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Is Japan Blaming Sin for Its Crisis?

After a devastating earthquake and resultant tsunami hit Japan in mid-March, some leaders said it was a sign from God (no, this time it wasn’t Pat Robertson). Shintaro Ishihara—the governor of Tokyo and a devotee of the Shinto religion—raised eyebrows in a press conference when he questioned the disaster and blamed his people for it. “The character of the Japanese people is selfish,” he said. “The Japanese people must take advantage of this tsunami to wash away their selfish greed. I really do think this is divine punishment.”

Regardless, faith-based nonprofit organizations such as World Vision and the Salvation Army are aiding the disaster victims. However, atheist groups are working in opposition to their efforts. The American Atheists organization recommends its Richard Dawkins’ Non-Believers Giving Aid Disaster Relief Fund, which distributes money to non-religious groups like the Red Cross and Doctors Without Borders.

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