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What if God has sent the coronavirus as a modern-day biblical plague to force us to change our ways?

April 14, 2020 8:53 PM
By Diana Catton

Another crackpot theory for you Diana Catton (Diana Catton)

When I received a message earlier today that I was expected to write an article for GLD News and it was due today, it came as a complete surprise. What was I supposed to write about? How long should the article be? Are there any guidelines anywhere? Well, there probably are some pointers somewhere, but as the first minute I am free is at bed-time, I decided that I would fly by the seat of my pants. Hold my beer, as they say…

Something has been playing around in my head for the last few weeks, and it's all to do with God (or Allah, or Jehovah, or whomever your cultural references point to as being God). I am not a religious person, but I have always been fascinated by religion and its history. Whether God exists or not really doesn't matter, because humankind has always felt the need for a God therefore has found the signs of God. I'm not going any further with that thought today, you'll be pleased to know.

Now, we have all been told that there is a climate crisis. Greta Thunberg, Friends of the Earth, the GLD and lots of other people have been banging on about it for some time. I personally have been worrying about it since the seventies and in my little way have done quite a few things to help - refusing, repurposing, recycling - all the r's - as well as being almost vegan for a great many years, using as little water as possible and recycling that when I can, driving small cars, teaching vegetarian cookery, running a paperless online business, turning down the heating, working from home and so on. I haven't managed to persuade huge numbers of people to follow me, however. The climate crisis is too big an idea for most people to embrace it seems, because it is something that people think may or may not happen in the future, and besides Trump says it is fake news.

So - and here is my big idea - what if God has sent the coronavirus as a modern-day biblical plague to force us to change our ways? You will recall that God sent several plagues to the Egyptians to make them free the Hebrew slaves, and before you say that history points to all of those plagues being due to the undersea volcanic eruption near Santorini and its after-effects, how else is God supposed to engineer a series of plagues?

Then there was the flood in the story of Noah's ark, and this flood appears in many religious traditions. Apparently it was to cleanse the world by killing off a lot of people and starting again. That's a fairly efficient way to do it!

It seems to me that God has been trying very hard to grab our attention about climate change but it hasn't really worked. There have been increasingly violent weather events all over the world, islands have disappeared due to sea levels rising, Polar bears are dying due to lack of ice floes, half a billion animals died in the recent Australian fires. Yes, people have acknowledged that it is due to climate change, but the urgency hasn't sunk in. They still get in their cars to take the children to school half a mile away… They still expect to go to Spain in the summer and the Alps in the winter and also take a number of weekends away each year… They still use the tumble dryer because they can't be bothered to hang their washing on the line… They still take baths every day because they can… They still only wear clothes once before washing them… They still buy new stuff every season and throw the old away… They still ignore common sense and bin food on its BBE date… And so on.

So shock tactics were in order. God used a fairly well-established mechanism. He cleared out London with a plague and a fire. He made people think about collaboration rather than confrontation after devastating world wars in the twentieth century. He drowned all the bad people in the Flood. And of course there were the famous plagues on the Egyptians.

So, sacrifice a significant number of people and humans will learn to pay attention, is that it? Too right. But there's more.

Forced lockdown and lack of economic activity has reduced pollution and noise all around the world. For the first time in thirty years, the Himalayas are visible from the Taj Mahal. Mountain goats have invaded Llandudno. All over the UK, people have become aware of the beauty of birdsong.

I am not about to play down the very real difficulties some people are facing, and as a small business owner I am up to my neck in difficulties at present. I am taking Easter weekend off, but the last few weeks have been very busy, looking for ways to save the company and the jobs of our staff. Brexit was bad enough, and now this as well… We have been going for twenty five years, and this could kill us off.

There has been some talk that a blind eye will be turned to companies creating pollution and climate warming when they open up again, and I sincerely hope that does not happen. I hope that God's purpose in sending us the coronavirus is to save the planet we live on. Three months of lockdown all around the world may well put back the date on which global warming reaches the critical level, and it should also open our eyes to the fact that we do not need to be forever chasing economic growth. We can live in a different way, we can research ways to make sure the less fortunate in our societies are looked after whilst we change, and together we can build a sustainable future.

Thank God!