Haiti, God, and the Arbitrariness of Life

By J. Ryan Parker

By now, most people are just as familiar with Pat Robertson's interpretation of the Haitian earthquake as they are with the natural disaster itself.  Yesterday, I came across two other theological responses to the quake, one by Al Mohler that is almost as offensive as Robertson's and another by Paul Raushenbush that is somewhat more appealing to me.  The responses to Raushenbush's response are just as compelling as the article itself, as many non-religious readers responded with vitriol, asking where the supposedly omniscient and omnipotent Christian God was in the face of such a tragedy.  Clearly, in many different ways, theodicy is at the forefront of our popular theology in these tragic days.  In a recent review of Life.Support.Music., I referenced the question, "Is God as Arbitrary as Life?," that was posed to the theologians at the Transforming Theology conference last spring.  We have finally uploaded the video and you can check it out after the jump.  You won't agree with all of the answers (I certainly don't), but they are deeply thoughtful and compassion alternatives to those of Pat Robertson and his ilk that, unfortunately, garner all the media attention.


This article and photo originally appeared on the Pop Theology blog and is reprinted with permission.

J. Ryan Parker is the creator and editor of and main contributor to Pop Theology (www.poptheology.com). A fourth-year Ph.D. student in Religion and the Arts (with a focus on film) at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California, his research interests include contemporary religious cinema after The Passion of the Christ, the history of religious cinema, and the ways in which films affect, and are affected by, religious consciousness. He has also served as a media consultant on documentary film projects.  He holds a B.A. in English from Mississippi College and an M.Div. from Wake Forest University Divinity School.

1/19/2010 5:00:00 AM
  • Faith
  • Suffering
  • Christianity
  • About