We interfere with nature at our own peril

Like many of his rightwing, conservative religious colleagues, the American pastor, televangelist and conservative commentator Jerry Farwell was never shy to spew some of the most controversial statements.

In one of his most controversial – some say outrageous – comments, Falwell, who died in 2007, once suggested that HIV/AIDS was God’s punishment for homosexuality.

“AIDS is the wrath of a just God against homosexuals. To oppose it would be like an Israelite jumping in the Red Sea to save one of Pharaoh’s charioteers. AIDS is not just God’s punishment for homosexuals. It is God’s punishment for the society that tolerates homosexuals,” he was quoted as saying.

Falwell’s comments were certainly a long way over the top. However, like the late American preacher, we have a tendency to quickly suggest that the very worst things that happen to us – particularly when we have difficulty finding answers – are God’s punishment for society’s sins.

The Old Testament is replete with examples of God’s wrath falling on “wicked” people or on those who stray from the straight and narrow.

Moses, who led the very Israelites out of slavery in Egypt, was prevented from entering the Promised Land because he disobeyed God. And who can forget the story of the notoriously sinful cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, which were destroyed by “brimstone and fire” because of their wickedness?

Often, we refer to stories like those to support our positions that our people, our countries, our region, are being punished for straying.

It was therefore refreshing to read what a man of the cloth had to say about two of the worst hurricanes ever to form in the Atlantic.

After Hurricanes Irma and Maria devastated several of our neighbours to the north, the head of the Christian Union Churches of the Caribbean Global, Bishop Joseph Atherley, warned that “man’s own greed and his desire for more causes these types of things to happen”.

However, the goodly bishop was not suggesting that those countries were being punished by God for man’s sinful behaviour. Instead, Bishop Atherley was making it clear that our action was leading to climate change, which in turn leads to devastating storms like the two category five hurricanes we experienced in under two weeks.

“The denuding of the forests, deforestation, the heating up of the ocean, the heating up of the atmosphere generally – all of these things deriving from the development of industry and all of that development that is driven by greed without reference to the impact it has on the environment, I think that is part of it,” he said.

“Nature goes awry and ultimately whether God brings it, as some people would suggest it is judgement, or allows it that we would be taught a lesson and brought back to our own sense of mortality and dependence upon him and need for him, . . . at the end of the day man must recognize that he is totally at the mercies of God who he sometimes does not acknowledge.”

It was one of the most mature positions taken by a Barbadian church leader on such an issue.

Yes, climate change is a controversial issue, but we certainly cannot deny that we are experiencing some of the most violent storms in our lifetime. Category five hurricanes are not new, but they certainly have not been happening this frequently.

Bishop Atherley, by his pronouncement, even though he might not have intended to, dismissed any suggestions that our Caribbean neighbours are nothing but wicked.

In the Sodom and Gomorrah story, God promised Abraham he would not destroy the cities if there were 50, 40, 30, 20, 10 righteous people left. Anyone who believes that the hurricanes were punishment on evil doers and those who aid and abet them, would be suggesting that not a single righteous person could be found in Anguilla, Barbuda, the British Virgin Islands, Dominica, Saint Martin, etc. Clearly, this would be unreal.

Bishop Atherley also made a very critical point that we must not overlook. With Barbados having been spared many a dangerous hurricane, thank God – the pun is unintended –  we have the tendency to insist that the reason we do not get hit is because God is a Bajan.

However, the church leader said it simply was not true.

“I don’t think it is anything like that. I think geography has something to do with it,” he said, while contending that when “we interfere with nature, we put things out of sync and some of these things result.”

These are wise words that we must take seriously. Before Dominica was devastated by Hurricane David in 1979, generations of Dominicans had not experienced a severe storm. The same for Grenada before Hurricane Ivan in 2004.

The fact is we do not know when our turn will come. Therefore, we cannot afford to be complacent, to believe it will never happen to us because God is a Bajan. Or worse yet, we will never be punished because, seemingly, there are no wicked people here.

6 Responses to We interfere with nature at our own peril

  1. Jennifer September 23, 2017 at 8:16 pm

    Now you see why this people talk the crap they do. Christianity is just not truthful and institutes blindness.

