing the same thing here. At the end of the day, whether people practice voodooism or Islam, such people are lost, like many of us once were. Christ came to die for them also.

Earthquakes are not “extra” (although) I have already stated that God can use such things. Jesus warned that earthquakes will increase and so presumably upon the general population too. What about earthquakes in Australia or New Zealand that have occurred? Was that because of specific sin. How can you know?

We could also presume that earthquakes are a continuing legacy of the global destruction that was Noah’s Flood as the world’s geology is still being shaped by the movements of the earth’s plates that were ripped apart not too long ago.

And even if we did think it was because of specific sin then opportunities exist to do something about it to help change the culture there by showing Christ’s love. There are many worthy Christian organizations to support swinging a bat there. If they are practicing voodoo then our call as Christians is to do something about it. Matthew 28:18–20, Matthew 9:37.

The world we live in now is no less sinful because it similarly rejects God. That’s why CMI does what it does in our own mission field.

Kind regards.

Gary Bates

Andrew R., Australia, 2 February 2010

One of the mistakes I think we make when trying to link a particular disaster with a particular sin is that we take too short a view. The tendency is to look at what a nation is doing *right now* in an attempt to determine whether this event is a punishing act of God.

There are multiple examples in the scriptures where national punishment was delayed for various reasons. One of the clearest examples is 2 Sam 21:1 where the drought that Israel was experiencing under the reign of (the good king) David was due to an event 30 or more years before under the reign of (the bad king) Saul.

There seems to be no Biblical warrant to suggest that God does not exercise national punishment today. He did it in the OT. He will do it in Revelation. Why not today?

Jesus’ answer to the question of ‘who caused this’ is universal though. ‘Unless you repent you will likewise perish.’ What we have seen in Haiti (hell on earth) is just a small taste of what the Bible predicts will happen before Jesus’ return (Rev 16:18). And that is in turn just a taste of what all those who reject Jesus can expect for eternity.

May this horrible event motivate us to continue reaching others with the great news of the Gospel.

Clem R., Australia, 2 February 2010

“The Lord Giveth, The Lord Taketh Away; Blessed be the Name of The Lord”

Since when does the pot have the right of censure on the potter? It is called on ALL MANKIND to die once then the judgement. Even Jesus obeyed this command. How then do we have the gall to espouse it was for this sin or for than sin that these people died?

In situations like this let us be joyful that only 200 000 were taken and not 2 000 000. Is the tank half full or half empty, it depends upon your perspective; but as a cautionary note do not be so proud that you seek to sit in judgement of your creator. You are as he intended you to be therefore always remember that “This is the day that the Lord hath made, let us rejoice and be glad in it”. For as surely as night follows day there will come a day for all when you will not be sanctioned to greet the mornng sun.

Russell H., Australia, 2 February 2010

Regarding the discussion about disasters Gary Bates is certainly correct in attributing this to the fall. But it is often missed out that this means that all of this Creation and Adam’s race are “by nature objects of wrath”(Eph. 2:3). That is why christians still die even though Christ died for them. Eternal life is part of the new creation that God has begun in Christ. Because we are all under the death sentence because of sin it is not unjust but just for God to end our life at any time. We continue to live because of His grace and compassion. Some get more than others, but that is God’s choice because compassion is given by the will of the giver and is not earned. That is what Jesus means when he talks to this! issue in Lk.13:1–5. Every day of our lives is a gift from a longsuffering God and so we should make sure we turn to Him and find His forgiveness so we can receive eternal life in the new creation.

John P., Australia, 2 February 2010

Dear Sir, Firstly there has been almost no reporting by the media on Haiti’s practice of voodoo and other occults and black magic. Second, it is still practiced widely and third you must surely know that their country dedicated itself to satan.YOU DO NOT KNOW THE MIND OF CHRIST nor do I. But they would have to be skating on very thin ice.!!!! … . 1 Cor. 22. If you do not love the LORD JESUS CHRIST…let him be accursed. Yes HE is a loving GOD but HE is also a GOD of great wrath.

Gary Bates responds

Thank John,

You might like to read the article again, especially the comment and reply at the bottom to Johannes where I covered this judgment issue once again.

Regards.

Gary Bates

Johanna R., South Africa, 2 February 2010

Sometimes we think we have the answers about thing, but see what Paul says:

‘What a wonderful God we have! How great are his wisdom and knowledge and riches. How impossible it is for us to understand his decisions and his methods! For who among us can know the mind of the Lord? Who knows enough to be his couselor and guide? And who could ever offer to the Lord enough to induce him to act? For everything comes from God alone. Everything lives by his power and everything is for his glory. To him be glory evermore’

(Romans 11:33–35).

So, let us know that He is God and we are just his creation. Sometimes He uses nature and disasters to SPEAK to people..(not necesserily punish) to bring them back to Him…because, perhaps, they do not listen to Him any more. To let them realise He is God and to know that, in their pain and suffering, they need HIM. So, let us pray that it will happen to many of the people in Haiti! At least we know that it is God’s will that all people should follow Him and know Him, because He loves them.

