Dr. John Fea, Chair of the Department of History at Messiah College, in his weekly Patheos column, expands on his recent post on Pat Roberston and the long history of Jeremiads in the United States. I previously linked to his blog post in this post on Robertson and those of his ilk, and followed up previously here.
From a facebook friend who requested anonymity:
I think it is just bizarre for people to make pronouncements like Robertson’s. Are ALL natural disasters judgements by God? Are ALL the people affected by them sinners? If not, who decides which ones are God-caused and which ones are not? What about all the righteous people who have been harmed by natural disasters? And if God is zapping people with natural disasters because he is not pleased with us, does that mean he is zapping us in other ways? With illness, financial losses, etc? Not to mention that seismic activity is part of a complex system we call Earth-scientists have been exploring this for many, many decades. And I am not sure that Robertson is one of the people who refuses to take climate change seriously, but I think it is unlikely. One outcome of climate change is an increase in severe weather events and changes in “typical” weather patterns. But I am pretty sure Robertson doesn’t give this much credit. As a Christian, I get so frustrated when people like him make other Christians in general sound stupid. I do think that when we walk away from God’s will, there are consequences. But not in this “zap them with a lightning bolt” way.
I think you have nicely stated what is wrong with this view. Robertson, and those of his ilk, enjoy the chance to seem prophetic and decry the downfall of America. I think that actually, natural disasters just give them an excuse to spout off (and they may actually have convinced themselves as well). Not an accurate view of the totality of Scripture, to be sure. But they know enough Scripture to quote it and make it sound like it supports their view. Frustrating, to be sure.