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Discussing religion, spirituality and values. Amy Umble is the religion reporter for The Free Lance-Star. You can email her at
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Difficult Questions

The other day, I received an email from a man going through a really hard time. He asked me, since I write about faith, where God is during these tragedies.

The next day, an earthquake rocked Haiti.

After Pat Robertson blamed a long-ago Haitian pact with the devil, many people asked me if this is really how Christians see things. The answer is complicated. Most do not see it as obviously as Robertson. But some do believe that God, as evidenced in the Hebrew Bible, does use natural disasters as punishment. Some do not believe this. And, many polls have found that while the majority of Americans believe in God, not so many believe in the devil.

Basically, not everyone agrees on stuff like this. Disasters lead to difficult questions. Many prefer just not to think about them. But many do wonder: If you believe in a loving God, what do you do with tragedy?

I just cover faith. I don’t really have the answers. But this column in America Magazine online offered more than I could. Not to give anything away, but the author, Msgr. Lorenzo Albacete, writes that there isn’t a compelling answer.

He ends: "But faith or no faith, Christian or not, our humanity demands that the question ‘why’ not be suppressed, but that it be allowed to guide our response to everything that happens. This is the only way to a possible redemption of our humanity."