At its core the religious impulse is a bad superstitious explanation for natural events.
Even after the enlightenment and the progress of modern science large portions of society still wallow in this primitive superstition of bad explanations on natural events. Superstitious pattern seeking mammals indeed.
Why did the volcano erupt? God was angry. Why did the earth shake? God did it for some reason or another. It is a combination of human solipsism, ignorance, and human impotence in the face of overwhelming natural events.
I would hope human beings could respond to solipsism with greater perspective, to ignorance with knowledge, and to impotence with stoicism and human solidarity.
Glenn Beck called Hurricane Irene a "blessing" on his Friday radio show, saying it would teach people to be prepared for disasters.
"If you've waited [until now], this hurricane is a blessing," he said. "It is God reminding you, as was the earthquake last week...you're not in control." (Source:HuffingtonPost)
Televangelist Pat Robertson suggested Wednesday that cracks in the Washington Monument caused by the August 23 earthquake could be a sign from God, and the natural disaster “means that we’re closer to the coming of the Lord.”
To explain the rare east coast quake, Robertson pointed to the Biblical prophecy of the end of the world, which claims there could be potential devastation from natural disasters leading up to Jesus' return to Earth.
On his television show, "The 700 Club," Robertson said:
"I don't want to get weird on this, so please take it for what it's worth, but it seems to me the Washington Monument is a symbol of America's power. It has been the symbol of our great nation, we look at that monument and we say this is one nation under God. Now there's a crack in it."
"Is that a sign from the Lord? Is that something that has significance, or is it just the result of an earthquake?" Robertson asked his viewers. (Source:Huffingtonpost)