Natural phenomena — hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, earthquakes, and the like — are often astounding and spell-binding. So it makes sense that we humans attempt to derive some kind of meaning to make sense of what Mother Nature does. But sometimes our interpretations can get a little outlandish. It's natural — the human mind has a tendency to wander off. That may be the reason some televangelists and other extremely Christian people think the solar eclipse was a message from God telling the world that the United States of America has plunged into sin and evil.
The Daily Beast recently documented comments from evangelists like Jim Bakker, Billy Graham's daughter Anne Graham Lotz, religious nationalist host Bryan Fischer, and pastor John Hagee, who all shared their views on the total solar eclipse that covered different parts of North America in darkness on Monday.
In one instance shared by The Daily Beast, Lotz's post on her website titled "Is God's Judgment Coming On America?" warned of supposed signs from God in the form of solar eclipses. "While no one can know for sure if judgment is coming on America, it does seem that God is signaling us about something," she wrote.
At the end, Lotz did note that "regardless of whether or not the conjecture regarding America’s eclipse is accurate, we know our nation and our world is in turmoil. Without doubt, this is the time for God’s people to get right with God. To repent of our own sin. To share the Gospel with our neighbors."
A Facebook post from Fischer, a radio host who describes his show as the "home of muscular Christianity," interpreted the eclipse as a metaphor for Satan "obscuring the light of God's truth" to "repress the expression of Christian faith in our land."
There is nothing wrong with trying to understand natural phenomena. Earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, and other natural events have boggled the human mind since the beginning of time. But some interpretations can lead to paranoia and even unfounded hysteria.
Bakker alluded to an apocalypse on his show, saying "You better be careful because God’s raised up the prophets to warn us and to teach us ... I’m telling you, people, if you don’t know we’re in the last days, you’re so deceived.
It's possible that the best way to experience a total solar eclipse does not exactly involve a lot of theologically musing; it may just require a pair of sturdy and new glasses, a good spot to sit, and friends to accompany you to witness the sun get outdone by the moon, casting a powerful shadow on earth. It's rare, beautiful, and not worth worrying too much about.