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Probably all Christians view events in their life through the colored glasses of their faith. They tend to award undue significance to certain events because they think the event might be a sign from God. This behavior is particularly prolific among the Amish, who believe that God coordinates all events large and small. They believe that God causes specific events as signs to help guide you down the right path or as tests of your faith.

For example, if an Amish man started a new business and his buildings promptly burned down, many of the Amish would consider the possibility that the fire was a sign from God that starting a business was not the right thing for that man to do. On the other hand, if the aspiring businessman really wanted to succeed at the business he would be more likely to view the fire as a test – a test from God to see how much he wants to succeed at his business.

I remember when the 2010 Haiti earthquake occurred, several of my Amish friends suggested that the inhabitants of Haiti must be pretty evil for God to punish them like that. I suspect that this kind of shallow reasoning is a result of the flood story in the Bible.

On the other hand, don’t you think that faithful Christians living in Haiti at the time of the earthquake had quite a different interpretation of the event? Don’t you think they would have been more likely to view the quake as a test of their faith?

Every time there is a natural disaster there are Christians who have just lost their homes talking on television about how this test from God has only strengthened their faith. Elsewhere, there are Christians shaking their heads and wondering what evil these people did in their lives to be punished by God like that.

If something bad happens to anyone, the Amish that like the person interpret the event as a test of faith. The others interpret the event as a punishment from God. Nobody seems to notice how ridiculously subjective and judgmental these interpretations are.

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