Faith in the Pandemic

I’ve wearied of hearing believers complain about the pandemic, spin conspiracy theories to pretend it doesn’t exist, embrace flaky click-bait inspired ideas about the CDC, Fauci, and COVID-19, and then wrap themselves in the flag of faith to justify it all.

It’s worrisome because Christians are called to be the light of the world, not the butt of jokes. We are to lead people to life, not destruction. The sources of Christians’ current confusion are ignorance, fear, an unbiblical view of faith, and pride.

Ignorance: Historical context for the pandemic. We are ignorant of history. There is nothing historically unusual about plagues and pandemics, and the serious ones typically last longer than two years. The plague of Cyprian lasted from 249 A.D. to 262 A.D, the plague of Justinian from 541 A.D. to 549 A.D., and the Black Death in Europe from 1346 to 1353. Yet, Christians complain because this pandemic has dragged on for nearly two years, and we still have to wear masks to church. We should set a better example.

Fear: On conspiracy theories. It is well-settled that people embrace conspiracy theories when they are unable or unwilling to accept the scary, unpleasant truths of reality. If Christians are going to be the light of the world, they need to lead in facing ugly realities and showing the world the path to Jesus, not pimping crazy-town theories about Bill Gates trying to implant chips in our arms through COVID vaccines. Such beliefs are motivated by fear, not faith. 

Unbiblical faith and real faith. The idea that getting vaccinated or wearing a mask shows a lack of faith is both naive and unbiblical. It’s like crossing a busy street and refusing to look both ways because you are “trusting God.” That is testing God, not trusting Him, and it brings God’s judgment, not His approval. It’s forcing God to act on your behalf. It’s what Satan asked Jesus to do when he suggested Jesus parachute off the top of the temple without a parachute. See Matthew 4:5-7. God will not be manipulated by our misguided view of faith.

Pride: Results of the echo chamber. Some of the arrogance I have encountered from Christians who think they know more than epidemiologists, the CDC, and even their own doctors, is shocking. Their pride comes from quarantining themselves from any opinions with which they disagree. They don’t listen to or read contrary opinions, so they can’t understand how anyone can think differently. It is the echo-chamber on steroids. It is how the German Lutheran church could support Hitler; it’s why many American Christians endorsed slavery.  And, it is not without a cost. The German church is still paying the price for endorsing fascism, as is the American church for endorsing racism.

Judgment. The cost of the current error though is more personal and immediate. I have been keeping a list of links to stories of Covid-denying or ant-vaccine Christian pastors and leaders who have encouraged their people accordingly and subsequently died of COVID. If you haven’t heard, the statistics now show people in so-called red counties are dying of COVID at higher rates than blue counties, and that almost certainly means Evangelicals are dying of COVID at higher rates than non-Christians. God will not be mocked. 

So, what to do?  Get vaccinated, get your booster, wear your mask, and then having done all you can do, trust God to protect you as you get about the work of the Kingdom. Face the current ugly reality with courage not conspiracy theories, and set an example for those around you who don’t know Jesus.

But if you don’t get vaccinated, and you refuse to wear mask, and you embrace kooky conspiracy theories, don’t pretend that God will God protect you. He is long suffering, but He is no fool, and He is jealous for His kingdom. GS

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