Hank Jensen
by on September 2, 2021
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By Jay Zeke Malakai
Originally posted on Bible-Brain


Without doubt, the most divisive issue in our world right now is Covid-19 vaccinations. Should Christians get it, or should they not? There are high emotions on both sides. On the one hand, there are those who say of course you should get vaccinated! It's just the Christian thing to do. On the other hand, there are those who say no, you are actually sinning if you take the vaccine. But the one and only Christian answer to "should a Christian get vaccinated?" is that there is no right answer.

First of all, this applies to the world as a whole. As Christians, we don't have a special shield that the unbelieving world does not have, nor do we have any rights that the unbelieving world does not have (save, of course, the right to become children of God, as per John 1:12, but that has absolutely nothing to do with vaccines). So, we can actually afford to step outside the Bible on this issue, while obviously considering its teachings.

The problem here is that the Bible does not directly have any teachings about vaccines. The Bible does not say "thou shalt get vaccinated", nor does it say "thou shalt get vaccinated". We are therefore forced to use deductive reasoning to figure out what we should believe on vaccines. And that's ok, deductive reasoning is how we reach a lot of conclusions in Christianity. It does, however, have a weakness in that, unlike explicit statements, it can often be used to draw some very bad conclusions. Especially if you apply only one verse, or even apply verses that simply ought not be applied.

As an example, I recently saw a video entitled "A logical biblical response to the vaccine" by TheologyForBreakfast (His name is Wayne). In the description of the video, we read "My challenge to the Christians who disagree with this video is to use the Bible to disprove any and all of what is said." Now, I'm not going to refute all of what is said, because I do not disagree with all that is said. Nevertheless, there is a lot in the video that I think is very wrong, and arguably quite dangerous, both in the spiritual and physical realms. Therefore, in the spirit of brotherly love, I am going to meet the challenge, but I'm going to tweak it slightly. I fully agree that "We need to have a biblical worldview if we are going to be legitimate Christians." (also pulled from the video's descriptions). However, as the video does not stick exclusively to scripture, neither shall I. I will also be using logic, history, and science, on top of (well... below, but you know what I mean) to show the flaw in Wayne's arguments.

In the video, Wayne argued that Jeremiah 29:7 "...should make it clear what the Christian decision should be concerning the vaccine". What does the verse say? Based on the wording used in the video, I believe the HCSB is his chosen translation, so let's have a look: "Seek the welfare of the city I have deported you to. Pray to the Lord on its behalf, for when it has prosperity, you will prosper.”"

From this verse, Wayne argued that Christians should do their best to help the environment we are in to thrive. He then continues to express his concern that, although we ought to be our own last concerns, the Christian response to the pandemic has been very "me first". He goes off a little by talking about conspiracy theories, which I'll just say right off the bat I fully agree with him are absurd. No, Covid vaccines aren't the mark of the Beast. I think as Christians we tend to look too rigorously for this mark, but we really ought to stop, because regardless of your views on the timing of the rapture, the mark itself certainly won't sneak up on us. We'll know it's here.

During his tangent regarding the mark of the beast conspiracies, he does also talk about government control, which I think is a very unhealthy blend. It is neither wise, nor fair, to mix crackpot conspiracy theories about the mark of the beast with very real, and even historically verifiable concerns that corrupt politicians can, and have, abused good causes for evil purposes, and it is simply unrealistic, and frankly very foolish, not to accept that they are likely to do so again. Millions of people have died in the past century alone, not to a virus with a low death rate, but at the hands of very evil governments. We ought not assume that our governments are any more immune to corruption, especially when they have not only been caught lying, but openly admit, and sometimes even brag about it. That is where I am going to leave that particular discussion, but I must insist that legitimate fears of corruption be divided from insane conspiracy theories.

Wayne wraps up his rant about the mark of the beast and continues to express his concern that many of us are more worried about our personal freedoms, going on to say he is perplexed that people can claim that he finds it perplexing that one can claim to be Christian (note that phrase) and not be concerned about the health of people they meet in the grocery store. He then says that getting the vaccine helps other people stay safe, but because our freedoms have become more important to us, it makes verses like Jeremiah 29:7 seem irrelevant. He then asks how we, as Christians, can add value to our communities if we aren't concerned with their health.

