Disasters, catastrophes bring lessons

Helena Rodriguez

I rarely watch Christian television. When I do it’s during what I hope are rare, double-take moments, such as when I caught tele-evangelist Pat Robertson as he was advocating to assassinate Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

As I was recently channel surfing, something on Christian TV made my hands freeze on the remote again.

This time it was a preacher ranting about Hurricane Katrina, which he called God’s punishment for the evil in the world today.

This “sky is falling” or “end of the world” talk doesn’t surprise me. Similar propaganda was unleashed after Sept. 11, 2001, and after the tsunami last spring.

However, with this latest disaster hitting the U.S. directly, and in a most vulnerable way, and with many other abnormal Category 4 hurricanes like Rita suddenly headed for our coasts which have historically been spared, I have to ask “What in the world is going on?”

Natural disasters that always seem to hit other parts of the world are suddenly striking us.

Then there’s global warming, which some fanatics consider to be synonymous with the end of the world as described in the Book of Revelations.

With all these recent phenomena, one must wonder if there’s a link between science and spiritualism?
Does it have anything to do with the war in Iraq? With a movement to legalize gay marriages? With corporate greed?

Or is it all just a natural cycle, which our universal system operates under?

I’ve been asking myself these kinds of questions lately and discussing them with a co-worker, Mike Jimenez, who attributes it all to science. Jimenez views our Earth as a living organism, which is reacting to viruses such as global warming. He says, “We are like cockroaches, which are upsetting the balance.”

On the other side, there’s the e-mail I got from my sister Becky that says, “Hurricane Katrina wasn’t just a hurricane, but an act of God.”

It quotes Matthew 24:4-14, which says, “You will hear of wars and rumors of wars. … Nation will rise again nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places, many will turn away from the faith … many false prophets will appear and deceive many people.”

Personally, I can’t help but wonder if these “sky is falling” preachers are the so-called false prophets described in the Bible.

I believe things happen for a reason and I believe there is a direct link between science and spirituality, which we don’t fully understand, but the Scripture that comes to my mind is Matthew 24:36, which states, “No one knows of the day and hour, not even the angels, but the father alone.”

In other words, we should live each day like it were our last, but as far as these being the last days, they may be, or they may not be. Who knows? People have been saying this since World War II.

All I know is that when disasters do hit home, we all try to make sense of it and develop our own theories.

I feel these are warning signs that can’t be taken lightly and must be looked at from both scientific and spiritual perspectives.

We can’t continue to ignore environmental problems such as global warming. Our world can only take so much abuse.

We have to re-evaluate everything from our use of aerosols to our political motives in Iraq because any kind of problem left unresolved for too long will lead to more broken levees — problems that could have been prevented if dealt with in a timely fashion, but turned disastrous when ignored.

Helena Rodriguez is a columnist for Freedom Newspapers of New Mexico. She can be reached at: