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COVID religion.  Who would have thought the religious revival of 2020 would be secular?  That it would sweep across the world in every nation on earth?  Adherents added every day by the thousands and supported by media everywhere.  Fervor unmatched by anything we have seen for generations.  Break out the singing!

COVID ReligionGimme some of that COVID religion

Gimme some of that COVID religion

Gimme some of that COVID religion

It’s good enough for me.

To have a bona fide religion there needs to be several key components in place.  Once they are all lined up, the outcome is predictable.  Consider these:

Faith

Faith is a core component of all world religions. Many a debate has occurred concerning the existence of God and his apparent activity on earth.  Adherents to a particular faith will stand firm that their God/Deity/Higher Power exists and the evidence of his/its activity is all around for us to see.  The Jesus following writer of the Bible book of Hebrews put it this way “without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” Heb 11:6 This is remarkably similar to COVID-19.  A negative outcome version is applied in that touching an object or surface can transmit the virus or getting within 6 feet of another person will put one at great risk of catching the virus and of course dying.  The thousands of deaths worldwide being attributed to COVID-19 are confirmed to be caused by the virus.  Faith in its power is everywhere.

Priests

Without priests or holy ones it is very difficult to have a religion. After all, there must be those with access to secret knowledge that only those closest to the Deity have obtained.  Better yet, if they have seen the Deity/Virus that is even better.  We have that in spades with COVID religion.  Scientists, health officials and politicians have that secret knowledge.  We must listen.  When these keepers of all knowledge and wisdom are challenged on things like accuracy of statistics, effectiveness of physical distancing and self-isolation their most frequent response is “just trust us, we are the professionals” or “we must believe the science that we have”.  Of course the more honest of this group also admit the science is constantly changing and we just don’t know for sure. When in doubt, just believe!

Preaching

Regular preaching or pronouncements from the priest/holy ones is vital to the propagation of any faith and this one is no exception. In fact, usually faith groups survive on just a weekly proclamation of the great acts of the Deity.  Very committed groups sometimes meet twice per week to hear from their priests/holy ones but in the case of COVID, we are treated to daily pronouncements of the spread of the Deity and the impacts on the masses.  All kinds of statements, numbers and statistics are quoted in the thorough messages.  Usually unchallenged.  No wonder this newfound religion is spreading so rapidly.

Evangelists

Where would any religion be without its evangelists? Committed adherents who are dedicated to spreading the word at every turn, often warning of impending doom if their listeners, viewers or readers do not repent and follow the demands of the Deity and the priests/holy ones.  Enter the mainstream media for the COVID religion.  As has often been observed of some of the more aggressive televangelists in other religions, facts are often not a huge concern for this group.  It’s all about impact and influence of people, preferably large numbers of people.  With the advent of Facebook, YouTube and other forms of social media, the platform available to COVID evangelists is massive and instant.

Heretics

No religion would be complete without its heretics. These are the ones who typically ignore the evangelists, challenge the “facts”, question the priests and doubt the power of the Deity and even its existence.  Of course these are often relentlessly persecuted by the followers of the Deity and usually the evangelists and priests as well.  Thank God (literally) for the heretics because without them the rest of us would be in big trouble.  In the history of most world religions, it is those who were considered heretics that changed the thinking about the Deity and progressed humanity forward. What is so interesting about the COVID religion is that the more honest priests/holy ones will admit that their science is imperfect and the best we have but that appears not to stop the relentless outing and persecution of anyone who dares challenge the doctrines of the movement.  Ironically, the very thing that all scientists claim is the foundation of science “challenging the hypothesis” seems unacceptable now.  This is the truest indication that we have a religion at work rather than science.

Self-righteousness

Finally, we know we are in the vicinity of religion when self-righteousness rears its ugly head. Those who live by faith in the pronouncements of the priest/holy ones and regularly spread the message of the evangelists by reposting on social media or commenting on the latest “transgression” of a heretic.  We are seeing this spinning out of control in the COVID religion.  In fact, this self-righteousness may be the fuel that is driving the pandemic.  You see, the COVID-19 epidemic is the perfect secular opportunity to worship science, follow the directives of the anointed ones and smugly claim moral superiority to others who are not as “pure” in their adherence.   “Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? They don’t wash their hands before they eat!” Matt 15:2  All of this is possible without any invisible supernatural being to believe in.  After all, who needs God when you have science to worship?

Money

In examining the COVID religion metaphor, we haven’t even touched the connection of money to the whole system.  However, let’s just say that it doesn’t appear that the priests/holy ones, preachers or evangelists are suffering through the pandemic.  In fact, in Canada, the holy ones just gave themselves a raise.  Of course the regular parishioners are the ones suffering with record unemployment and their small businesses closing.

There you have it.  All of the key components for a powerful religion in place.  As COVID religion continues to spread across the world, we who are living in these times seem helpless to oppose it or do anything about it.  It seems the priests/holy ones, supported by the evangelists are in control of the agenda and are operating in a level of authority much like that of all knowing parents who simply know better than their children.  Again, the lyrics from that old gospel song seem appropriate:

It was good for Dad and Mother

It was good for Dad and Mother

It was good for Dad and Mother

It’s good enough for me. 

However, before you swallow this new religion fully, consider these “heretical” statements:

– The death rate attributed to COVID-19 has consistently fallen from as high as 10% to less than 1% and is still falling.  Many media outlets are now admitting it is “utterly unreliable”.

– Total number of deaths in the USA was predicted to be as high as 240,000 and is now projected to be 60,000 by August.

– The number of cases reported by the WHO and CDC includes “presumed COVID-19”.  That means the case has not been confirmed via testing and therefore may not be present at all.

