Friday, January 15, 2010

Judgment on Haiti (?)

Someone has claimed that Haiti's disaster is due to the fact that they made a pact with the devil many years ago. The basic idea that they (or some small group of revolutionaries long ago) made a pact with the devil (or some evil spirit) is not necessarily incredible. It's also not incredible that this is the judgment of God on the nation of Haiti. However, there's no good reason to pick out that particular sin as the cause of this judgment. Why not pick out Haiti's particularly loathsome treatment of children (link to report). There are lots of possibilities. It may well be God's judgment. While calamities like this can be and, in Scripture, frequently are the judgment of God, it may be something else. Recall Job. We should not be quick to judge Haiti, but those in Haiti ought seriously to consider why God brought this, and if they find sin, they ought to repent of it.

- TurretinFan

36 comments:

natamllc said...

I had personal experience with both the Dominican Republic and Haiti at their high levels years ago.

I was back in Washington D.C. attending some meetings on one of those trips one time and staying at a friends home, as I typically did back in those days when visiting the Nation's Capital. This house was just inside the beltway. I would drive downtown from this house well enough.

My friend hosted folks like me.

On this particular occasion another guest came to stay. They had just flown in from Port-au-Prince with personal documentation, color photos and the prima facia evidences they were going to bring before the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee later in the week at the Hart building.

I got to see and read a lot of what was happening to Christians in Haiti during those terrible days when Aristide was in power.

What I could explain here would not be pretty.

On the other hand, in comparison, the Dominician Republic seemed to be of a different persuasion and it is a much cleaner place with more civil rule than Haiti. For those who don't know, these two countries share on big Island.

For what it's worth, I am inclined to agree with your assessment of things hereon and leaning more to the side of Godly judgment than as a normal act of nature or man caused global warming.

I was reading somewhere earlier in the day that a celeb thought the cause of that earthquake had direct connections to global warming.

Oh well, earthquakes, for whatever reason or caused by whomever, are Biblical!

Why we just experienced our own 6.5 quake here on the Northcoast of California and I was actually in a place of spiritual prayer when it rolled, rattled, shook and jolted the ground.

I watched Paintings come off the walls, things were knocked over and dropping off the harth of my fireplace, the cat and birds were going nuts and it was a complete mess in every room of my house in a matter of seconds!

I thought to myself just moments afterwards: "geeesh, what was I praying that You should answer me that way, Lord?" :)

Anonymous said...

And we ought to repent of our own sins, lest we also likewise perish.
Godith

David said...

You are a sick person. This post alone shows how far the pseudo-pagan philosophy of Calvinism removes a person from the truth of God in Christ. As tens of thousands of people suffer, die, and mourn you sit it in your safety, a safety purchased at the price of the blood and suffering of others, behind your computer desk and spit on them all over again.

What the hell is wrong with you?

There is nothing of God here.

Turretinfan said...

David,

In your fantasy world (in which you can curse and pretend to speak for God in the same comment), who brought the earthquake?

-TurretinFan

John Bugay said...

David, I would urge you to reconsider your response, and try to look at this post in the spirit with which it was intended.

Turretinfan said...

John:

Your calm response is admirable, but you have to remember that this is the same guy who tried to accuse Calvinism of being a Gnostic sect. Judge for yourself whether he really cares for the truth.

-TurretinFan

John Bugay said...

Oh... I was unfamiliar with the history of it...

Turretinfan said...

He has a whole post demonstrating his heart on this subject here: (link).

Anonymous said...

In all honesty, I find a bit of the attitudes posted on this site to smack of extreme arrogance. It reminds me of the attitude of the Puritans to the death of the Indians by smallpox - They thanked God for wiping the Indians out so that the Puritans could move in and take over already prepared agricultural land. My Church teaches that God does not smite those out of anger, but instead attempts to correct those who have erred in order to bring them to Himself. Speaking for God and determining that this disaster in Haiti is really retribution for the sins of the people is to me a strange attitude and does not fit with the description that God gives of Himself...if He is Love, then how does such an action as retribution in Haiti reflect that? Would we not be better in all humility to leave the reason behind the earthquake to God's own judgment rather than our own and instead simply follow the injunction to pray for our fellow men?

