“Oh my God my God, why have you forsaken me?”
The Psalmist’s cry above has been my own cry, as of late. Not in response to this terrible pandemic, mind you, but in response to the many, many so-called “Christian” responses to the pandemic.
Watching the My Pillow CEO/Inventor/Mad Man go off on his rantprayer (I made that word up just for this blogpost) the other day during the White House Covid-19 update about put me over the edge, though.
It’s like, Christians: why can’t you just not be crazy for a little while?! Please?!
Between Falwell inviting Liberty students to head back to school early, ensuring a plague-like outbreak in Virginia, to the number of pastors continuing to hold church services despite the shelter-in-place orders, infecting hundreds…it’s not like we needed the bad publicity, right?!
I mean, the most anti-science, “Jesus would be my boyfriend if that wasn’t gay” member of the Trump administration (just look at how he didn’t handle the HIV outbreak in Indiana) was put in charge of the most sciency-thing the country (and the world) has faced since 1918…this is all a disaster already, without Christians making it worse.
Downplaying the pandemic, ignoring the scientists, delaying a national response…it couldn’t get worse, right?
Then someone in power said, “Hold my beer,” because, for some reason, the My Pillow CEO gets a primetime spot behind the presidential podium to claim that America has turned its back on God, casting some theological shadows upon not only the presidency, but the pandemic.
Look, I’m glad that his company is making masks at a time when we really need private industry to step up and help the public good. I’m glad he’s doing that, and I wish more would do that.
But him helping the war-on-Corona effort doesn’t give him license to help the war-on-facts effort that the Religious Right has been fighting since the early ’80’s.
I’m already getting emails and messages from people asking me, in all honesty, whether or not this pandemic is somehow God’s retribution on humanity. They claim it’s God’s way of “bringing the family back together” as we’re all forced to shelter-in-place, a notion that totally forgets how many families will be devastated by loss of income, or bruised by abusive relationships that go under the radar in these quarantine days.
How tone-deaf can you get?
No, not tone-deaf, idiotic.
The idea that God wreaks pandemics across the world to teach humanity a lesson is plain stupid. Not only is it theologically abusive, it’s just nonsensical.
If God unleashes pandemics on the world to teach it a lesson, God’s just super ineffective…which, if you claim God as sovereign and all-powerful, doesn’t really make any sense, right?
Apparently the Spanish Flu didn’t accomplish the Almighty’s goal back in 1918, huh? I mean, the same sort of thing happened then…but I guess it didn’t work.
And the Black Plague didn’t take, either, I guess. Apparently God has to have another go at it…hopefully this time it’ll stick so we won’t all have to die anymore for God to make God’s point, by this logic.
See, here’s the thing: if you read the scriptures, God’s point is exactly the opposite of this line of thinking. According to the Jesus story, God stands in such solidarity with humanity that God is willing to die for humanity, not the other way around.
And spare me the Biblical proof-texting from the Hebrew scriptures about plagues and wars and death. This blogpost does not have enough bandwidth to give an in-depth Biblical deep-dive into the hows and whys of particular stories and what they mean in context.
Suffice it to say: there is no, absolutely no, legitimate example to point to from scripture that would suggest that the God seen in Jesus would do anything remotely like this, and anyone who tries to say there is hasn’t done their homework and isn’t worth listening to.
Bottom line: this pandemic is not God’s retribution on humanity for anything. That’s idiotic to suggest. Let’s cut out all the memes and rants and posts that suggest it is, because they’re not helping the situation. They’re certainly not converting anyone to the faith, and, if I may be so bold, they’re making Christians look like anti-intellectual miscreants.
People are dying. To suggest that they’re dying because God wants to teach the world a lesson makes a terrible situation existentially more painful.
Just stop it.
Thanks for speaking up – well said!
Thanks for speaking up – well said!
Your commentary on Christians claiming (as many are) that this is God’s way of bringing the family back together, and other suggestions of the like, is spot on. It is absolutely idiotic. This “togetherness” is destroying millions of lives. (For the reasons you stated.)
Since you brought up the anti-intellectual condition, I would argue that this is evident in the global behavior of human beings. I greatly respect your biblical knowledge and your insight into Christianity. I would urge you to take that same level of intellectualism and apply it to searching for truth, surrounding this pandemic.
You mentioned “truth” in your post, today. (Your message was brilliant, as always.) I propose that we should search for truth in everything. Please consider the information below.
A CDC report confirmed cases in the US, in JANUARY. They tested 210 people. (only 210) 11 tested positive. (Link below)
In 2018, an average of over 8200 people, per DAY, traveled from China to the US. No doubt, that number increased in 2019 and 2020, before the travel ban.
During late 2019 and early 2020 airports were full, as were hotels and all public places. No one was social distancing, much less self-isolating.
The virus is highly contagious and spreads very rapidly. In late 2019 and early 2020 a “mystery virus” was raging through the US. My husband and both of my daughters were severely ill, in late January. (So were a LOT of other people. Schools closed due to illness.) They tested negative for the flu and were all diagnosed with a “severe upper respiratory virus”.
And here we sit, months later, watching people’s lives being destroyed. (And most of them are not because of illness or death.) The virus cannot do any more damage to the health of the people in the US, today, than it was already doing in January and February. (Who knows. Maybe long before that time. Since when does anyone trust the Chinese government?)
The most effective way to control human beings is to bypass their rational brain and appeal to their emotional subconscious. Fear is one of the greatest subconscious motivators.
Had you told me, two months ago, that Americans would accept our freedoms being stripped away, I could not have fathomed the idea. Had you told me that Americans would have begged the government to take their freedoms, I would have dismissed you as a insane. Yet, it happened.
Great minds, that have studied the human condition, have long warmed of the potentially ill effects that mass media can have on society. As I type, over 122,000 people have died, this year, from the flu. Over 3,200,000 have died, this year, from communicable diseases. (In case you haven’t seen the message, being constantly broadcast through every media outlet, 47,174 have died from COVID-19, this year.)
Perspective and data are necessary for making rational decisions.
I do not propose to understand why this global manipulation of the date and circumstances is happening. (Well, it is about power. Beyond that, I can only speculate.) But, my intellectual search for truth, has proven that the actions being taken are not warranted by the data or the facts.
I hope that you will consider this information. I do believe that the more people that question what we are being told, based on data and facts, the greater our hope of saving far more lives to pandemics like suicide, drug abuse, domestic violence, and child abuse. (I fear that those will be the staggering, devastating death tolls that number in the millions, as a result of thr unwarranted actions being taken by our global governments.)
Thanks for commenting.
I understand the confusion. And I certainly understand the hesitancy to put aside “freedoms” enshrined in our constitution.
I waited to approve this note until the weekend because I wanted to see, as I feared it would, if the data would prove explosive.
Unfortunately this has already gone past the number of expected flu deaths by rate in just a few days.
At this pace, we will eclipse flu deaths for a standard year well before June due to this virus. It is easily transmissible…even more so than experts feared.
This is worth setting aside our time and our energy to let healthcare workers do their thing without adding to the risky numbers.
The goal, and this needs to be repeated more often than it is, is not to stop deaths necessarily, but slow the rate of deaths. Hospitals in hot spots are reaching capacity, and in the rural areas they will reach it in time.
That’s the problem: this can’t be stopped, only slowed to a manageable rate.
It’s not there yet. We must stay home.