No, I am not a subpar Christian if I differ from you in dealing with corona:
Here is a truth you can count on: there are many Christians telling us that certain things are just fine, even though Scripture clearly tells us they are wrong. The obvious examples of this would be things like homosexuality, which the Bible everywhere condemns as sinful. Yet we have all sorts of fake believers telling us there is nothing wrong with it at all.
But the other side of the coin is also something to watch out for: there are many Christians telling us something is wrong or sinful, when such things are never specifically condemned in the Bible. An obvious example of this at this time of the year are those Christian Scrooges who will angrily judge you and condemn you for daring to celebrate Christmas.
I want to speak further to this in light of the year 2020 – the year of the Rona. I want to particularly speak to several things that are highly controversial, and I am aware that to even broach these topics will incur the wrath of many who think I have no right to take a different view from them.
But sadly, the Rona has become a weapon of fear and panic for millions of people, including Christians. They are in such hysteria about it, and have bought all the panic-porn that so many political leaders and the media have dished up, that they will actually turn on other Christians and accuse them of everything under the sun if they are not also paralysed by fear and panic.
These sorts of Christians will basically attack you and claim you are not a Christian if you do not do all the things we are being told to do: stay at home, always wear a mask, take whatever vaccine is presented to you – all with no questions asked.
I expect panicky non-Christians to carry on like this, but what really bothers me is when Christians push a new legalism, and condemn things and people which Scripture does not. And so much of it comes with a Pharisaical, holier-than-thou attitude: ‘If you were a real Christian and really loved people, you would do all these things. How dare you endanger others. That is not what Jesus would do!’
It is one thing if these Christians simply said, ‘I think there is good medical evidence that a mask (or whatever) works, so that is why I am wearing one.’ But too often such evidence is not offered, and instead we get this attitude of moral superiority, where these believers will look down on you and attack you for daring to have a different view on things – and often our views ARE based on the evidence!
And believe me, I have personally encountered this far too often this year. I have lost count of the number of times Christians have attacked me, hated on me, unfriended me, and accused me of not being a good Christian because I have dared to offer a different point of view on so many of these matters.
Indeed, a full 100 out of around 365 articles I have penned for this site this year have been on corona. And I have been sounding the alarm since the beginning about where all of this is headed. I even have a chapter in an important new book on these matters: https://www.connorcourtpublishing.com.au/Fundamental-Rights-in-the-Age-of-COVID-19–Edited-by-Augusto-Zimmermann-Joshua-Forrester-_p_414.html
But let me offer just one – of many – instances where Christians have sought to make the case that their preferred response to the Rona is the right one, and Christians who think differently are somehow not being very Christlike. A few months ago the Gospel Coalition put up a piece with the title, “4 Reasons to Wear a Mask, Even if You Hate It”. The four are these:
- To Love Your Neighbor (Matt. 22:39)
- To Respect Authorities (Rom. 13:1–7)
- To Honor the Weak in Our Midst (Rom. 14)
- To Use Freedom for the Sake of the Gospel (1 Cor. 9:19–23) https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/4-reasons-wear-mask/
You can read the piece for yourself, but I am not all that thrilled with what was written. Indeed, I have answered most of these points throughout the year. Point two for example I have often discussed, eg: https://billmuehlenberg.com/2020/05/15/the-state-is-not-absolute/
But of course so much of this Christian moralising assumes that there is a unanimous medical and scientific view on the worth and efficacy of masks. The piece claims that a “consensus is emerging” on this. Um no, there is not, and there is plenty of data to the contrary that we can run with here. Indeed, throughout the year I have been pointing to studies and research where mask-wearing is questioned by the experts.
I can offer some more to this here. Consider this quote for example:
There is no evidence that masks work: “There is no evidence base for their effectiveness whatsoever,” says Dr. Hodkinson. “[Masks] are simply virtue signalling. Seeing these people walking around like lemmings obeying, without any knowledge base, to put the mask on their face.” https://electroverse.net/youtube-delete-dr-hodkinson-audio-in-telling-act-of-censorship/
A study published in late October by researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology linking a decrease in coronavirus hospitalizations to a face-mask mandate has been withdrawn following an increase in cases in the areas studied.
