Natural Catastrophe

“The idea that natural catastrophe is Divine punishment is, for me, morally unacceptable. We are not prophets. We have no privileged access to the mind of God. We know that the victims of these disasters include children, the innocent, the old and frail, the poor. They were not the evil, the cruel or the corrupt. These past few years I have heard far too many religious leaders, from all the Abrahamic faiths, confidently proclaiming that this or that event was Divine retribution for one or other sin. These are the Job’s comforters of our time. They forget that the task of the prophet is to comfort the afflicted, not to add to their affliction by saying that they deserved their fate.”

The Power of Ideas, p. 72