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God 'will not intervene to save us' says Archbishop of Canterbury

God 'will not intervene to save us' says Archbishop of Canterbury

By Ruth Gledhill's Blog
Times Online
March 26, 2009

Humanity risks drowning or starving through its own stupidity, the Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams warned last night. His warning coincides with a new threat to the green energy revolution as a big investor in wind power slashed its budget. In today's TimesOnline we carry a report of the Archbishop of Canterbury's apocalyptic Ebor lecture at York Minster last night, outlining a doomsday scenario if we don't mend our ways on the environment.

'Dr Rowan Williams did not say there was no God. But he said that God is not a "safety net that guarantees a happy ending in this world." He warned that the pillaging of the world's resources meant it was facing a "whole range of doomsday prospects" that went far beyond the consequences of global warming. Humanity faced being "choked, drowned or starved" by its own stupidity, he said.'

After the lecture he did a Q&A, which Peter Campbell, deputy politics editor of York University's Nouse website, reports for us here. The pictures accompanying this post are all also by Peter, former workie at The Times. A journalist to watch, methinks, especially as he did this for us for no financial reward. You will have your reward in heaven Peter.

The religious communities are "failing profoundly in what is expected of us" in energising a response to climate change in society, according to the Archbishop of Canterbury. Despite the huge potential influence that the church has over the issue of global warming, it fails to harness this effectively, he added, while answering questions following his lecture in York Minster on climate change last night.

One proposal he put forward was for "church commissioners to be more proactive in their own lives" suggesting that those in the role of leadership should be the first to "trade in their cars for eco-friendly or eco-neutral versions."

The Archbishop said that "we are near a tipping point" of climate change, and that the church, and other religious communities, are not doing their part to lead the world against it.

"People from Westminster are constantly telling me that they need me 'to keep up the pressure' on them to do something." Dr Williams added his support to the sentiment that politicians, if relied upon, will do nothing.

He also added that he was "deeply perplexed" by the issue of overpopulation. "The immediate common sense response says that everyone has to consider the limitation of their own fertility," but was quick to add that "that sounds rather like a Western prescription for other people." Dr Williams made clear that he was not advocating a China-esque governmental policy "which led to the most appalling results and brutality."

"It is hugely complicated," he admitted, adding "I find myself confused by it." The Archbishop addressed that the human race has a moral responsibility for their actions, and that "the cross [of Jesus] saves us from our self-destructive nature, not from being created in the first place."

Furthermore, humanity seems not to have a sense of fear about what will happen if we don't act, he said, stressing "the human race doesn't seem to know what it's up against."



God 'will not give happy ending'

March 26, 2009

God will not intervene to prevent humanity from wreaking disastrous damage to the environment, the Archbishop of Canterbury has warned.

In a lecture, Dr Rowan Williams urged a "radical change of heart" to prevent runaway climate change. At York Minster he said humanity should turn away from the selfishness and greed that leads it to ignore its interdependence with the natural world. And God would not guarantee a "happy ending", he warned.

Dr Williams has often spoken out about environmental issues.

'Ultimate tragedy' Speaking on Wednesday he said just as God gave humans free will to do "immeasurable damage" to themselves as individuals it seemed "clear" they had the same "terrible freedom" as a human race.

"I think that to suggest that God might intervene to protect us from the corporate folly of our practices is as unchristian and unbiblical as to suggest that he protects us from the results of our individual folly or sin," he said.

"God's faithfulness stands, assuring us that even in the most appalling disaster love will not let us go - but it will not be a safety net that guarantees a happy ending in this world."

Without a change of heart, Dr Williams warned, the world faced a number of "doomsday scenarios" including the "ultimate tragedy" of humanity gradually "choked, drowned, or starved by its own stupidity."

The poorest and most vulnerable and our children and grandchildren would pay the heaviest price for climate change, he added. A Greenpeace spokesman welcomed the speech: "Hundreds of thousands of people are dying every year because we haven't taken the necessary steps to stop climate change.

"Whilst there's nothing wrong in hoping for a miracle, relying on one does seem to be more than a bit reckless.

"We need to all do what we can now, or we're giving up on this world." Friends of the Earth's executive director, Andy Atkins said: "Humans are responsible for escalating climate change. We have a choice as to how we respond, but we and future generations will live with the consequences of this generation's choice."

Meanwhile, a spokesman for the British Humanist Association said: "The fact that god is not going to help us handle climate change will come as no surprise to many. "But nor will the reinterpretation of ancient texts to be about stewardship rather than dominion, or indeed any faith in some non-human support. "What may help us to manage it is human reason and the application of technology, and a recognition that we are on our own on this earth and must handle our own problems."

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