- Jason

Turretinfan said...

"Speaking for God and determining that this disaster in Haiti is really retribution for the sins of the people is to me a strange attitude and does not fit with the description that God gives of Himself...if He is Love, then how does such an action as retribution in Haiti reflect that?"

a) Love is not God's only description of himself.

b) Recall, among many other examples that I could give, Sodom. Do you deny that God brought that judgment? If you do not deny it, why would it be inconsistent with his character to bring this as judgment.

c) Who brought this earthquake, if not God?

"Would we not be better in all humility to leave the reason behind the earthquake to God's own judgment rather than our own and instead simply follow the injunction to pray for our fellow men?"

a) If you read my post as suggesting that we need to try to figure out the reason for the earthquake, or that we can know for sure that it is judgment, you read my post wrong.

b) But, we should take the opportunity to look at this event and remember that Judgment Day is coming for all of us (as I pointed out in the second part of this discussion).

c) If all we are supposed to be doing is praying for other people (and I agree that we should be praying for other people), then it would seem odd to spend your time passing judgment on bloggers and posting your judgment to comment boxes, don't you think? Of course, since I don't agree with your premise, I appreciate your comments.

-TurretinFan

steve said...

I take it from David's comments that Eastern Orthodoxy takes the same position on the problem of natural evil as Rabbi Kushner.

David is apparently a neo-Manichean. He thinks there are to ultimate and opposing principles in the universe. God is responsible for all the good stuff, but another god or gods (e.g. Gaia) is responsible for bad stuff like natural disasters.

And if we don't subscribe to his cosmic dualism, he calls that "sick."

Anonymous said...

Steve, I think you have falsely accused David. No where does he imply anything like what you say. He is looking at the condition of your hearts based on the "fruit" and stating that the tree is rotten. Well, rotten theology will lead to rotten fruit. I agree with David that there is something wrong with a heart that if Christian should reflect the fruits of the spirit (Galatians 22-23) rather than such "righteous judgment." You are so quick to judge or try to find the reason for this disaster that you cannot see your own judgment is twisted and fallen. If we are called to humility by Christ, who is it that calls you and some of the others to judge the people of Haiti and to determine you understand the mind of God well enough to determine the reason behind the earthquake. Really, you would do better to reflect back on your own hearts and your own sins, and save judgment of Haiti and David for God.

- Jason

Turretinfan said...

Jason,

Please answer my questions posed to you above before passing judgment on more people in this comment box.

-TurretinFan

MichaelConners said...

If indeed the Haiti earthquake was a judgment of God I believe that there would be no survivors.

Turretinfan said...

Why do you believe that? There were eight survivor of the great flood.

steve said...

Anonymous said...

“Steve, I think you have falsely accused David. No where does he imply anything like what you say.”

Really? In reference to the Haitian earthquake, he categorically said: “There is nothing of God here.”

So he completely distances God from the earthquake, as if God had nothing to do with it, directly or indirectly. So how is his statement distinguishable from Rabbi Kushner’s?

“He is looking at the condition of your hearts based on the ‘fruit’ and stating that the tree is rotten.”

Since he doesn’t know any of us personally, how would he be in any position to play the role of spiritual fruit-inspector? How does he know what any of us are doing when we’re offline?

“You are so quick to judge or try to find the reason for this disaster that you cannot see your own judgment is twisted and fallen.”

i) The way you try to turn things around is quite revealing. David was the one who was very judgmental: “You are a sick person. This post alone shows how far the pseudo-pagan philosophy of Calvinism removes a person from the truth of God in Christ. As tens of thousands of people suffer, die, and mourn you sit it in your safety, a safety purchased at the price of the blood and suffering of others, behind your computer desk and spit on them all over again. What the hell is wrong with you?”

What does it say about your own partisanship that you turn a blind eye to his judgmentalism why you’re quick to accuse others of the same (alleged) fault?

ii) Quote where I’ve been quick to find the reason for this disaster.