Now, first, I'm going to address the very dangerous territory Wayne entered by saying he is perplexed "that people can claim to be Christian". Questioning someone's faith is a very dangerous game. Obviously, it is possible to be a fake Christian. James dedicated a whole epistle to it. But if you're going to doubt someone's faith in Christ, it better not be on an issue of doubt. If it was something like the deity of Christ, goooooood. You cannot be a Christian if you don't believe Christ is divine. If it's on an issue of actual sin (sexual immorality, for example), it gets a little iffy. You're right, but you need two things: 1. to be sure you're not guilty of it yourself, and 2. to be sure it's something they're not bothered by. But when it comes to Covid vaccines, as we're about to explain, there is so much nuance that you simply cannot afford to judge another Christian's decision, much less doubt his very faith.

Let's also address the liberty thing, just to get it out of the way. For me, personally, this is actually an area of extreme conflict. I believe we are to submit to the government in most cases (see Romans 13), but I see a lot of nuance to this, nuance which would go far beyond the intended scope of this article. Suffice to say for now, it is highly unreasonable to bash liberty while using liberties that many brave men and women have fought, suffered, and even died for us to have. The entire reason we are having this discussion is because we have the liberty to do so. So, where is the sense in downplaying liberty? From a biblical standpoint, from a logical standpoint, from a human standpoint? In fact, one point Wayne makes later in the video is how would people think if you tell them you don't care about their health? Well, tell me this: What would they think if you also tell them you don't care about their liberties? Not everyone who has rejected the vaccine is a Christian, nor is every freedom fighter a Christian. You cannot please all people. If you push against liberty for sake of the vaccine, you will offend those who stand for their liberties, and don't trust the vaccine.

And that really is the crux of the issue: Should we trust the vaccine? Wayne seems to take it for granted that the vaccine is helping, without any consideration for potential harm, or other concerns. Now, I'm not going to get too deep into this. In fact, since I don't want blood on my hands, I make it a point not to give medical advice. The closest thing I will give to medical advice is that if you are a mentally sound, consenting adult, your personal healthcare choices are entirely your business. They are between you, your doctor/s, and God. That is why I refuse to say "take the vaccine", or "don't take the vaccine". I reiterate the point I am trying to prove: There is no right answer. So I won't get too deep into whether the vaccines help or not. What I will say is this: It is indisputable that people have died from it.

Now, pro-vaxxers (for sake of clarity, I am not now, nor have I ever in my adult life been, anti-vax) may argue "yeah, but that's a very small number", but tell me, how many people do you need to kill before you can be said to have broken the 6th commandment? It leaves no room for interpretation: "Do not murder." (Exodus 20:13). So, if even one person dies who did not want the vaccine, but was forced, or even just pressured into it, that person's blood is on the hands of the one/s who pressured or forced them into it. I really don't see a way around that. Small risk? Sure. But only one person in this world has the right to decide whether you should take that risk or not: you!

But let's set aside the deaths caused by vaccines and instead address the issue of conscience. There are two reasons a Christian might, for better or for worse, be concerned about the vaccine. The first is concerns about science, the second is concerns about ethics.

Scientific concerns are fairly self explanatory. You may be concerned that, contrary to Wayne's claims, the vaccine is not necessarily good for society. Indeed, I find pro-vaxxers often have very little faith in the vaccines. If you are fully vaccinated, what reason have you to fear the unvaccinated? If the vaccine protects you, it protects you regardless of whether or not I am vaccinated too. If it doesn't protect you, then me getting vaccinated isn't going to make a blind bit of difference. This drastically reduces the risk-reward factor. There is also the fact that Covid vaccines are not like other vaccines. The research was rushed, and the long term effects are not yet known. There's also the issue of natural immunity. Many people trust their own immune system, whether it be to protect them against the disease if (not when) they catch it, and it is worth noting that you have a ridiculously slim chance of catching it twice.

