During our COVID-19 shutdown, Pastor Zekveld plans to provide a personal reflection from Tuesday through Friday.
Making it through the Maze
One of the things we have to navigate in this virus crisis is a cyberspace teeming with science, data, information, theories, models, and opinions.
Plus changing science, revised data, adjusted models, and misinformation. One day we’re told that 1-2 million Americans will die, and the next day maybe only 50,000.
Plus constantly changing and conflicting guidelines. Masks are essential, and masks don’t help. Social distancing is required; social distancing doesn’t make a difference. The virus can linger on a surface for as long as 3 hours, or as long as 3 days. Transmission requires contact; or the virus can be transmitted through the air.
And on and on.
The pandemic has produced a confusing infodemic of facts and figures, hoaxes and conspiracy theories, honest misunderstandings and conflicting solutions. It’s a maze to maneuver if you’re paying attention.
So how should we handle this? Whom should we listen to? A few days ago I mentioned the George Webb conspiracy theory that the virus crisis is a conspiracy of the Benassi family to spread the virus over the world. People believe this stuff.
Then there’s ‘Pastor Jonathan,’ self-identified as God’s prophet, who claims that the coronavirus is just our bodies reacting to 5G technology (the non-ionising radiation of radio and microwaves). The virus story is really technology giants covering up their plot to take over the world and insert Artificial Intelligence microchips into your body through vaccines. This will pave the way for the coming of the Antichrist. One of the masterminds behind this take-over plot through vaccines is Bill Gates. (see Incontext International, “COVID-19 and 5G: Biggest cover-up in history? True or False?” April 2 and 22, 2020) People believe this stuff too.
Whenever you read of ‘organized plots’ and ‘cover-up’ theories, tread very carefully. These are usually ‘Da Vinci Code’ category fantasies of twisted imaginations.
Then there are other reasonable, though often conflicting, medical and scientific opinions featured on news sources and Youtube that end up on your Facebook page or on Twitter. One says lockdown is essential to stop the spread. Another says that unless you’re in the vulnerable sector, business as usual is much healthier and will save more lives in the long run. Some views get censored, while others get centre stage; then the tides change and the censored view gets centre-stage.
So what do we do? Here are a few thoughts as to how we as Christians can keep our heads as we move through the maze of this infodemic:
1. Be thankful for medical and scientific experts, and for the freedom they still have in our society to discuss and disagree (see Albert Mohler, The Briefing, May 6, 2020). Although they have their own biases, they are skilled specialists in understanding health and sickness. We do well to listen and weigh and learn, and not dismiss them out of hand, even though their understanding has limits.
2. Respect the limitations of the experts as well. We should not bow down to science and data as the source of ultimate truth and the giver of health and safety. Nor should we fall apart when they’re predictions don’t come to pass.
Whatever information you read, realize that science is not absolute truth. That attribute is reserved for the Word of God alone. When experts censor all information that disagree with them, and when their followers do the same, they have made science a god requiring complete loyalty. Maybe God will use Covid to remind our idolatrous world that science is not God. May He humble our society to see that only the Word of our God is unchanging and endures forever.
3. Let’s be reminded again to be wary of conspiracy theories. If we have an anti-vaccine or anti-pharmaceutical or anti-government or anti-science bent we are especially prone to follow idle tales.
4. Plant some radishes in your garden. And garlic. And beans. Get way from the TV and off the internet so that you’re not constantly connected to the information maze. Don’t let it become an obsession that consumes you. Some folks live on the Covid News roller coaster and become paranoid. But there’s much more to life, many gifts of God to enjoy inside and outside. Breathe in the depth and breadth of life in God’s green world as much as you can.
5. To keep your head on straight, spend much time in the Bible. God’s Word is Good News. It’s hope. It’s proper perspective. The Law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul. (Psalm 19:7) It helps us see that any crisis that strikes us here on earth is a small blip on the screen of eternity. Jesus died and rose again, and in His victory over sin, suffering and death, we are more than conquerors over whatever may come our way in this life.
If you put your trust in Him, you have a life that is far bigger than any news cycle and an eternal kingdom that will outlast and outshine any kingdom here on earth.