God in Haiti

   Faced with the human—though not humanitarian—catastrophe in Haiti, many people say “God doesn’t exist, because if He existed and were like they say, He would either not send an earthquake or prevent it altogether, even more so considering that Haiti is such a poor country with so few resources, which will make the tragedy even worse.

   First, God does not send catastrophes. Nature, called “mother” by some people, is imperfect and in some cases it tortures us with its excesses. Thus, an earthquake is not a divine punishment.

   Second, God sent Man to rule over Earth, that is, to study Nature, and this involves predicting earthquakes and mitigating their impact as far as possible. A similar, recent earthquake in Italy has caused three hundred deaths. In Haiti there will be thousands.

   Third, Haiti is very poor, but its latest rulers have been trouble—Papa Doc and his son Baby Doc, atrocious dictators, who established voodoo as the state religion and who, while their fellow citizens were starving, were amassing a fortune abroad; and their successors divided into gangs and factions have done very little to get their people out of poverty, leaving the few university graduates capable of taking their country out of the hole no other choice but to emigrate. God is not to blame for all that, but men.

   Furthermore, good consequences should be drawn from everything—a true and ongoing international cooperation may awaken, heroic and supportive actions may occur, and Haiti may set off on a journey of progress and advancement.

   Finally, given their supernatural view on things, and their awareness that our time on Earth is ephemeral and what matters is eternal life, Haitians are likely to be much closer to the kingdom of God than we are, getting mad because a snowfall upsets our plans for the weekend.

Alejandro Benedicto

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