Simon Winchester, author of Krakatoa: The Day the World Exploded, August 27, 1883, tells PBS that natural catastrophes can have notable religious and political consequences. At the time of the Krakatoa eruption, for example, "The area was rapidly being converted from Hinduism to Islam. There were a lot of Arabs there who were priests or mullahs, and they said within a matter of days of the devastation, that this was clearly a sign from Allah– Allah, who was annoyed, specifically angered by the fact that the Javanese and the Sumatrans were allowing themselves to be ruled by white, western, infidel Dutch imperialists."

According to Winchester, Krakatoa's eruption "was the beginning . . . of the end of Dutch rule in Java and Sumatra and the beginning of the creation of what is now the most populous Islamic state on Earth, Indonesia."

Winchester posits that the 1906 San Francisco earthquake also had religious consequences with political implications:

At the time of the quake, "there was a very, very small movement beginning in southern California of Pentecostalist Christians, people who spoke in tongues, who believed in revelations by way of signs from heaven. The first meeting of this little Pentecostalist church took place on the Sunday just before the San Francisco earthquake. Wednesday came the earthquake. The pastors in the church said this is evidently a sign from heaven, from God, that He is angered by the licentiousness, the wanton behavior of San Franciscans. The result of this was that the next Sunday, the church, which had only attracted a few hundred disciples before, was swamped with thousands upon thousands of people. And the American Pentecostalist movement was in a sense born out of the San Francisco earthquake and remains today one of the largest and most politically relevant Christian movements in America."