Why did God let 50,000 people die in the Haitian earthquake?In our school this week we have been asked to say prayers for the people of Haiti. Why? I truly, truly do not understand it. God must...

Why did God let 50,000 people die in the Haitian earthquake?

In our school this week we have been asked to say prayers for the people of Haiti. Why? I truly, truly do not understand it. God must have known it was going to happen, mustn't he? And why, now, does he need to be asked to help before he will help the people of Haiti?

If God exists, why did he allow that Earthquake to happen? Was he powerless to stop it? Or could he have stopped it, but choose not to? I simply cannot understand how God could be real and let this happen. My faith is rapidly running out.

Asked on by dancer7

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lhc's profile pic

lhc | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted on

If I believed that God micro-managed every single thing that happened in the world, I would not be a Christian, because to me, that would make God a monster, and that, I do not believe.  The whole idea of "God has a plan, everything's part of His plan," to me falls apart pretty quickly when considering the horrible things that happen in our world everyday.  The process that creates earthquakes is a natural process; where, when and how God chooses to intervene in these processes is something only He knows, but I do not believe that every good thing, and every bad thing that has ever occured has been at the hands of some kind of Master Puppeteer.  If that were the case, then the role of humankind on earth would be nothing more than as pawns in some kind of cosmic game, and the words and ministry of Jesus would be irrelevant.

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emk | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Adjunct Educator

Posted on

Why did God let 50,000 people die in the Haitian earthquake?

In our school this week we have been asked to say prayers for the people of Haiti. Why? I truly, truly do not understand it. God must have known it was going to happen, mustn't he? And why, now, does he need to be asked to help before he will help the people of Haiti?

If God exists, why did he allow that Earthquake to happen? Was he powerless to stop it? Or could he have stopped it, but choose not to? I simply cannot understand how God could be real and let this happen. My faith is rapidly running out.

In my study, I've come to believe that God does not micromanage the universe.  That's a jarring thought, I know.  I believe that God created the universe and set it free, much as a parent creates a child but doesn't control his/her every action (even the mistakes!) because a good parent knows that the only life worth living is one lived in freedom and autonomy.  So God's role is one of loving parent who watches with sorrow when something in the universe goes wrong.

So why pray?  Because where God DOES work, I believe, is inside of each human being.  The soul, or whatever you call it - the part of each person that allows us to be heroically loving and unselfish - the part of each person that is transcendant - God works there - within us, so that we can heal and be healed.  Pray that all of us - the Haitians and the rescue workers too - are listening to the voice of God deep within ourselves so that we might do all that we can to love and heal ourselves and one another despite this terrible natural disaster.  God didn't make it happen.  The earth is changing - it's a disaster borne of the course of nature.

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ask996 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

Posted on

From a Christian perspective, God created a world intended to be perfect, but original sin changed that because man was given freedom of choice. Consequently in order to continue to fellowship with us God sacrificed his son as absolution for our sins. That being said, we still have freedom of choice, and many horrific things happen because of that freedom of choice--the holocaust was mentioned earlier. Even through horrific things, however, God will still fulfill his will and perform miracles. Even now he is performing his wonderful will. Miracles are happening, and this terrible event is changing lives. We might never know how or why, but we can take great comfort in the fact that God is in control and working his will--despite the wrong choices we might make.

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enotechris | College Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

Posted on

It's only in the last century we've fully understood the cause of earthquakes; why this one wasn't predicted (or maybe it was) and people urged to evacuate is more to the point -- the earthquake wasn't an act of God; the earthquake was an act of continental plate movement.  But being forewarned, Haitians could have been prepared, and the tragedy mitigated, if not avoided. Horrors happen. We can react to them knowing we can help each other, and through hard experience be aware  when horrors are impending, and respond appropriately. Alternatively, we can blame something or someone, and bemoan the suffering of others or our own.  As Shakespeare wrote so long ago, "The fault....lies not in the stars but in ourselves." Place your faith in the ability of humankind and pray. God didn't cause the quake; God didn't let them die, and God isn't fixing the problem either now, unless you want to assume that He inspired the other nations of the world to converge on Haiti and help.

lrwilliams's profile pic

lrwilliams | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted on

I agree with the other posters in that we can not begin to understand why things such as natural disasters happen. I would like to believe that God does have control over those types of tragedies and allows them to occur for reason far out of our understanding. Someone above said it best we must have faith and trust in God in all things.

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Lorraine Caplan | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

If you are a religious person, no matter what your religion might be, it is likely that there are stories in your tradition that suggest that faith can and will be tested.  Those people who do believe in God often find that their faith is tested. Within the Judeo-Christian tradition, there are many Biblical instances of this, for example, when God asks Abraham to sacrifice his only son, or in the Book of Job, when Job is tested mightily, not once, but twice. The point is that, if there is a God, he or she is not going to take your faith for granted.  There will be tests.  I do not subscribe to that theory personally, but if enough bad things happen to me, I certainly might come to that conclusion.  I know that it is difficult to see all the pain and suffering there is in the world, but you can still emerge from this experience with your faith tested, but intact. If your faith enables you to be a good and compassionate person, you certainly do not want to lose that!   

