Sunday, July 01, 2007

The Brits are going Biblical

The rains haven't lasted forty days and forty nights, but some religious leaders in Britain aren't willing to wait that long before identifying the real cuprit for the recent deluge: God's wrath.

The floods that have devastated swathes of the country are God's judgment on the immorality and greed of modern society, according to senior Church of England bishops.

One diocesan bishop has even claimed that laws that have undermined marriage, including the introduction of pro-gay legislation, have provoked God to act by sending the storms that have left thousands of people homeless.

While those who have been affected by the storms are innocent victims, the bishops argue controversially that the flooding is a result of Western civilisation's decision to ignore biblical teaching.

The Rt Rev Graham Dow, Bishop of Carlisle, argued that the floods are not just a result of a lack of respect for the planet, but also a judgment on society's moral decadence.

"This is a strong and definite judgment because the world has been arrogant in going its own way," he said. "We are reaping the consequences of our moral degradation, as well as the environmental damage that we have caused."

The bishop, who is a leading evangelical, said that people should heed the stories of the Bible, which described the downfall of the Roman empire as a result of its immorality.

"We are in serious moral trouble because every type of lifestyle is now regarded as legitimate," he said.

"In the Bible, institutional power is referred to as 'the beast', which sets itself up to control people and their morals. Our government has been playing the role of God in saying that people are free to act as they want," he said, adding that the introduction of recent pro-gay laws highlighted its determination to undermine marriage.

"The sexual orientation regulations [which give greater rights to gays] are part of a general scene of permissiveness. We are in a situation where we are liable for God's judgment, which is intended to call us to repentance."

He expressed his sympathy for those who have been hit by the weather, but said that the problem with "environmental judgment is that it is indiscriminate".

The West is also being punished for the way that it has exploited poorer nations in its pursuit of economic gain. "It has set up dominant economic structures that are built on greed and that keep other nations in a situation of dependence. The principle of God's judgment on nations that have exploited other nations is all there in the Bible," he said.

He urged people to respond to the latest floods by turning away from a lifestyle of greed to instead live thinking of the consequences of their actions.

The good Bishop needs to brush up on his Bible, as well as world history. The last chapters of the bible to be written date from the late 1st to early 2nd century AD, a few centuries shy of Rome's downfall. If you check the historical record, you'll see that Rome's decline accelerates after the empire adopted Christianity as its official religion, so I wouldn't be putting too much stock in a Biblical cure for Britain's ills.

His reference to "the beast" of institutional power contradicts itself. First he says that the beast controls people and their morals, then he blames the beast for letting people do as they wish. So which one is it?

But it doesn't surprise me to see quasi-scientific environmental doomsaying blending in with good old-fashioned Biblical variety. It was just a matter of time.


Blogger monix said...

There I was, thinking the weather had something to do with a kink in the jet stream. I'd better get to work on that ark!

July 01, 2007 9:39 AM  
Blogger Harry Eagar said...

It isn't just trying to deal with physics that makes Christians look foolish. Anytime they meddle with topics that can be objectively investigated, they end up spouting idiocies.

They should stick to safe topics, like angels.

(Not only Christians, of course.)

July 01, 2007 1:04 PM  
Blogger monix said...

Oh Harry, don't be so harsh on us.

You might be helpful and give me some practical advice on ark building. Anyone who has seen my pathetic efforts to shore up my little tree in the storms will realise I haven't much hope of surviving these floods of retribution on my own.

July 01, 2007 1:27 PM  
Blogger Bret said...

Isn't some guy named Evan building an arc in central park or something like that? Oh, that's just a movie. It's amazing how while fantasy and reality mirror each other via parody.

Maybe God visited the good Bishop and personally enlightened him?

July 01, 2007 1:41 PM  
Blogger Harry Eagar said...

My advice on ark building would be, don't bother.

Isn't everybody praying for the rain to go away? Is god not listening?

I don't know if in England you have this old joke:

There was a hard rain and the water was rising fast. A preacher stood on the porch of his church, with the water moistening his feet.

Men in a Jeep came by and shouted, 'Hop in, Preacher, and we'll save you.'

'No, thanks, boys! I'm puttin' my faith in the Lawd.'

More rain fell, the water rose higher and the preacher had to climb onto the roof of his church.

Men in a boat came by and told him, 'Hop in, Preacher!'

'No, thanks, boys. I'm puttin' my faith in the Lawd.'

Rain fell, the water rose, and the preacher had to shinny up to the top of the steeple.

A helicopter came by and the crew threw down a rope.

'No, thanks, boys,' the Preacher shouted over the noise. 'I'm puttin' my faith in the Lawd.'

The rain still fell, the water rose and the preacher drowned.

At his interview with the Lawd, he complained, 'All my life I glorified you, spread your name to the nations. And when I needed a little help, what did you do?'

And the Lawd sighed and said, 'I sent a Jeep, a boat and a helicopter.'

July 01, 2007 3:47 PM  
Blogger monix said...

I haven't heard that joke before but I've met the situation many times!

July 01, 2007 4:13 PM  
Blogger Oroborous said...

The West is also being punished for the way that it has exploited poorer nations in its pursuit of economic gain. "It has set up dominant economic structures that are built on greed and that keep other nations in a situation of dependence..."

It appears that the Bishop of Carlisle hasn't cracked a book, nor for that matter read a newspaper, since the 60s. Nobody has colonies anymore.

Further, if the West and other developed regions were not "exploiting" poor nations by buying their natural resources, those nations would be even more poor, not miraculously affluent.

There's a reason that there are nations "[kept] in a situation of dependence", but that reason has precious little to do with the West, and nearly everything to do with the dysfunctional cultures of the dependent nations. There's no secret to prosperity, and in fact the West will show anyone who's interested all of the ins-and-outs of how to do it, free of charge.

Israel, Singapore, Taiwan, the Czech Republic, and Hungary are good examples of how hewing to proper practices will pay off, if only a nation will make the attempt.

July 02, 2007 9:23 AM  
Blogger Daniel said...

Rome mixed paganism with Christianity.....those who reject God and His word will continuosly reap judgement and their own peril. I guess it's easy for the arrogant to make jokes and poke fun at the creator and things of a spiritual nature, while you are not facing death firsthand. How cocky will you be when you know you have only a short time before facing the one you've rejected. The bible is clear , God will and does bring judgement on the wicked and these homosexual rulings have probably began to tip the cup of His vengeance.

August 18, 2007 2:25 PM  

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