“If we are called to humility by Christ, who is it that calls you and some of the others to judge the people of Haiti and to determine you understand the mind of God well enough to determine the reason behind the earthquake.”

Once again, quote where I “determined the reason behind the earthquake.”

For someone who presumes to charge me with lodging a false accusation, it’s striking to see the freedom with which you indulge in the very practice that you find fault with in others.

“Really, you would do better to reflect back on your own hearts and your own sins, and save judgment of Haiti and David for God.”

Really, you would do better to start taking your own advice for a change.

Lucian said...

Steve,

David has yet to post an article praising God for any of TurretinFan's misfortunes. Until he does that, your argument is moot.

As an aside, I also called Jason despiccable and disgusting once. And got banned on this blog twice.

Turretinfan said...

What an unusual standard, Lucian.

Lucian said...

Why? What's wrong with it?

Turretinfan said...

I'm not sure why it would be necessary for David to praise God for anyone's misfortunes (much less mine specifically) for Steve's comments to be valid.

Lucian said...

Because your post isn't about Haitians being sinful (all men are sinners, so your logic is convoluted), nor is it about presenting a tragedy.

Turretinfan said...

Why you think those comments are relevant is unclear to me. Had not Pat Robertson misspoken about this disaster, I probably would not have taken the chance to correct his error.

natamllc said...

Well,

besides me, is there any of you commentors commenting in here that have had any personal experience with Haiti?

When I ponder these Words from the Prophet Isaiah and think back at what things I saw and read and know about Haiti, I see that as God did to the Jews back then, so He has done here too:::>

Isa 47:8 Now therefore hear this, you lover of pleasures, who sit securely, who say in your heart, "I am, and there is no one besides me; I shall not sit as a widow or know the loss of children":
Isa 47:9 These two things shall come to you in a moment, in one day; the loss of children and widowhood shall come upon you in full measure, in spite of your many sorceries and the great power of your enchantments.
Isa 47:10 You felt secure in your wickedness, you said, "No one sees me"; your wisdom and your knowledge led you astray, and you said in your heart, "I am, and there is no one besides me."
Isa 47:11 But evil shall come upon you, which you will not know how to charm away; disaster shall fall upon you, for which you will not be able to atone; and ruin shall come upon you suddenly, of which you know nothing.

Lee Shelton IV said...

As for the earthquake being an example of God's judgment, I tend to look at it in light of Jesus' words in Luke 13: "No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish."

But I also have another perspective. My wife and I are in the process of adopting a brother and sister from Haiti, and as a result of the quake they are traveling here much sooner than they otherwise would have. God's judgment or not, we certainly see the blessing in the midst of all the pain and suffering.

Turretinfan said...

LS4:

As to the first part, I agree and I brought that out in the next post (link).

As to the second part, I'm glad to hear that good aspect to the event.

Andrew said...

How you Sectarians can come up with such dishonest sophisms to try to whistle away your inconsistencies and internal contradictions is shocking. You actually are prepared to tell lies in order to defend you error. Perhaps Calvinists really are possessed by demons; Calvinists are certainly evil, cruel and malicious. Perhaps demonization explains that.

turretinfan said...

Andrew:
Rome's a great example of a sect, as opposed to a denomination. It calls itself "the one true church." As for "demon possession," you should look to Lourdes for that, not to Calvinists.

Andrew said...

turretinfan:
I am not even a Roman Catholic. I am an Orthodox Christian. I understand Fundamentalism and Sectarianism very well. I also understand such fraudulence as "scientific creationism", the hatred and malice toward some communities in American society, the denial of evolution, the anti-Biblical and neo-Pagan penal substitution atonement theory of salvation and all the rest. Don't fool yourself that civilised people are not aware of what is going on the religio-political, Christian Zionist sects of Protestantism.

It is extraordinarily cruel and malicious of you to make such statements about the people of Haiti, and incredibly sickening that you would play God by saying the earthquake was God's judgment on Haiti.