Doctors and medical professionals are encouraged to report cause of death as COVID-19, even if tests have not confirmed and regardless of other underlying conditions.

– Due to inconsistency of testing in various countries and estimates that at least 50% of people with the virus are asymptomatic and untested, we have no idea how many people have the virus.

However, by all means – BELIEVE!!

Give me some of that COVID religion!

Back to Eden Group

Showing 5 comments
  • Sarah-Lambert
    Reply

    This analogy feels somewhat forced to me. While absolutely, there is some excessive panic happening and certainly some judgements being made by people against their neighbors, not to mention financial windfalls for the wealthy in the form of bailouts, to call this a religion or even equate it to that does not feel appropriate.

    I say this because believing scientific findings does not have to negate belief in scripture or God. To listen to wisdom, knowledge, or experience (from doctors and virologists, etc) is not to therefore ignore the wisdom of God. To be a part of a community of people and look after that community (through limiting contact and such) does not mean one is worshipping that community as an idol.

    To see a virus–the object of an unknown fear for many–as something people are creating a religion around simply because they are giving it fear and attention feels like it trivializes very real fears.

    In 1918, Spanish Flu, with a mortality rate of 2% infected most people on planet earth and killed 50 million people. It was a horror. Low mortality rates only seem trivial when infection rates remain low. This is not me swallowing the blue pill or worshipping at any house other than that of my Father’s, but it is me loving my neighbors. To listen to advice, to limit contact, may help my neighbors and slow the spread of a virus that is causing deaths to stack very quickly. Am I afraid? Not at all. Do I love my neighbors? Yes, so I shall maintain distancing and wear a mask.

    Already in the US there have been over 50,000 deaths. This will overtake the 60,000 number listed in this blog well before August.

    Is there some undue hysteria? Yes, absolutely! Should question the rational of our leaders and their biases towards wealth? Yes, absolutely! Should we accuse those who are afraid of having too much faith in science? No.

    God and science do not have to be pitted against one another. God is neither testable nor prove-able and therefore beyond science’s scope. Science can be used as a way to see and love God’s creations with mathematical precision. In this case, it being used as a way to help save lives. When Jesus was on earth he was not afraid of lepers, but he never asked other people to not be afraid of disease. When Lazarus died of a disease, Jesus wept. He sees our suffering and He weeps. He tells us over and over to not be afraid, to not be afraid. He doesn’t accuse us of worshipping the disease or fear itself. Maybe our media has changed how much we can consume about a topic, but fear doesn’t mean we’ve made an idol out of it. It means we are afraid, but perhaps we don’t need to be: we have Jesus.

    • B2E Group
      Reply

      Sarah-Lambert,

      It seems you have missed the point of this post. The comparison to religion was chosen to put the focus on the excessive over-reaction to COVID-19 which has strikingly similar characteristics to how a religious system operates rather than a scientific one. COVID-19 is not the Spanish Flu and history will eventually demonstrate that. We won’t restate the blog but the excessive authoritarian leadership, outing of dissenters much like heretics and the unwillingness to incorporate facts on the ground to adjust belief systems is classic religious behaviour.

      Where you are either very mistaken or perhaps misunderstanding the intent of the post is suggesting we are pitting God against science. In fact, it is just the opposite. True science observes what is occurring and adjusts its hypothesis as new data is observed. Again, that is not the case here. Your statement that “God is neither testable nor prove-able” could also be said about COVID-19. Numbers vary wildly from country to country and evidence is growing that both the number of actual deaths due to COVID-19 are overstated and total cases are understated (primarily due to not testing asymptomatic people). This is why the death rate continues to drop as more data comes in.

      Finally, our western based medical system is an idol that is worshipped by our society, especially the media. If you doubt that, just watch what happens when a medical professional breaks ranks and proposes alternate views. COVID-19 dogma is just the latest twist on this religious system.

      Notwithstanding all of this, we will respect sound wisdom like physical distancing, not going out in public when sick and washing hands frequently as we would with any other illness. However, we will not bow to religious fear and participate in self-righteously impacting the lives of our neighbours by destroying our economy.

      • Sarah-Lambert
        Reply

        Hi John,

        I really appreciate your clarification and want to apologize if my tone sounded combative or at all offensive. I wrote it while under some stress and in a very reactionary place after first reading. You are quite right that I did not catch the spirit of the post, but interpreted it very differently. Further, I’d like to apologize for the assumptions made about “pitting God against science,” as I said. Again, based on my initial interpretation of the post it felt very different to me and caused a fairly emotional reaction. That was totally presumptuous and I appreciate your explanations about what you meant. Sometimes, once one has gotten worked up it can be too easy to leap from a feeling to a nearby, related assumption and I am sorry for any offense my words may have caused.

        • B2E Group
          Reply

          Thanks for your transparency Sarah-Lambert. See you at the next meeting.

    • Jimmy
      Reply

      Sarah-Lamber,

      I’m not sure who you are arguing with, you seem to be both disagreeing and agreeing, but more than either you seem to be making a lot of assumptions in the process about what the John does or doesn’t believe.

      The article is meant to tease out the spiritual “fervor” behind the scenes of the “hysteria.” There is an art to disagreement, and it’s ok if you disagree, but there is also a line of disrespect and you have crossed it with your post. With your comment, you have made the post about the lack of historical reference and assuming John doesn’t know that.

      To clarify by no means do you or anyone have to agree with every aspect of these articles but, that engaging here is first focused around Jesus and second around conversation. I would ask this to be at the center before if you wish to engage further in conversation on these blogs.

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