Heartless about Haiti (part 2)

Robertson is guilty about making a heartless comment about Haiti’s troubles. But, Robertson did not cause the suffering. Indeed, it might also be said that the earthquake did not cause the suffering. The suffering is Haiti in caused by heartless corruption over the last several hundred years, not only by those in Haiti, but by many who had dealings with them. The lack of infrastructure, the pervasive poverty, the crushing reality is an evil contributed in varying degrees of significance by a wide variety of humans.

Yet, human contributions to evil seems an unsatisfying conclusion. Because, ultimately when we speak of evil we cannot conceive of how a natural event like an earthquake can cause overwhelming suffering. So, again, we turn and accuse God. We accuse him of looking the other way. Or we accuse him of not being powerful enough. Or we accuse him of not even existing.

This is the catching place for so many. The trouble with it is that it blames God for the troubles and rejects the total answer which is suggested.

The Christian Scriptures, at least, are pretty direct about not giving a conclusive answer to why bad things happen. This is most directly seen in the story of Job. The question of why evil has influence is probably the most important one challenging any religion.

While evil happens, the question of God is not stuck on the evil that happens but on what happens next.

So, in the face of evil can we say there is a God? Yes, but we cannot look only at the evil. We have to look at the fact there’s hope even still.

That is the reminder Jurgen Moltmann, and others, have argued. He was a soldier in WWII who found out about the holocaust while a prisoner of war. Yet, rather than settling into a profound spiritual distance, he experienced the presence of God that gave him confidence that God was true and God was real. Yet, in this experience there was still not clarity. He became a theologian. He became a theologian who reminded the church, and the world, that we cannot look at evil and then blame God as though evil has won. We can see evil, mourn for it, be disgusted by it, but still have hope.

After WWII there was hope for Europe even still. After this earthquake there is hope for Haiti, even still. And this hope goes beyond what we see in the present. The hope, the driving, transformational hope, is that we are not lost in the evil, nor does the evil give ultimate definition. There is hope for the suffering that there will be an end to the suffering and a renewal of joy after it. There is a hope for those who mourn that there will be an end to the mourning and a renewal of life after it. There is a hope to those who are oppressed that there will be an end to the oppression and victory after it. This hope can live in us in the present so that we can resist the evil now, not being crushed by it but instead in manifold ways say that this evil isn’t as it should be. We can fight for the hope in helping others, in freeing others, in giving others hope that their experiences do not define them, but there’s more to life. And the hope is not limited to some distant, ethereal future. It’s a hope we can offer to people now. And in offering that hope we can taste more of that hope in our own lives.

The more who live in this hope, the more evil is resisted, and even more can live in the joy and freedom of truly lived life.

The earthquake devastated Haiti. The earthquake wasn’t itself evil, but overwhelmingly illustrated the pervasive evil of corruption and all else that went into Haiti’s present state. But, there’s hope that all Haiti has been, all that it is now, is not the destiny of Haiti. This horror is evil, but it is not the end. And if we’re speaking of God in this topic we have to keep in mind what end he declares. And we can have hope that his end is a righteous, a just, and an enlivening end. That is the testimony of the resurrection. The cross is not all we are to bear. There is resurrection.

Without this hope we are left thinking that all there can be is this earthquake, is our horrible childhood experiences, is whatever else dark and corrupting that is seen in our worlds. It doesn’t have to be like this. It is not supposed to be like this. And we can be either people who fight against evil or people who enable it. And if you’re the former, you’re on the good side of hope. And if you’re on the side of this deep hope, I have to think that you’re on the side of God.

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