I would like to ask you just one question. You think that it is necessary for God to punish sin because our sins are so great that they merit the death penality. I would like you to stop and think, and name three things for which your mother has done for which you would give he the death penalty. If you would not give her the death penalty, is your love and mercy greater than God's? Surely you would give your mother the death penalty if your love and mercy isn't greater than the "god" who is compelled by some immutable law to punish acts of sin by death.

Perfect love and holiness consists of perfect unselfish love and nothing else. How is it that the perfect unselfish love of God necessitates Him slaughtering people? Or creating a horrible fiery torture chamber worse than any person could possibly conceive, knowing full well that the vast majority of humanity that ever lived, would be confined to this horrible torture chamber for all of eternity? How is it that a perfect, unselfish, and loving God would demand to be "satisfied" by having His innocent and perfect Son be tortured and murdered, and placing all of His wrath on His innocent Son for His own appeasment? How is it that you people have conceived in your hearts such an evil interpretation of God, that you have placed such evil and malice in the heart of God in your minds, that you could even conceive such a thing?

Calvinism is NOT the Gospel. Calvinism is idolatry. The "god" of Calvinism is no different than the pagan gods or the "god" of Mormonism, because it teaches a "god" who is emotionally unstable who gets angry and feels a need to punish people everytime they irritate one of his taboos or pet peeves. The "god" of Calvinism is not the God of Abraham. The "god" of Calvinism is a "god" that you have created in the fantasies of your cruel, dark, and perverted hearts. The cruel, vindictive, unstable god of Calvin and the West is no better than Baal or Moloch or any other idolatry.

turretinfan said...

Excuse me while get over the irony of being called an idolater by a worshipper of wood. Of course, the god of your imagination in no way resembles the God who drove out the Canaanites, but how could he? Such a god would condemn your worship along with the worship of the papists.

-TurretinFan

Andrew said...

"a worshipper of wood." I have no idea what you are referring to. Orthodox Christians only worship the All-holy Trinity. Worship is a sacrifice directed toward God (Hebrews 13:15). Since the time of the Protestant Reformation, however, the idea of worship as a sacrifice and ministration unto God has been gradually replaced with the notion of congregation-centered "worship," where the clergy minister to the people rather than to God. The result is a plethora of "worship services," which range from dry lectures to variety show productions to religious pep-rallies. From my point of view, you don't worship God at all, since you do not minister unto God. So your definition of worship is quite different than mine because you do not see worship as a sacrifice directed toward God.

The Eucharist is the most distinctive event of Orthodox worship because in it the Church gathers to remember and celebrate the Life, Death, and Resurrection of Christ and, thereby, to participate in the mystery of Salvation. When an Orthodox attends the Divine Liturgy, it is not as an isolated person who comes simply to hear a sermon. Rather, he comes as a member of the Community of Faith who participates in the very purpose of the Church, which is the Worship of the Holy Trinity. Therefore, the Eucharist is truly the center of the life of the Church and the principal means of spiritual development, both for the individual Christian and the Church as a whole. Not only does the Eucharist embody and express the Christian faith in a unique way, but it also enhances and deepens our faith in the Trinity.

Worship and doctrine are inseparable.

Natamllc said...

Andrew,

Let me ask you if you can reconcile these words of yours and these words of Paul the Apostle, then?

Andrew: ". Rather, he comes as a member of the Community of Faith who participates in the very purpose of the Church, which is the Worship of the Holy Trinity. "

Paul: Eph 3:8 To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ,
Eph 3:9 and to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things,
Eph 3:10 so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places.
Eph 3:11 This was according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord,
Eph 3:12 in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in him.

turretinfan said...

"'a worshipper of wood.' I have no idea what you are referring to."

I would have thought you were more astute than that.

"Orthodox Christians only worship the All-holy Trinity."

I wish that were true. For some, perhaps, it is.

"Worship is a sacrifice directed toward God (Hebrews 13:15)."

There is more to worship than sacrifice. You would know this if you were more familiar with Scripture:

Matthew 4:9-10
And saith unto him, "All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me."
Then saith Jesus unto him, "Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, 'Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.'"

"Since the time of the Protestant Reformation, however, the idea of worship as a sacrifice and ministration unto God has been gradually replaced with the notion of congregation-centered "worship," where the clergy minister to the people rather than to God."

