I get some really weird – and ugly – comments to this site:
Here is a truth you can bank on: the more you allow yourself to be overcome by fear, hysteria, alarmism and emotion, the less you will be able to function as a rational and intelligent human being. The two cancel each other out: if you run with reason, critical thinking and dispassionate analysis, you will not be overwhelmed by feelings, fear and fallacious thought.
I know all about this. Because I have an interactive website, I get hundreds of comments coming here each month. Some offer rational and commonsense thoughts. But some reflect panic, lunacy and hysteria. The sad reality is you can NOT reason or have discussions with the latter group. By definition they cannot be reasoned with.
This is especially the case when it comes to the Rona. I have received enough of these sorts of comments now to fill a small book. I will share just a few of them in a moment, but a few general things can be said about these folks. As mentioned, their comments so often demonstrate a complete inability to offer rational and sensible discussion.
And there is one quite bizarre thing in all this: they all pretend to be concerned about life and humanity, yet these folks are often the biggest haters of actual humans that I know of. I have lost track of how many of these folks have actually told me that they hope I die a slow and horrible death from Covid! Wow, feel the love! Feel the deep concern for humanity!
They do not give a rip about other people – they only care about themselves. They are so consumed by fear and panic and the desire to be “safe” at any cost that they gleefully wish death upon anyone who dares to take a different view than they do. I get this all the time. Haters are sure gonna hate, all the while telling us that we must love and care for one another!
These sorts of comments I do not post. Most go straight into the bin. But I do save some of them, in part for articles such as this. Here then are just a few – of the many – comments I have received, along with some of my thoughts on them:
“Very amusing Bill. It’s also funny that COVID will eventually kill off all of you far-right conspiracy nutters who decline the vaccines that God has provided. At least it will make for a more intelligent world.”
This of course is so very typical. No evidence, no facts, no science, no rationality. Just a whole lotta name-calling and abuse. And note the patently false narrative being pushed: somehow only “far-right conspiracy nutters” have concerns here. So the many lefties – such as American feminist Naomi Wolfe – who are dead set against the lockdowns and mandatory vaccines are really just closet conservatives?
“People who choose to be unvaccinated are entitled to make that choice. But they have no right to whinge and whine like spoilt children if that choice causes them to suffer some disadvantage, whether that be a condition of employment or admission to premises. You make the choice, you suffer the consequences.”
This is the foolish thinking of those who pretend this is all about free choice. Um, when you deny people their right to work and feed their family, this is all about coercion and force. It is NOT about freedom to choose. And how is this about keeping people safe? When we force people out of their jobs and livelihood, and condemn them to possible poverty, mental health problems, and suicide, then this is not about keeping people safe. It is about making others very much at risk.
Moreover, plenty of folks have made sensible and informed cases as to why they are Covid vaxx hesitant, including this very recent piece: https://www.firstthings.com/web-exclusives/2021/09/why-i-didnt-get-the-covid-vaccine
It is not just enraged and intolerant secular lefties sending in these nasty and unreasonable comments. Sadly plenty of folks claiming to be Christians have also sent in some very worrying comments here. Consider these three:
“The Bible cannot be used to justify disobeying valid authorities Romans 13. Not wearing masks is murder. Endangering the lives of oneself (suicide) and of other people, both of which are prohibited by the Bible.”
Oh dear! Not wearing masks is now murder? Even though numerous studies have shown how ineffective wearing masks is? Even though some of the most-masked jurisdictions in the world – including here in Melbourne – are still seeing massive spikes in cases?
And the nonsense about Romans 13 being some sort of inviolate absolute is also ludicrous. But I have discussed that text plenty already, eg.: https://billmuehlenberg.com/2020/05/15/the-state-is-not-absolute/
See also this piece: https://billmuehlenberg.com/2021/07/13/romans-13-revisited/
Another related remark which someone alerted me to comes from a Victorian pastor who incredibly seems to support everything Dictator Dan has done, including banning worship services:
“So as you fast and pray today ask God this question. Have I sinned or been in danger of sinning by having an unsubmissive attitude to the government? If so, repent and ask God to forgive you. Ask him to make you more submissive for the sake of Jesus.”
