The planet has had its share of earth-shattering events lately. Think earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, tornadoes and the like. Is God sending his wrathful vengence, is He signaling the Last Days? Apparently, fewer and fewer of Americans think so. According to Stephen Prothero, writing for CNN: “American society as a whole no longer interprets natural diseaser as sign of some coming apocalypse or evidence of some past misdeeds.”
He goes on to state: “Those that do (Pat Robertson, for example) we generally regard as cranks and outliers–relics of a bygone era. Unfortunately, one of these “cranks” is high-profile Mormon Glenn Beck. According Dan Gilgoff, writing for CNN, Beck told his listeners that with Hurricane Irene “God reminding you–as was the earthquake last week–it’s God reminding you you’re not in control. Things can happen.”
While Beck is right in encouraging advanced preparation for natural disasters, his suggestion that God is sending a reminder with hurricanes and earthquakes is Old-Testament bizarre.
Prothero alleges that with earthquakes and hurricanes “the language of science has almost entirely routed the language of religion.” But I’m not sure that’s the case with fundamentalist Christrians and latter-day Mormons. I think many members believe the hurricane Katrina was God punishing the wicked of New Orleans. And many congregations have prayed for relief from droughts and other natural disasters.