  2. allison archer September 23, 2017 at 8:43 pm

    You failed to acknowledge the Almighty God is always in control and nothing happens but by Him
    Yes God is allowing the world to see the depths of evil mankind can conjure up that we may stop trusting in it and turn to the Creator Who delivers us from the onslaught of evil that dwells within our hearts where we are prone to hurt our fellow man

    Jesus the Christ continues to pour His goodness towards mankind that repentance may be sought in order to escape from this present evil age

  3. Ronald Callender September 24, 2017 at 1:20 am

    The editorial has much fodder. Nevertheless, I’ll make few comments.

    The title “We interfere with nature at our own peril” is spot on. Guess what, man can’t help it. History is all the evidence we need to know that is true. Whenever we don’t do the right thing, we put ourselves on a course for destruction.

    The wrath of God and punishment by God have been thrown around by people every time something horrific happens. People who do those things live too much in the Old Testament. As a result, they failed to realize that God, the Father, Yahweh, was at work in a “hands on” way as it were then.

    Today, in these New Testament times, His Spirit, the Holy Spirit is at work. He doesn’t punish anyone. If we think or believe otherwise, may I suggest we read the soon to be published book “The More Things Change, The More They Remain the Same: Avoiding Garden-of-Eden Deception to Ensure You Reap Good Harvests”. The thread that runs through this book explains thoroughly what causes people to reap good or evil harvests–consequences http://themorethingschange.innermanpublishing.com/.

    God isn’t a Bajan. He is a spirit, and Bajans aren’t spirits.

    Rather than jokingly and erroneously say that God is a Bajan, let’s be mindful of what the old folks told us: “What hasn’t catch yuh, hasn’t passed yuh” and “What hasn’t happened in a year happens in a day.” You aptly reminded us of Dominica’s history with hurricanes.

    There are things the government should do, but it’s hemorrhaging fiscally, so that’s out of the question.

    I love the last paragraph. Yes, Jesus is our only solution. When we live for a long time, and an act of nature eats everything or almost everything we had, to overcome, we need someone who will tells us that He will supply all our needs, and we can do all things through Him [Jesus] who strengthen us.

    Jesus prophesied that things will get worse, acts of nature, as the end draws near.

    A fat bank account will not do it, only a “great-faith-in-God” account will enable us to stand no matter what happens to us in these end times.

    A word to the wise is enough, whatever material possessions we’ve, let’s hold them loosely while laying hold of the enduring riches Jesus offers us.


  4. Jennifer September 24, 2017 at 7:36 am

    The holy bible is SHROUDED IN MYSTERIES. This book is first and foremost a history book. A book of a holy and separate people who was given the GOVERNMENT OF THE EARTH but due to their disobedience and alliance with other nations who HATE them they has always been ENSLAVED by one nation or another. The god of the bible is about SEPARATION this is why every nation was given their own land and he chose only one to give his laws, statutes and commandments which is the SEED line of Jacob = 12 sons. These sons later became gentiles due to disobedience and falling from grace just like Adam and EVE. Currently ALL are being deceived just like Adam and EVE with the very said age old serpent also, hence gross darkness. Until you can relate yourself and connect your self with the bible you will be on the broad road. The bible is a concurrent collection of books and NOTHING changes with “God”. If he said this is how it was at the beginning then this is how it will be at the end. Hence Rev 7 and 21. The RC church took out the Apochrapher etc to lead astray the lost sheep, and to keep the lost sheep LOST. To understand the scriptures in totality you will need to restore those books.

    And the so called Christ was from the SEED line of DAVID of the TRIBE of JUDAH.

    Not from Moab, not from Ammon, not from EDOM etc but from the said 12 TRIBES OF ISRAEL. Please get conscious during this time of tidal turning.

    • Jennifer September 24, 2017 at 7:52 am

      We also need to stop making statements from our own taught rubbish especially when they are not written in the bible. The book is a history book of a people who will be subjected to having their history erased, in order to prevent the fire from being relight. READ THE entire BOOK AND ASK FOR DISCERNMENT BEFORE COMMENCING.

  5. Sheron Inniss September 25, 2017 at 2:45 pm

    I believe the Bible is the word of GOD, shrouded in mystery.There are several examples there of the consequences to be had if you divert from the natural ways

    Man is desecrating the earth so the earth is just “fighting back”. The earth will never be destroyed by man but for sure …..”one will be left standing whilst the other is taken…..” and life will never be the same again.

    In other words it is the end of the world for some but others have another chance to make the change and go on.

    Life is a cycle until…..


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