The Telegraph reports that some Bishops in the Church of England have suggested that the floods that devastating parts of England are God's judgment. One bishop, the Rt Rev Graham Dow, Bishop of Carlisle, has said that the floods are the result of our lack of respect for the planet, and also are a judgment on society's moral decadence.
The Telegraph reported that Bishop Dow said "This is a strong and definite judgment because the world has been arrogant in going its own way."
"We are reaping the consequences of our moral degradation, as well as the environmental damage that we have caused, " Dow says.
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.
Other Bishops laid the blame less on God's judgment and more on humanity's strewardship of the environment.
Global warming has been caused by people's lack of care for the planet and recent environmental catastrophes are a warning over how we behave, according to the Bishop of Liverpool.
"People no longer see natural disasters as an act of God," said the Rt Rev James Jones.
"However, we are now reaping what we have sown. If we live in a profligate way then there are going to be consequences," said the bishop...
"We have a responsibility in this and God is exposing us to the truth of what we have done."
Bishop Dow's assertion that natural disaster is in fact the judgment of God on a sinful culture is an old-fashioned theological back-flip—blame God for the disaster, but absolve God of responsibility by saying God's hand was forced by humanity's bad behavior. So God did it...but it wasn't really God's fault. It is hard to imagine that kind of theology will change anyone's behavior, except that it might help some of the righteous feel better about themselves. Perhaps the most scandalous part of this kind of “teaching” is that people farthest away from the sin being condemned are the ones who are facing the alleged divine wrath. Of course, this approach does nothing to help the actual flood victims come to terms with their own trauma. But hey, in this view of God's economy, someone's got to pay.
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