Ethical concerns are equally valid. Christians especially are called to a high standard of ethics. There are certain things we cannot do, even for good causes. You may be concerned for the hungry, but woe betide you if you steal to feed them. In the same way, many people are concerned about both the methods of creating and rolling out this vaccine. I personally fall into the latter camp. I find it utterly despicable that Big Tech and big government have stifled discussion on this topic, I find it creepy that people have been bribed to accept the vaccine, I find it beyond eerie that people are being pressured to disclose their vaccine statuses, I find it horrific that any government intervention is occurring to force or even pressure people to take it, and I find it unconscionable that our society all but worships this vaccine as our Messiah against this pathetic little bug.

Now, regardless of how valid you believe each concern is, whether I just mentioned it or not, they are all reasons a Christian might not have faith in the vaccines. They might be concerned for their personal safety (and that is not selfish), and they might worry that they are not doing the right thing. In either scenario, they do not have faith in the vaccines. Here's the problem: According to Romans 14:23b, "...everything that is not from a conviction is sin." Christianity places a very heavy emphasis on the individual conscience. Even things that are not inherently sinful can become sinful if they are not done in good faith. Therefore, if you are not fully convinced in your own mind that taking the vaccine is a good thing, you are actually sinning by taking it. Furthermore, this Christian is telling you "your personal convictions don't matter, take the vaccine".

Now, if taking a vaccine you do not have faith in is sin, and a Christian tells you "take the vaccine", what is he telling you to do? Sin. The Christian is telling you to sin, which is called temptation, and Christ says "Offenses will certainly come, but woe to the one they come through!" (Luke 17:1). So, when you are the one through whom temptation comes, woe to you.

A final point on this particular video is to simply consider the absurdity of attributing malice here. See, if you fear Covid and trust vaccines, the selfish thing to do isn't to flee them, but to jump to the front of the line. Like Peter Griffin (left). In that scene, the flu shots were in short supply, so Dr. Hartman told Peter they needed to be saved for the elderly. Peter's response? "Oops, I fell... Well, you might as well push that plunger". It is ridiculous to think that someone who believes Covid is a threat, and vaccines are a shield, would reject a vaccine. What motive would such a person have? Tell me, do you think we want Covid? Do you think we want to spread it? I can't speak for everyone, but my personal reasons for not wanting a vaccine is I don't trust these particular vaccines. And my brethren, you have no more of a right to say I'm making the wrong decision than I have to say you're wrong for making yours.

Now, all of this can be flipped on the anti-vaxxers, which I hope to make it clear I am not among. I am not now, nor have I ever been in my adult life, against vaccines. Nevertheless, I sympathise with them, especially as it has been erroneously assumed I am among them, and I have thus endured their plight. I fully understand why they might strike out against pro-vaxxers. Nevertheless, just as it is wrong to judge people for not being vaccinated, it is wrong to judge people who are. Rather than having scientific concerns about the vaccine, they are concerned about the virus, and for better or for worse, they believe it is the best thing for their health to take a vaccine. They see the risk as being worth taking for the reward they believe it brings. As for the ethical concerns, while it is more logical to assume at least some pro-vaxxers have dubious motives, it is equally likely that they think they are doing the right thing.

 

As Christians, neither side should be judging each other. If you believe getting vaccinated is the right thing to do, no one in the Church has the right to obstruct you. If you do not believe getting vaccinated is the right thing to do, no one has the right to compel you. Hindsight alone will reveal whether we made the right choices after all, but to say our personal answer is the right one is to claim access to knowledge and authority that we simply do not have. One thing we can all claim to know is that God has called us all to love, and to unity, and not to quarrel over doubtful things. I can promise you this: Satan is loving the division and devastation he has sown within the Church on this issue. But we all have the authority to send him packing. Lord willing, this pandemic will end. Let us pray it is soon. But Hell itself cannot end the love God has for us. Let us prove that by having a love for each other. Vaccinated, unvaccinated, let us all unite under the same cross. In Jesus' name, amen.

Post in: MORALITY
Topics: covid, vaccines, flu
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