Good grief! This guy is quite happy to have his church closed down for ages, and seems to not give a rip about the massive harm draconian lockdowns are having on so many. But he IS very concerned that we are not being submissive enough! Amazing! Places like Communist China would be very grateful to have a pastor like this.
Indeed, this is just the sort of pastor that was so loved by another government – the one in Germany in the 30s! ‘Do not ask any questions. Do not rock the boat. Just submit – fully.’ Recall the words of Hitler to German pastor Martin Niemoller: “You confine yourself to the church. I’ll take care of the German people.” This clueless pastor would have been the first to shout, ‘Amen to that Fuhrer!’
Finally, some Christians keep coming to my site attacking me, pushing the tired old narrative. It does not matter how often and how much I list in scary detail all the huge problems and damage caused by lockdowns and the like: they simply ignore that and keep shouting about the need to fully support the lockdowns and to support all the tyrants who have stolen our liberties and basic human rights. Consider what one person actually said:
“I know life at home in Melbourne lockdown is easy.”
Wow! Is this person for real? Does this person actually live in Melbourne? Sounds like a paid-up member of the Labor party and the I Stand With Dan Club. I have written tens of thousands of words on how greatly people here in Melbourne are suffering. This includes lost jobs, destroyed economies, mental health problems, drug and alcohol abuse, domestic violence, eating disorders, child abuse, self-harm, suicide, deaths due to missed hospital and doctor visits, and so on.
These are massive problems which should bother us all immensely. Yet ‘Christians’ like this just do not get it – or do not want to get it. They think that the only thing that matters is the Covid case numbers – to hell with everyone else and their horrific suffering. Hmm, so much for showing Christian love, compassion and intelligence!
But let me finish on a more positive note. Thankfully these comments have not been all this bad. Many are quite sensible. One person recently asked me this for example:
“Hi Bill, I certainly appreciate your insights and articles, especially in these strange times. In light of this statement, ‘But sadly some believers seem to have made an idol out of all this, even seeing this as a new test of orthodoxy’, I’m just wondering what you’d say to those who would argue that it is those who are seeking to restore freedom, fight tyranny etc as the ones who are creating an idol. They’d argue that declaring the gospel should be the believer’s focus and that our attention, concern and efforts are a distraction and so there is the potential of making this ‘fight’ into an idol.”
This is how I replied to her:
Anything can become an idol of course – even religion. Just think about the Pharisees. Thus most things in this life must not be fully absolutised, including freedom. Having said that, freedom is an incredibly important social good, one that we dare not take lightly. Far too many young men gave their lives so that we could be free and not live under hellish tyranny. No one should make light of that. Freedom matters, as do basic human rights. It is exactly because of Christianity that the West arose and has known democracy, freedom, civil liberties, human rights and respect for individuals.
And two things can be said about preaching the gospel. One, it is very hard to preach the gospel if there is no freedom. Or in this case, when you are locked in your homes for 23 hours a day, under strict curfew, allowed only 5 kms of travel, can hardly congregate with others, and have churches shut down, it is very hard indeed to share the gospel as well. This too is never something we should be cavalier about.
And second, we are NOT just called to preach the gospel (however that is understood). We are also commanded, for example, to be salt and light in a dark culture. And that would certainly include standing up for public justice and righteousness, and resisting evil, including evil rulers who are oppressing their own people. No one can read the Bible without seeing how highly God values things like this, how passionate he is about it, and how he expects his people to be fully involved in all this.
By the way, plenty of ‘Christians’ attacked Christian politician and abolitionist William Wilberforce, telling him to forget about slavery and just stick to ‘preaching the gospel’. Thankfully he ignored that bogus and unbiblical advice, and today millions of Blacks can say thank you so much to Wilberforce for running with a whole gospel, and not a truncated one.
But for all the sensible comments like this I get, I seem to get as many pushing fear, hysteria, irrationality, hate and loathing. Hmm, the joys of having an interactive website!