And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. — Jesus, founder of America
Speaking of which, Rick Esenberg is worried that Pat Robertson has done a bad publicity number on both political conservatives and Christianity (and their mutual entity, "conservative Christians"):
One of the central problems in theology is the matter of theodicy. If God is good and powerful, then why do bad things happen?Theology may be a diverting parlor game, but there's an unexplained assumption here that a natural geological event is a "bad thing" and thus somehow is ascribed moral qualities. It's not clear to me that tectonic plates are moral — or even rational — actors.
A question more appropriate to the circumstances might be: If God is good and powerful, then why didn't He opt for a better engineered (or more "intelligent," if you prefer) design for this planet?
Last night on CNN* a reporter described the recovery of one young girl from the rubble as "a blessing." Elsewhere similar events are regularly deduced to be "miracles."
Meanwhile cumulative reports are beginning to indicate that the loss of life in Haiti will approach 100,000. The problem with theodicy, it seems to me, is that God gets all the credit, and none of the blame.
But I'm sure that's about the least compelling of concerns after your house collapsed, your entire family died, and you're living on a dirt road without even a drink of clean water. Why it happened is only a question that afflicts the comfortable.
* CNN and MSNBC were carrying live reports from Port-au-Prince while Fox "News" re-ran a remarkably idiotic — even for them — interview between G. Beck and S. Palin. So you had your choice of disasters.