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Why did the hurricane Katrina happen?

Reasons given by religious liberals & secularists

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hurricane damage A brief review of the Katrina hurricane of 2005 (repeated):

On 2005-AUG-25, Katrina, as a Category 1 hurricane, struck south Florida. It strengthened over the Gulf of Mexico to Category 4. It hit New Orleans, the rest of Louisiana, and Mississippi on AUG-29.

The total death toll as a direct result of Katrina is about 1,800.  Hundreds of thousands of residents were dislocated; a quarter million into Texas alone. Staff writers for the Washington Post said:

"The evacuees [from New Orleans], most of them black and poor, spoke of violence, anarchy and family members who died for lack of food, water and medical care." 1

Many had no homes, assets, or jobs to which to return. Property damage was immense.

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Reasons given for the 2005 tragedy by many religious liberals and secularists:

The secular media, liberal religious web sites, etc. have described the hurricane as a natural disaster. They have not generally attributed its devastation to an angry or judgmental God who decided to punish the people of southern Louisiana and Mississippi for their behaviors.

In our web site's section about the South Asian Tsunami of 2004-DEC, have described the beliefs of  Scientists, secularists, etc., Religious moderates, liberals, etc., and Religious skeptics towards natural disasters. Those opinions probably apply equally well to Katrina as well.

We have scanned a few dozen official web sites belonging to liberal religious denominations, as well as Agnostic, Atheist, Humanist and other organizations. There were many references to the devastation caused by Katrina, and appeals for their visitors to send money to charitable organizations who are helping those dislocated by the hurricane. But we were unable to find any theological speculation on whether supernatural forces were involved in Katrina.

Some Internet surfers who read Deborah Caldwell's essay on titled "Did God send the hurricane?" responded with additional reasons why they felt that God was not involved in Katrina's devastation of the Gulf Coast. 2 The postings covered 22 columns. We have selected ten postings which appear to be from religious liberals or secularists:

bullet "One poster suggested that to blame God for Katrina is blasphemy. It is like suggesting that God sent the South Asian Tsunami in 2004-DEC because few people there are Christians. It is like suggesting that God caused the Nazi holocaust because the Jews had not accepted Jesus."

bullet "The actual hurricane was a random natural disaster. But what followed in New Orleans was a man-made catastrophe."

bullet "So if God is punishing America for being too secular, then would all natural disasters cease if everyone converted to Christianity?... For some reason I have a feeling it doesn't work like that. Medieval Europe was Christian, and plague still hit. You know, the Netherlands are below sea level, and arguably more secular than the US. Where's their punishment via flooding?"

bullet "The answer to did God send the hurricane is 'no' – It’s even the wrong question. The right one is 'Is god manifested in the hurricane?'...whenever we let ourselves love one another and show that love through our actions -– God is present."

bullet "Discussions involving God are irrelevant when forces of nature are concerned. God didn't "send" this - because "this" is simply a force of nature. Winds blowing, waters rising... It's nature. It's not destructive; it's not constructive either. It simply IS.
bullet "God has nothing to do with disasters - either to start them or stop them, nor is getting in good with God likely to change much if you build your house in a flood zone."

bullet "I do not believe in a murdering god who would kill in order to get people to listen, so he can 'reveal his ways,' whatever that means."

bullet "We need to realize that we are not subject to the punishment of some 'other beings.' We are subject only to the Creative Laws that reflect what we have done to ourselves."

bullet "God is not in the hurricane, but God is the voice telling people to get off their butts and help."

bullet " 'God' is a Spirit and has no power at all."

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. Manuel Roig-Franzia & Spencer Hsu, "Many Evacuated, but Thousands Still Waiting," Washington Post, 2005-SEP-04, at:
  2. Deborah Caldwell, "Did God Send the Hurricane? This natural disaster is bringing together a perfect storm of environmentalist and religious doomsday sayers," Beliefnet, circa 2005-SEP-03, at:

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Site navigation:

Home page > Christianity > Christian personalities > God > Disasters > here

or Home page > Religious information > God > Disasters > here

or Home page > Spirituality > Disasters > here

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Copyright © 2005 to 2014 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally posted: 2005-SEP-06
Latest update: 2014-MAR-15
Author: B.A. Robinson

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