As a Pat Robertson watcher (well, somebody has to keep an eye on him), I have noticed a subtle change in the way he reasons. He used to blame natural disasters as god’s punishments for the sins of people, especially those sins that he himself disliked, but I am beginning to think that there has been a subtle change.
Nowadays he seems to see himself more as a scientific thinker. For example, he notably did not blame Hurricane Sandy on gays and sex and pornography, like he has done before, although it caused the most damage on the east cost, that hotbed of moral decadence. Remember also how he also recently scolded young Earth creationists for the silliness of their beliefs because they were going against science?
Then a couple of days ago on his TV show, he received a question from ‘Don in Illinois’ who wanted to know why god did not stop the tornadoes in Oklahoma. Here is Robertson’s reply.
Note that? He said that god doesn’t send tornadoes to hurt people! He has dropped his belief that tornadoes are agents of god’s wrath and his means of punishing sinners, especially of the gay kind. Instead he explains how tornados form due to circulating wind currents and that the reason for them is that tornadoes and earthquakes are mechanisms for releasing heat and other forms of energy that build up in the Earth. The deaths were the fault of people for building their homes right in the locations where god had created these release valves and for them not praying enough to protect them from their foolish decisions. It is a big change for him to go from blaming disasters on sin to blaming it on people’s poor judgment, scientific ignorance, and insufficient prayers.
But of course how far is he willing to go with this line of reasoning? Is all suffering from natural disasters due to people planting themselves in the path of god’s engineering plans? If someone is struck by lightning, is it that person’s fault for being in a place where the energy build up in clouds was being released? When masses of people die in tsunamis, is it their fault for being in an area where underground energy was being released?
Robertson is still crazy but seems to be a smidgen less crazy than before.