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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Pat Robertson Declares Haitians Caused Earthquake by Dealing with Devil

...expellers of God in South Dakota, beware!

I've been too hard on South Dakota Republican gubernatorial candidate Gordon Howie. I thought his campaign slogan, "I will not expel God from South Dakota," was logically incoherent, not to mention pandering to bad theology.

But Pat Robertson just helped me see the light. Gordon Howie is just trying to keep us from suffering an earthquake, like those poor folks in Haiti did when they got uppity and expelled God—and the French—with a deal with the devil:

Ah. That explains a great deal.

(Travis, did you say something about "snarkiness"? Sir, I know not of what you speak.)

Update 2010.01.14 11:00 CST: Kevin Woster points out that President Barack Hussein Obama offered a more theologically correct and humble response: "But for the grace of God, there we go."

Update 22:17 CST: But don't take my word for it; ask a real preacher. Pastor Shel begs "someone please teach Pat R. some good theology – he’s SO screws it up." So what would Jesus do?

Um so Jesus’ interpretation of a disaster is “Don’t judge people, help them, because you are as big a sinner as they” When he encountered evil and destruction HE engaged to help the situation not judge them and write them off [Pastor Shel Boese, "Crazy Pat," News, Thoughts, Theology, Teaching..., 2010.01.14].

Update 2010.01.15 13:05 CST: More rational South Dakota theology from Pastor Tim, who joins my rejection of Haiti's earthquake as divine "punitive strike" but offers a reasonable discussion about potential social impacts of flawed spiritual belief systems. And I can roll with an argument than voodoo might not be a great basis for a system of government. Then again, neither is Pat Robertson's fundamentalism. Keep discussing....


  1. What about Sacramento? Are you sure Pat Robertson wasn't cryogenically frozen and turned into an animated figure.

  2. Do all these Christians not believe in God's omnipresence? Seems when they claim it is possible to expel God from any area they are actually blaspheming.

  3. Rod, it's hard to tell live from frozen on Youtube-quality video. I'll let Jon Stewart pursue that one...

    And Adam Feser, I can't figure out exactly what goes through the heads of these preachers any more than they can know what's going through the mind of God.

  4. Steve Sibson1/13/2010 9:46 PM

    Before I ask Cory this question, I want to be clear...I do not know that God caused the earthquake in Haiti and in no way supporting Robertson's position. But Cory,

    Do you believe God does not have the power to cause an earthquake to destroy the wicked?

  5. What a foolish, demented old man. Someone should just take his microphone away when he goes off on that kind of goofy, delusional rant. It's like clockwork with him. Every time something disastrous happens, he blames the victims.

  6. Steve, as our earlier discussion made clear, I acknowledge the omnipotence of the Christian God more consistently than does your man for governor, Gordon Howie. Of course I make that statement not as a declaration of belief but as an understanding of the texts my neighbors profess to believe.

    Bill, indeed, it amazes me Robertson can continually make such absurd claims (9-11, Katrina... all the fault of the impious victims). The only way his show can stay alive is if it an find an audience of like-minded believers... which, distressingly, it does. In some universe a deity is shaking Her head at how wrong we humans get it.

  7. If God=Infinity and Infinity is a metaphor used by humans to describe an undefined number, God is a metaphor used to describe Infinity.

    Wickedness and its opposite are human metaphors used to describe chaos and order interacting in a physical context; one cannot exist without the other.

    If God created the Laws of Thermodynamics for humans to discover to better worship Her, manipulating those laws is a non sequitur.

  8. Some interesting concepts here. Omnipotence vs a God subject to his/her own laws — except in the context of chaos (black holes.) Don't you just love it when a plan comes together?

  9. Steve Sibson1/14/2010 9:26 AM


    You did not answer my question.

  10. Bill, that's why when it comes to figuring out the infinite, I prefer to stick with calculus. At least calculus helps us build bridges. ;-)

    Steve, yes, I did. What part of omnipotent don't you understand? (Oh, wait: I think you, Bob, and Gordon already answered that question.)

  11. Steve, you answered your own question. If you don't know who caused the earthquake in Haiti, how do you expect Cory to know why— or if — God could or could not have caused it? Put it this way, at least you're not blaming the Haitians for doing it. Good for you, man.

  12. Yeah, calculus, and pi and the golden section, fractals, etc. There are some pretty nifty ways around the infinite alright. And when you catch on to them you can make some really cool stuff. Namaste, Cory.

