Double-vortex tornado in Elkhart County, Indiana, on Palm Sunday, April 11, 1965. Photo by Paul Huffman,  Elkhart Truth  (via NOAA).

Double-vortex tornado in Elkhart County, Indiana, on Palm Sunday, April 11, 1965. Photo by Paul Huffman, Elkhart Truth (via NOAA).

Tornado God: American Religion and Violent Weather

Peter J. Thuesen

Under contract with Oxford University Press

One of the earliest sources of humanity’s religious impulse was severe weather, which ancient peoples attributed to the wrath of storm gods. Enlightenment thinkers derided such beliefs as superstition, but in America, scientific and theological hubris came face-to-face with the tornado, nature’s most violent windstorm. In this groundbreaking history, Peter Thuesen traces the primal connections between weather and religion in the United States. He shows that tornadoes and other storms have repeatedly drawn Americans into the profoundest of religious mysteries and confronted them with the question of their own destiny—how much is self-determined and how much is beyond human understanding or control.