Disaster, Divine Judgment, and Original Sin: Christian Interpretations of Tropical Cyclone Winston and Climate Change in Fiji

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2018
Authors
Cox, John
Finau, Glen
Kant, Romitesh
Tarai, Jope
Titifanue, Jason
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University of Hawai‘i Press
Center for Pacific Islands Studies
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Abstract
Paradise in the Pacific is often rendered as a natural state where “native” people live in simple harmony without the need for government or state institutions. However, Christian traditions also include paradise not simply as a state of inno- cence but also as a narrative of salvation history in which paradise is lost through original sin and must be restored through sacrifice and repentance. This article takes recent Fijian Christian interpretations of Tropical Cyclone Winston as a key site in which contested ideologies of Paradise are being reworked. As the idyll of island harmony is disrupted by disaster, Christians have seen Winston as an act of divine judgment and punishment on a sinful people. This essay analyzes how narratives of a sinful nation intersect with contemporary formulations of climate change, disaster, politics, and human agency.
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climate change, Christianity, natural disasters, Fiji, paradise
Citation
Cox, J, Finau, G, Kant, R, Tarai, J, and Titifanue, J. 2018. Disaster, Divine Judgment, and Original Sin: Christian Interpretations of Tropical Cyclone Winston and Climate Change in Fiji. The Contemporary Pacific 30 (2): 380–411.
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32 pages
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