  13. Christians insist that Jesus Christ is the metaphorical bridge between order and chaos.

    Bill, the tools you described are not so much about "...getting around the infinite," that would be dividing by zero; ie. even an infinite number of zeroes can not correspond to any real number, (R).

    Perhaps, you meant that humans are the only species known to make tools that make other tools.

    Calvinist Christians, on the other hand, are not so much about cooperation in the construction of the bridge as they are in its capacity to support a Trojan Horse.

  14. Larry, the tools I described (with the possible exception of calculus) ARE the infinite. Very beautiful, concrete examples of it, actually. Check your Pythagoras, bro. (And don't get me started on "zero.")

  15. Oops, I misspoke, zero is a real number; an infinite number of zeroes is still zero

  16. Steve Sibson1/14/2010 11:19 AM

    "Steve, yes, I did."

    No you did not. Lets hear it.

  17. [Sorry to interrupt, but Larry, is this you? from Rapid City?]

  18. Ok, Bill; I would argue that fractals imply "infiniteness," but not infinity. Pi describes the "infiniteness" between 3.1416 and 3.1417, but not infinity.

  19. blew it again: 3.1415 and 3.1416

  20. HA! I love that we're trying to rationalize theism with math. I can't speak for all areas, but in mine there are two types of infinity:

    1. The bad kind. We can't get rid of it. The math no longer makes physical sense.

    2. The good kind. We can, through clever math, get rid of the infinity.

    My mathematical tool I use daily:


    My two types of infinity may have some relevance to theism also...

  21. "There are some pretty nifty ways around the infinite alright."

    Indeed! In high school and college I tried to get right at infinity (as opposed to beating around it), and the best I could do was to "prove" that infinity equals zero. Enroute to this dubious conclusion I generated a theory of multiple-valued numbers which had been done previously in the 1930s and which was subsequently used to program computers to aim guided missiles ... I need not blame myself for this nefarious application of pure mathematics, for I never published my theory or its implications.

    I would in no case blame God for it, nor would I give Him credit for it either.

    Does God incite natural disasters to punish people for their misdeeds? I have no clue. I suspect, however, that plenty of natural disasters would occur with or without God's help.

    This sort of discussion took place in late 1992 when I lived in Miami Beach, that hotbed of sin. Why, people asked, did Hurricane Andrew take a sudden jog to the south, causing its 150-mph winds and 15-ft storm surge to bypass the "Trillion Dollar Sandbar" and instead strike the far more virtuous redneck community of Homestead, practically wiping the latter town off the map?

    Ah, these great mysteries keep me awake nights. If Robertson's theory about the application of God's wrath is correct, then evidently God must occasionally miss His marks. Maybe God was so mad at all those gays in South Beach that He couldn't quite see straight to hurl His Fury in the proper direction.

  22. Steve Sibson1/15/2010 5:47 AM


    Why have you not given a direct yes or now ansewr to this question:

    Do you believe God does not have the power to cause an earthquake to destroy the wicked?

  23. While my heart goes out to the thousands of families who are missing or have lost loved ones, the big question is how does Haiti move forward to lessen the likelihood of a repeat, whether it is earthquake or hurricane.

    The area in Haiti struck by the 7.0 earthquake sits on a large fault line. There are no Building Codes in Haiti. As we see photos of collapsed buildings, notice the lack of steel rebar in the poured concrete, which would give it stability or lessen collapse. If the earth shakes, concrete will break and crumble when it is not reinforced with steel rebar.

    Will Haiti be like New Orleans where victims rebuild again and again in the worst area only to be blasted by another natural disaster in buildings that cannot sustain any amount of pressure, wind or shaking?

    I hope the people of Haiti see how little their government has done for them over the years in terms of protecting them with building codes, quality workmanship and support after the disaster.

  24. [Note to "Les": I remain undisturbed. You remain essentially anonymous and unaccountable. cf. Goldman on how it's done. Or use my contact page, and we can talk.]

  25. "I hope the people of Haiti see how little their government has done for them over the years in terms of protecting them with building codes, quality workmanship and support after the disaster." It strikes that Steve S. probably believes that government should have no such role.

    It also strikes me this is the guy that thought he should be President of the United States, and that some people supported him. Hard to get your head around all of that.

    If people have something to say, they don't need a curtain.


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