That idea existed in the patristic era, as well - which is not to deny that some "Protestants" have replaced worship with entertainment. But the Reformation was right. The minister is a minister of God to the people:

2 Corinthians 3:3
Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart.

"The result is a plethora of "worship services," which range from dry lectures to variety show productions to religious pep-rallies."

Sure - not all "Protestant" worship is right worship, and Orthodox worship services are good in many ways (they avoid many of the attrocious innovations of some "Protestant" services).

"From my point of view, you don't worship God at all, since you do not minister unto God."
Perhaps you and I use English differently. That said, God is not ministered unto in Christian worship - he is worshipped.

"So your definition of worship is quite different than mine because you do not see worship as a sacrifice directed toward God."
You are mistaken about that on two grounds. First, I do recognize that part of worship is sacrifice. Second, I also realize that worship is broader than that.

"The Eucharist is the most distinctive event of Orthodox worship because in it the Church gathers to remember and celebrate the Life, Death, and Resurrection of Christ and, thereby, to participate in the mystery of Salvation. When an Orthodox attends the Divine Liturgy, it is not as an isolated person who comes simply to hear a sermon. Rather, he comes as a member of the Community of Faith who participates in the very purpose of the Church, which is the Worship of the Holy Trinity. Therefore, the Eucharist is truly the center of the life of the Church and the principal means of spiritual development, both for the individual Christian and the Church as a whole. Not only does the Eucharist embody and express the Christian faith in a unique way, but it also enhances and deepens our faith in the Trinity."

Reformed Christians would not, I think, object to that. But sadly many Orthodox churches have lost the grand tradition of exposition of Scripture, which we find in the fathers.

"Worship and doctrine are inseparable. "

They are separable at least analytically, but right worship and right doctrine should go hand in hand.

-TurretinFan

Andrew said...

"'a worshipper of wood.' I have no idea what you are referring to."

"I would have thought you were more astute than that."

I really have no idea what you are referring to in this comment. I can't think of anything in Orthodoxy that would make you think I am "a worshipper of wood." I was more upset with the Haiti comment than anything, that it really made my blood boil. I regret some of the things I have said earlier as I see they were uncharitable. I apologize for that, but I still think your comment about Haiti is completely out of line. Pat Robertson's comment on the 700 Club got my blood boiling as well two years ago. I have gotten out pretty much all of my anger out. I do find discussions interesting though. I am willing to have more of a discussion maybe on one of your blogs about Orthodoxy. I will look for one and we'll take it from there.

turretinfan said...

Andrew: Was my comment, "We should not be quick to judge Haiti" the one you found out of line? How about my comment that we should remember Job? I get the feeling you were reacting to Pat Robertson, not to me.

As for "worshiper of wood," it's a reference to your religious veneration of icons.

-TurretinFan

Natamllc said...

Andrew,

hmmmmm? I wasn't pointing to evangelism although we ought to be opening our mouths whenever we can because He closed His going silent to the slaughter.

I was pointing to the "work" of the Church, the heavy lifting, the spiritual warfare we are called to as good soldiers.

You wrote being a member of the Community of the Faith participate in the very "purpose" of the Church.

I then quoted from the book of Ephesians the "eternal purpose" of the Community of the Faith, the purpose of the Church.

I guess your response underscores what might be the problem with EOC?

Maybe you could make a comment or two about this eternal purpose the Apostle writes about in Ephesians 3?

Andrew said...

In your comment you mention that the earthquake was brought upon them by God, and that they should seriously consider why God brought it, and if it was sin, they ought to repent of it.

Now as for your comment about calling me a "worshipper of wood." I didn't understand what you meant by that because we certainly do not worship, nor do we venerate mere paint or wood. First of all worship is much different from veneration. Worship would be a total giving over of the self to be united with God. Veneration is simply having deep respect, and honoring someone. The reverence and veneration shown to icons, however, is not directed to mere paint, wood, or stones, but towards the saints depicted. It would be like taking a picture of your parents and showing respect and honor for them because you love them very much.