“The authors have withdrawn this manuscript because there are increased rates of SARS-CoV-2 cases in the areas that we originally analyzed in this study,” the updated abstract of the study titled “Decrease in Hospitalizations for COVID-19 after Mask Mandates in 1083 U.S. Counties” now reads. “New analyses in the context of the third surge in the United States are therefore needed and will be undertaken directly in conjunction with the creators of the publicly-available databases on cases, hospitalizations, testing rates. Etc.” https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/researchers-withdraw-study-showing-efficacy-of-mask-mandates-after-increased-virus-cases-in-areas-observed
Yesterday marked the publication of a long-delayed trial in Denmark which hopes to answer that very question. The ‘Danmask-19 trial’ was conducted in the spring with over 3,000 participants, when the public were not being told to wear masks but other public health measures were in place. Unlike other studies looking at masks, the Danmask study was a randomised controlled trial – making it the highest quality scientific evidence.
Around half of those in the trial received 50 disposable surgical face masks, which they were told to change after eight hours of use. After one month, the trial participants were tested using both PCR, antibody and lateral flow tests and compared with the trial participants who did not wear a mask.
In the end, there was no statistically significant difference between those who wore masks and those who did not when it came to being infected by Covid-19. 1.8 per cent of those wearing masks caught Covid, compared to 2.1 per cent of the control group. As a result, it seems that any effect masks have on preventing the spread of the disease in the community is small. https://www.spectator.com.au/2020/11/landmark-danish-study-shows-face-masks-have-no-significant-effect/
Many more such quotes can be offered. But my point should be obvious. The writer of this article is trying to tell us that if we are to be good Christians, we should all be wearing masks. Yet the evidence is NOT in on this. At the very least, there are many experts who are telling us the opposite. Yet this writer is trying to guilt-trip us all by what is at best questionable or highly disputed advice on masks.
More could be said in response to this article. I and others certainly resent being labelled “reckless virus super-spreaders” all because we question the narrative and are willing to look at alternative points of view on these issues. But perhaps worst of all is the last line in this article: “If the small annoyance of wearing masks can help not only save lives but also souls, winning more to the gospel, isn’t it worth it?”
Good grief, how often have we heard this all year long? Some of the most draconian and harmful lockdown policies were imposed on us, with the exact same ‘reasoning’: ‘If it saves just one life it is worth it.’ Um, never mind all the lives lost due to these lockdowns and over-the-top measures. As I have said throughout this year, suicide rates have skyrocketed, mental health problems have mushroomed, depression and anxiety due to loss of jobs and livelihoods have all gone through the roof. Yet those lives never seemed to have mattered very much.
If you are a Christian and you are convinced that staying home, hardly ever going out, always wearing a mask, and taking whatever vaccines or other actions is the right way to go, that is one thing. Fine. You can take those steps if you must.
But what I do find to be so very worrying is when Christians insist that their choices should become the choices of everyone else. Yes, they will often wax eloquent about how this is what Jesus would do, that it is the compassionate thing to do, and that it is to keep us all safe. They will insist that those who differ are somehow deliberately putting lives at risk and endangering others.
Of course such an attitude will easily push many of these folks into the “You MUST do this” camp. We already have numerous governments, corporations and businesses informing us that these steps ARE or SOON WILL BE mandatory, and if you do not do these things, you will not be able to work, travel, go to school, and so on.
That is NOT the stuff of conspiracy theories. I have documented this often now. It is real folks. Whatever Christians might think about Revelation 13 and the mark of the beast, these steps sure sound like they would fit in here. Statism and crony capitalism taking away our rights and freedoms is serious business, and no Christian should be cavalier about this.
As I say, if folks want to live in fear over this virus or any other, that is up to them. They can stay home all they like and never wander outside if they prefer. They can wear all the masks they like and take all the shots they prefer. But when they take this attitude that it is what Jesus would do, and Christians who live and act differently are somehow sub-par Christians, or not really Christians at all, that is where I must say enough is enough.
I do not appreciate such Pharisaic guilt-tripping. I for one will not be enslaved by fear-mongering, legalism, and unquestioning submission to the all-powerful State. I think our rights and freedoms are far too important to so readily throw away, all because we have allowed fear to take over from a calm assessment of the facts and data.
Sure, I will seek to take sensible steps to stay safe and keep others safe, but I will not be brow-beaten into believing I must be a bad Christian because I do not go along with everything the State and others are demanding of me. I am NOT a lesser Christian if I prefer to think for myself, question things, and decide how best to proceed.
So stop judging me already!