“Natural Evil and Disasters and Haitian Reponse Toward Religious Belief and Spiritual Conversion”

Haiti is often called the poorest country in the Western hemisphere. It is also one of the top countries in the Americas that has often affected by natural disasters and natural evil. The goal of this presentation is threefold. First, it provides an overview of the major natural disasters that have complicated the human condition in Haiti. Second, it explores the ecological problem that has contributed to Haiti’s underdevelopment and infrastructures, and the collective suffering of the Haitian people. Third, it engages the religious response to this Haitian crisis, chiefly how Evangelical (American) Christians and American religious-supported NGOs atttempted to assist Haitian victims and alleviate their pain– especially in the contest of the most deadly earthquake (Janurary 10, 2010) that has devastated the nation of Haiti, contributed to the tragic death of 300,000 human lives, and caused about a billion dollars in infrastructure damages and deficit. As a result, this paper also investigates how natural disasters have hightened collective response to faith and religious conversion in Haiti, resulting in the tremendous increase of Haiti’s Protestant population in the past 50 years. Toward this goal, this paper incorporates the socio-historical theory of religion and spiritual conversion, as this phenomenon has shifted the Haitian response to religion or attitude toward faith.

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