I avoid discussions about evolution, the age of the earth, global warming and other science topics within my evangelical community. I do point them to certain books, articles or videos that presents my views. However, during this pandemic many of my evangelical friends are questioning the seriousness of Covid 19, often posting conspiracy theories on facebook. I usually ignore them and just post things that encourages safe practices during this time. I am very disappointed and sad in how many in the evangelical community are responding to this very serious situation. I’m not asking for advice or anything, I just need a place where I can share this because, like many of you know, talking about science with this community can be difficult and it often makes me feel alone.
Welcome. Yes, this is a difficult time, and conspiracists, especially antimaskers, are making it worse.
Most of us do have a sense of humor, though, although some can be dark. If you have been watching, though, then you have seen the Humor thread.
Welcome! I feel the same. I appreciate Biologos for that, too. Blessings!
I hear ya. Last night I participated in a discussion that had started out as encouragement for Christians to follow the new mask ordinance in our state. A few were saying we didn’t legally have to follow it because it was unconstitutional. Thankfully, most were correcting that and referring to Scripture as well. But then someone said that the mask mandate was a slippery slope to vaccines and chips. I had a friendly discussion on the chip point, and it seems she was believing the Bill Gates conspiracy theories about microchips in vaccines. I continually asked her to provide a source for her information, and she never did produce one. She talked about doing hours of research on sites that most Christians don’t know about, and how she doesn’t use mainstream media sites. It was very clear to me that she believed Covid isn’t real and that it’s part of some anti-Trump conspiracy and will all be gone in November.
I treaded carefully and explained what Bill Gates meant by “digital certificates” and explained the vaccine dye research. She finally stopped responding, and I doubt I got anywhere, but maybe people watching who are tempted by the conspiracy theories will resist that.
It’s so sad to watch someone fall into these conspiracy theories, especially when it causes a Christian to sin (slander of Bill Gates and others, willfully disobeying mask mandates, etc.).
I posted this back in April, so it’s a bit dated now, but still applies:
Welcome Kevin, you are not alone here, brother.
Welcome! I share your feelings also. It is painful to see friends fall into the traps of false teaching, whether it be science or theology. This indeed can be an oasis in the desert, though we get a few shady types in from time to time! But, code of the desert: give them shelter for 3 days then you can kick them out.
And I’m still here! Maybe you’re slipping or have relaxed your standards!
Shhh. They’ll hear us.
I am with you! I know you didn’t ask for advice, but I’d like to; how do we deal with this?
Hello, levamisole - and welcome to the forum! I presume your reply was in reference to the OP above and you are welcoming advice regarding evangelical pitfalls with conspiracy theories - especially in regard to COVID-19?
If so, my two-cents is to just try to be salt and light in the midst of it all. I.e. While you don’t have to go postal or lose patience every time you hear something you’re certain is wrong or dumb - you can at least provide a cautionary voice that asks good questions and expresses well-founded doubts about certain theories and sources. The world needs more thinking, conscientious people. [And the U.S. really needs a lot more!]
Trust and rest in him who is in ultimate control.
The most frequent mandate in the Bible is “Don’t be afraid” or one of its several variations – “Be anxious for nothing”, “Fret not”, …
That goes for dealing with other Christians who may be vexing, too.
Those who were eager to flout masks and social distancing to demonstrate total trust in God seem to be interpreting that biblical injunction to mean “your every impulse is golden”, do as you please and leave it to God to protect you from yourself.
*Where did that quote come from BTW?
Fair point, there seems to be some growing evidence to suggest that men in particular don’t want to wear masks because they think it sends the message that they are afraid. Thus no mask = courage… in their minds at least.
Actually that is me quoting myself to indicate that it is a canned copy and paste sentence that I have used here before. I think I first got it, though (or an approximation thereof), from Eugene Peterson, author of The Message paraphrase of the Bible. But a number of others have noted the same point.
Another canned thought on fear (you will recognize part of it ):
It’s not our perfect love! It is our Father’s, and he only does what is good for both him and us. The most frequent mandate in the Bible is “Don’t be afraid” or one of its several variations: “Be anxious for nothing”, “Fret not”, etc. So whenever I catch myself being anxious about ANYTHING, I can go crawl up on Father’s lap even when court is in session in the throne room, so to speak, and his strong arms will comfort me and shield me.
I know how you feel. It is very difficult when many of the evangelical church community are going down a path that will harm them and others and they refuse to take wisdom and do the smart thing. The best thing we can do is pray for God to hand us wisdom and pray for the health and safety of the nation and world.
I’m inclined to think that love doesn’t so much “drive out fear” so that we no longer recognize or feel it. I’d prefer to say love gives you a positive reason face up to fear. The impulse to elude what is feared is driven out, replaced by the resolve to stand up for what is loved.
Not dismissing the fight or flight first 90 seconds, the fact that I have a strong Father (to understate just a wee bit), whom I trust and who has intervened before, means that if I am fearful, anxious, fretting, vexed, etc., means my attention is on the wrong thing, namely, not God. Adapting William James a little, what we pay attention to is a moral choice that we make continuously.
Of course, since I’m in my early geezerhood, I didn’t get to that place spontaneously. But it started in my childhood through testimony that was trustworthy.
And (since I have a predilection to accept that wording in scripture), certainly at this point in my life, I think recognizing and trusting Father’s love does drive out fear and maybe even prevents it. I don’t think I was fearful for a second when I realized I had cancer three years ago this month. It certainly got my attention, though, and there was a certain excitement, like being in a safe place in a storm. I am in a safe place, living or dying.
Hebrews 12:2 is one of my favorite verses…
It tells us what motivated Jesus to endure the cross: future joy. And incredulously, that joy is us, if we belong to him (I am not a universalist). That gives us motivation to run the race well, too. That verse is also about paying attention, paying attention to Jesus and the future.
I think that is a good example but even there I would think the pain and fear would be fully present. In that story I think it is love for humanity which explains the willingness to endure rather than visions of things to come. I don’t think our own advantage is quite so motivating as the greater good.
I think an angle one can always take is, “what if you’re wrong?”
What if Covid19 is real and deadly, and failing to wear a mask or practice social distance dramatically increases the chance of catching it and spreading it? What if I catch it and spread it to 20 people before I realize I have it? What if 1 or more of those people die?
I can’t imagine God would want me to risk that happening without some very good reason. What reason could that be?
This is how I seek to discuss such things with people who are anti-science or anti-liberal or whatever. And I try to find out, before engaging in the discussion, how to approach them, so that it doesn’t come across as though I’m giving them the 3rd degree, but rather as though I’m seriously considering how to respond to the situation, which I am.