Indeed, very frightening pictures have been coming out of Kenya and other parts of east Africa in recent months.
Apart from the suffering of the people, and the dying of the cattle and other livestock by which they measure their economic wellbeing, disaster is also staring them in the face in the form of the loss of the wild animals that have made east Africa a tourist paradise. One of the most beautiful creatures n the world, the giraffe, for example, has suffered a crash in numbers. Estimates of the number lost in the Masai Mara are as high as 95%.
If things get worse – as they undoubtedly will do – it isn’t only nature that will take its toll on the African people. The many “prophets” who have set up “charismatic” churches all across Africa, and which already prey financially on the poor and the rich alike, will redouble their psychological assault on the people. Already, they use the “tithes” of their poor church members to buy themselves jet planes and build huge mansions. They can use Biblical quotations to explain away their wealth without blinking, if challenged.
As climate change takes its toll, they will read passages to their congregations from the Bible, such as this one from Mark 13: 14-28:
But when you see the abomination of desolation standing where it should not be, then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. And let him who is on the housetop not go down, or enter in, to get anything out of his house; and let him who is in the field not turn back to get his cloak. But woe to those who are with child and to those who nurse babes in those days! … Those days will be a time of tribulation such as has not occurred since the beginning of creation which God created, until now, and never shall.
Of course, give a nebulous passage like this to a practised orator, and give him concrete evidence on the ground with which to illustrate his literal interpretation of “abomination of desolation”, and you have a wolf and a flock of sheep which he can exploit at will.
One doesn’t need to be a prophet oneself to imagine the kind of anxiety this will provoke. Some of the resulting hysteria could turn into violence, as scapegoats are sought against whom to seek vengeance for bringing disaster to the world with their “sins”.
This is one of the reasons why the Copenhagen talks mattered so much to Africa. The countdown for Armageddon has begun not only in Africa but all over the world. In the past decade, any preacher can – out of the top of his head – reel off a series of major disasters, such as the tsunami in Asia, the Katrina floods in the US, and the earthquake in China, as disturbing warnings to humanity.
We would have brought it all on our own heads, the prophets will say – with some justification. For if you live in somebody’s house and you don’t heed his warnings on how to behave, then where do you stand?