Throughout this entire pandemic, we’ve heard a lot of people saying a lot of things. Some of them have been great. Some of them have been dangerous. Some, idiotic. And some are a combination of the last two.
One thing I’ve heard from Christians is the following: “God will protect me.” But will he? Will he really?
Of course, I know of no such study that points to a correlation between believing in God and being spared from COVID-19. In fact, the only thing that is similar is the one that correlates mortality rate and voting for Trump in 2020. Go figure!
But Christians continue to believe that if they pray harder, if they go to church, if they read their Bibles, they’ll be spared from the pandemic.
What they don’t realize is that history has proven this to be incorrect.
Travel with me 1700s Portugal. It’s All Saints’ Day, which is a commemoration of all the saints, known and unknown. It’s 9:40 AM on Saturday, November 1, 1755. Thousands of worshippers are gathered in the churches in Lisbon. And then all hell breaks loose. An earthquake estimated at 8.4 on the Richter scale hits Portugal. People in the churches are smashed to bits. Candles that are lit fall and cause a blazing inferno. Those who are able to escape flee to the coast. A tsunami takes them out. All in all, tens of thousands are dead. The city of Lisbon and surrounding areas are laid to waste.
Now, if you are a rational person, you should be saying to yourself, “If God is going to protect anyone, it’s the church-goer on the day Christians celebrate the saints.” But no. Many of them died a horrible death. Crushed. Burned. Drowned. All in a day that forever lives in infamy.
If that can happen, then, what makes you think God is going to protect YOU during a global pandemic that has, to date, killed nearly 5 million people? He’s not. Sorry, but that’s obviously not happening.
What will protect you is wearing a mask in public, washing your hands, social distancing, and, of course, getting a vaccine. This has been demonstrated, and yet many of you still aren’t convinced. You’ll claim God will protect you without a shred of evidence, yet you’ll deny all the scientific evidence handfed to you by the experts in the field. This is shocking, and out and out tragic.
Without a doubt, this realization that God won’t protect you forces many into an existential crisis. That’s what the earthquake in Lisbon did for the people of the time. Many a theodicy – an explanation for why there is evil in a world created by a good God – was put forth. And I’ll be honest: I still struggle with the idea that God is good in the midst of horrific suffering. In fact, even though I’ve heard just about every theodicy – from the asinine Calvinist version to the more palatable ones put forth by Thomas Jay Oord and Mark Karris – I still remain rather agnostic. That is to say, if me and the Big Guy come face to face someday, I’m gonna have my questions.
Putting that aside, what I’m less agnostic about is how to protect, not only myself, but others. The data is clear.
If I wear a mask when I’m around other people, I give them a hedge of protection. It’s not perfect, but what is? Shockingly, many others – Christians included – don’t seem to give a shit about other people. They’ll walk right up to you, maskless, and breathe right on you. Because Jesus! And freedom!
If I socially distance – at least 6 feet indoors – I have less of a chance of getting sick and getting others sick. As an introvert who likes my personal bubble, this is a no-brainer.
If I wash my hands frequently, again, I protect myself and have less of a chance of spreading COVID to others.
And lastly, now that I am vaccinated, I have less of a chance of contracting serious disease, which helps out our already taxed hospital systems. (Note: This is not to say that literally EVERYONE should get vaccinated. I realize there are medical reasons NOT to. I’m talking in generalizations, people, not in completely universal terms.)
Are any of these measures perfect? No. Again, nothing is. But just because something isn’t perfect doesn’t mean it’s not worth it. Is your driving perfect? No, but you still drive. Is food safety perfect? No, but you still eat. Is eating healthy and working out perfect? No, but you still do it so that you give yourself a better chance of living a long, happy life.
Sadly, even though what I’m saying is perfectly reasonable and full of common sense, many will still dig in their heels and refuse to look out for others. It’s all about MY freedom, MY rights, and MY body. Well fine, but just realize that none of these things have anything to do with Jesus, his God, or the spirit behind what Christianity was supposed to look like. You’d be better off just admitting that you’re selfish and that you don’t give a shit about others. At least then you’d be honest while also being dangerous.
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