Cathy A., Canada, 2 February 2010

I encourage readers who are interested in what is going on in Haiti to research its political history. The devastation of this unfortunate country started many years ago when the French oppressed and enslaved the people on the sugar plantations. This was followed by a string of ruthless and corrupt dictators. To ask why this tragedy happened is perhaps to ask the wrong question. A more relevant question for the Christian is, “Jesus, what would you have me do?” May they see our good works and glorify our Father in Heaven!

Barry B., Australia, 2 February 2010

Excellent article-God is omnipresent and was / is in Haiti; Do you remember the kids’ chorus we sang in Sunday School-Build on the Rock? The Haitians haven’t built on the sand but have built on an enormous fault line and every one knew sooner or later there’d be the big one; and it happened; thing is to learn from the disaster and build elsewhere. So it comes down to personal responsibility and humans are to blame; God gave intelligence to know and if humans choose danger in place of safety, then humans shouldn’t ask, “Why did a loving God do this!?” Rather, “Why did foolish humans build where they knew disaster would strike?”

Emmie G., South Africa, 2 February 2010

You point out that those nations with a Biblical foundation are the ones to respond in such disasters, and you give a list of countries that have done so. How strange that you should omit Israel! And this in spite of the fact that the Israeli response was one of the largest numerically, in proportion to their numbers (another “disproportionate” Israeli response?), and that their state-of-the-art field hospital was widely admired and reported on. You also say “Unless one has a Christian worldview, one has no logical basis for doing them (charitable works)”. But Judaism has just such a Biblical worldview and the Israelis are known for their treatment of those in need. The words “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as ! thyself” first appear in the Hebrew Bible, not so?

Gary Bates responds

Thanks for your email. You make a good point.

However, the overall implication I was trying to convey was that such charitable works logically stem out of a Christian worldview (maybe I should have said a “Judeo-Christian worldview”). Note that I said that we are not saying atheists cannot be moral. It did not say that non-Christian countries could not perform such charitable work (note the end reference to China), but you actually stated the point I was trying to make , and that is they have no ‘logical’ basis for doing so. “Dog-eat-dog’ survival of the fittest cannot provide the moral code that most human beings would subscribe to.

One more point, just because one did not add a country to a list it does not automatically follow that it means they did not provide aid etc. Dozens of countries gave aid to the efforts after the Boxing Day tsunami, for example.

Once again thanks.

Gary Bates

Patrick P., Australia, 2 February 2010

Just reading your item about the earthquake in Haiti and the presence of Christian workers.

One for the evolutionary atheists who claim that altruism is the result of evolution: Why aren’t the atheists there as well as the Christians?? Where are the atheistic altruistic organisations? If altruism has evolved, why are the Christians more altruistic than the atheists?

Shane M., Australia, 3 February 2010

The writer of the article is entirely correct. To those who disagree in regards to Gods wrath being a result of an extra sinful nation, you are walking a dangerous line. You are not to judge or presume. There’s only one perfect judge and always glad I won’t be judging. Can you imagine how hard it would be. As the writer said, we all deserve to die and go to hell, except for the intervention of Jesus. Nobody is within a billion miles of deserving a better life here or going to heaven compared to anyone else, apart from this act.

Jeff B., Australia, 3 February 2010

Thank you CMI for publishing a well balanced view on this disaster. Disasters like this can either cause Christians to become more Christ like by giving and not pointing the finger or it can cause them to become self-righteous and try and find fault with the people on whom the disaster has befallen.

Personally I find nothing more embarrassing as a Christian myself than when other Christians publicly speak of disasters like Haiti as being God’s specific judgement. Shame on that opinion for daring to take the unconditional out of God’s love and the amazing out of grace.

Lastly let me finish with these questions; is practicing witchcraft or voodoo worse than self-righteousness? Is not all sin rebellion and doesn’t the bible say that rebellion is as witchcraft? If we would use this standard against ourselves as Christians than we would quickly realise that every sin we commit, no matter how small, is itself a form of witchcraft.

Erin H., United States, 3 February 2010

CMI, I would like to thank you for taking time to address issues like this. Although, I have to say I am disheartened by some of the feedback from Christians that feel that the Haitians got what they deserve because of their sin nature. What’s going to happen to me? I support a pastor in Haiti that has lost 200 members of the church due to the earthquake. If this natural disaster was an act of judgment on the part of God, why did allow this small church that feeds the poor, and disciples New Christians to be basically wiped off the map? Wait maybe the Bible can give us some in sight … Romans 8:22 “For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now.” The point is we all need to be saved now because we never know when disaster, natural or manmade, will strike.

Thanks for all you do!

Anthony D., United Kingdom, 4 February 2010

Unfortunately it’s always the case of blaming The Lord when we are hit by disaster. Its the worlds view on things.

Those that do not believe are always first to bring this arguement up in justification of their views. These same people will blame these events on God, but on the other hand will never acknowledge the good things in life coming from God.

I think the article is spot on and i thank you for it. These disasters are a direct result of a broken world, thats slowly running down. The Earth itself is no different from any other living thing or man made creation, everything decays, everything wears down and through it, natural disasters happen.

I’ll be praying for all affected, here in Liverpool, but mostly for those that don’t know the Lord, like the atheists mentioned. God bless.

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