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booksnmore | College Teacher | (Level 3) Adjunct Educator

Posted on

A philosophical/theological question...  "Does God control every little thing that happens in the world, or do things naturally occur as a result of free will, natural disasters, etc...??"

Or yet another thought...  As I watched the t.v. reports tonight, I almost started crying, seeing how so many nations (often opposing nations) are coming together to help. I heard that their closest neighbor, the Dominican Republic, was the first to offer aid, despite the fact that the two countries don't really like each other all that much. So is this an opportunity given by God for us to show humanity towards one another??

But pohnpei also raises a good point. Our earthly perspective may be totally different than God's perspective. (Or should I say "is different.") Perhaps someday we'll understand. We "look into a glass darkly..."

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

Here's a topic that's had books and books written on it...  Never mind the earthquake -- think about the Holocaust if you want something horrible...

I'll offer two perspectives.  First -- we are just not able to understand why God does what he does and we have to take things on faith.  It's like when you're really little and your parents just say "do this" and you have to take on faith that they're right.

Second, and this is similar, if you believe in an afterlife, then what happens in this life is kind of irrelevant.  It's sad, yes, but bad things that happen on earth are just temporary compared to what happens in eternal life.

If you think about it, if God could create the universe, how are we supposed to understand everything that He can understand?

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picturesque | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) Valedictorian

Posted on

It was not God who let people die in that earthquake but there is a natural system of earthquakes in the universe. I mean there is a process underground the result of which are earthquakes. God has created the universe and He lets the system of universe go on systematically.So the earthquakes are part of this system.

sfg13165's profile pic

sfg13165 | Student, College Freshman | (Level 2) Honors

Posted on

@ sfg13165

Uh-huh. Well, if it's only 30,000 then there's no problem.

excuxse me, but their still is a problem, many people are still under all the rubble and many are dyeing slowly and painfully, so don't say there's no problem because their is and now its more than 30,000!!!!!

sfg13165's profile pic

sfg13165 | Student, College Freshman | (Level 2) Honors

Posted on

Why did God let 50,000 people die in the Haitian earthquake?

In our school this week we have been asked to say prayers for the people of Haiti. Why? I truly, truly do not understand it. God must have known it was going to happen, mustn't he? And why, now, does he need to be asked to help before he will help the people of Haiti?

If God exists, why did he allow that Earthquake to happen? Was he powerless to stop it? Or could he have stopped it, but choose not to? I simply cannot understand how God could be real and let this happen. My faith is rapidly running out.

I understand what you are saying, but God did that for a reason, and we soon will know why. Don't just give up on your Faith or God, because of some EarthQuake. If God wanted to stop the EarthQuake he would have, but he didn't!!!! And only  30,000 died, not 50,000, and maybe the People of Haiti need to shape up or Ship out, I feel bad but we have sent billions of dollars to the Haitian people,so they could build up their country.

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dancer7 | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 2) Honors

Posted on

@ask996...

God created a world intended to be perfect, but original sin changed that because man was given freedom of choice. ask996

Man is completely responsible for the destructive nature of plate tectonics because Eve ate a forbidden apple which was placed right under her nose by a creator who also created her full of curiosity and inquisitiveness???

Does that sound even remotely logical to you?

 

krishna-agrawala's profile pic

krishna-agrawala | College Teacher | (Level 3) Valedictorian

Posted on

I do not know for sure if God exists, and if its exists, or what is the Nature of God. But I am sure about one thing that God does not exist to prevent people or for that matter any other living beings from dying.

50,000 people dying in Haiti is less than one tenth of one percent of people that die all over the world every year. If we look at all the living beings that are come to life and die, the figure runs into billions of life every day.

It appears to me that God only makes the laws of the nature according to which the people are born, live, and then die. Somewhere in between all this the god also gives some degree of self will or freedom to choose the way they live. Correct exercise of this self will or the freedom of choice is supposed to bring in some rewards to individuals which are supposed to be better than any physical pleasures possible, and can be enjoyed only by the soul and not by the body. But nothing in the world can prevent what is commonly called death, which may just be end the journey of soul in one particular body.

Whether people die in an earthquake or of old age, the soul is still able and eligible to grow and qualify for rewards meant only for the soul. If God exists, it is most probably interested only in growth of the souls, and to motivate souls to grow, it rewards and punishes them in different ways during their life in bodies, and also lets the bodies die.

One more important thing, faith in God is not a pre-condition for being rewarded by God - only good conduct (or the correct exercise of our free will) during life time is necessary. However, faith in God helps us to have the right conduct.

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