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Are Humans a Virus?

Are Humans a Virus? May 19, 2019

At one of the public lectures in this year’s Butler Seminar on Religion and Global Affairs, which has focused on religion, ecology, and the environment, someone in the audience asked the speaker whether humankind is a virus (specifically referencing Agent Smith’s statement in The Matrix to that effect).

Thinking about it, I came up with my own answer: Human beings are the only species on planet Earth which has the freedom to choose whether to be a virus or not.

What do you think? In principle, while it may be unlikely, we could choose to eschew virus-like behaviors even if it meant the destruction of the human race. And conversely, we can behave in a way that mirrors how viruses spread and infect new organisms and locations, even though we have intelligence and other abilities that viruses lack.

Are human beings a virus? It is up to us.

David Hayward shared a cartoon depicting “Calvinist theology” that is directly related to this topic:

You can see the video of the last public lecture in this year’s Butler Seminar on Religion and Global Affairs, “Greening Indiana,” as well as read thoughts from my colleague Brent Hege about it, on the Center for Faith and Vocation blog.


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