Jul 25, 2007

Unnatural disasters

Frank Furedi takes note of the religious overtones in people's responses to the recent UK floods.
The prophets of Biblical times, who warned of the misfortune that would befall those who turned away from God, have been replaced by computer-generated models which apparently conclusively prove that ‘The End is Nigh!’ One green commentator and former adviser to the government said of the floods in England: ‘The drumbeat of disaster that heralds global warming quickened its tempo this week; some parts of Britain had a sixth of their annual rainfall in 12 hours…. It has all been foreseen, and for far too long.’ (2) Foreseen where? In the Book of Revelations?

Claims of a prophecy foretold add an ominous Biblical quality to all the media coverage warning of an impending age of apocalyptic floods. These alarmist interpretations of the rainfall in Britain seem to suggest that the Biblical cautionary tales about floods – in which floodwaters were seen as punishment for our sins – continue to excite the Western cultural imagination. We do not quite have a Deluge, and there is no new Noah to save us – but we have been left in no doubt that the floods in England show that God is displeased with the human species and our sinful ways. The Rt Rev Graham Dow, Bishop of Carlisle, was quoted as saying: ‘We are reaping the consequences of our moral degradation, as well as the environmental damage that we have caused.’ In the bishop’s view, the floods are some kind of payback for man’s ‘arrogant’ behaviour and especially for his disregard for the welfare of the planet. Sodom and Gomorrah meets irresponsible ecological behaviour, with disastrous consequences for humanity.

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