By now, most of you have heard that the Pat Robertson has determined the cause of the recent earthquake in Haiti: it's the result of God's retribution for the nation having made a pact with the devil. In exchange for their freedom from French rule, the devil rules over Haiti. While I have long held Pat Robertson in disdain, he has reached a new height of audacity with this latest stunt. However, I feel there's a more important topic to discuss here than just the meaningless utterances of a failed doomsday prophet
Pacts with the devil date back centuries. While some pacts are for tangible goods, such as the classic Broadway production and film "Damn Yankees," the more insidious form involves human nature's quest for knowledge, with the most famous literary example being Goethe's Faust. The idea that knowledge is somehow "evil" or to be avoided echoes back from the exploits of Prometheus, bouncing lightly off the Garden of Eden, and resting firmly in the social networks of the 21st century.
Pat Robertson seems convinced that knowledge is a bad thing. Science has shown us that Haiti is in an active seismic area, and superstition is not needed to explain the event. However, WE, the skeptics, have knowledge on how to best handle natural disasters, and that is to spread not superstition, but money. Pat Robertson is an expert at collecting money, and it's a shame he can't just send a portion of his considerable wealth to help undo what he claims his loving God has done.
Forget about Pat Robertson. Let's talk about us for a moment. Skeptics tend to be secularists, and as such, we do not often belong to churches, synagogues or other organizations that organize charity drives. But we do belong to the human race, and it's incumbent upon us to help others when we can. This isn't a religious edict; it's part of our nature. And in this vain, I ask you to visit our good friends at skepchick.org, where a list has been compiled of charities where you can send money that will have a direct impact on people suffering in Haiti.
I know things are difficult these days, but I guarantee you that none of you reading this have it as bad as those in Haiti. Spread some money, spread some knowledge, and may Haiti rebuild itself to be a nation of hope rather than endless tragedy.