Tuesday, Oct 20, 2020. How are you doing these days? We are living with the Corona virus now for more than six month. And most of us feel nerved and stressed in a situation where limitations and fear are daily part of our life.
How does God see the virus? What is it doing to our faith? Is the virus a proof that God does not exist? Or is God responsible for the virus? What is the Christian interpretation of this disease at the beginning of the 21st century? Let us think! Let us reflect our situation in the framework of faith and science and history.
The Role of the Global Pandemic …
Let us recall the situation as it is in October 2020. Since about February or March 2020 mankind faces a new threat. It is a virus disease which first hit the Chinese town of Wuhan. But it spread quickly over the globe. The virus can be very dangerous to some individuals, there is a severe threat to about 5% of the population, with a death rate which is around 3% depending on the particular selection of people infected. That means that 3 out of 100 people infected die. About 10 out of 100 have severe consequences and suffer long-term. About 90 people recover quickly or do not even feel symptoms.
Let us not fight about the exact numbers. You can find hundreds of papers and websites which have quite different numbers depending on the country, age group and phase of the virus infection. But overall, the situation is that a percentage of the people faces a death threat, and others recover quickly.
The first point which comes to my mind is that it is surprising how poor our preparation has been to deal with this kind of threat. Medically, mankind is still trying to develop a vaccine. Currently, we have no real cure. We do not have a protection. All our science does not really protect us personally, nor does it protect our society as a whole. Yes, science is good, we are able to identify the virus and test people. We know the mechanism how it infects people, though we do not know too much about how it spreads within our body. This is all work in progress in the medical field! As a scientist for myself I note that science itself is still learning, and that we are far from being able to solve all problems. At the same time I see the need for more science and more insight. There is a clear task to continue our scientific development.
Between Fear, Irritation and Ignorance …
Second, the virus disease is a real personal threat. When you realize how people die, in a quick way, mostly lonely and full of suffering, it IS a shock to your mind, your heart and your soul. We can try to ignore it. We can try to push it away. But it is a real shock! I believe it leaves a deep footprint in our unconscious mind and all our emotions.
Where is God in all of this? God is where he has always been, could be the answer. He has always been there in human history, calling each and every human to turn to him. He has always been there with his holy spirit, to be present in the life of an individual. We see this already 4000 years ago in the life of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (about 2000 BC). We see it as long as we look back into human history. And through all illness, in all human victory, in greatness and guilt God has been there, as counterpart, as eternal father. Jesus was asked to give an interpretation on the tower of Siloah (Luke 13,4), where 18 people died. Did they have a deeper sin than others. Is God punishing anyone here? No, is the answer of Jesus. They did not have a greater sin. But watch yourself!
Christian teaching does not deny the suffering of mankind as a whole. It does not deny the fear and threat which we face in some periods of our life. The Christian mind can open its eyes and see the threat and the fear. But it can also see beyond the suffering. It can develop love in the middle of it. It can stay balanced and full of reason. It takes care of people, but also works hard to protect each individual. And it experiences God in father, son and holy spirit. He is my guide, my father, my love, the center of my existence. (Roland Potthast)