It’s like the opening scene of a zombie apocalypse movie. Everything canceled. The world freaking out. Reporters with their serious faces on talking about shutdowns and lock-ins and market collapse. And I sit here and think, “Man, I’m glad I ordered toilet paper on Amazon last Thursday”. Crisis averted…for me.
As I pour over the various news reports and listen to panicked voices on the other end of the radio, I can’t help but think: what’s the big deal? Covid-19 doesn’t sound like the plague or even as dangerous as some of the other Coronavirus family members. In fact, it sounds very much like a more serious version of the flu. Hardly something to be laughed off, but not something to panic about either.
The Anthrax Scare
It reminds me of a day back in college. It was the first Monday after 9/11. There were rumors swirling around my college that the school had received bomb threats. One rumor had a Muslim man spreading his prayer rug near the gymnasium (where chapel services were held) and bowing down to pray.
It was unusually warm in the gym that day. Suddenly, shortly after the service started, a girl on the other side of the gym from where I sat collapses. There is confusion. Someone calls for an ambulance. We pray for her. Then, without warning, another girl collapses, then down goes a third girl, all in the span of five minutes. The chapel speaker pauses and says “what is going on?” The student body buzzes with excitement and anxiety. What is going on?
It was as if the shock of 9/11 and rumors of a bomb threat and a Muslim man praying outside the gym all came back to our collective minds. I felt my throat constrict in panic and, for a brief moment, I thought anthrax! Looking back on that moment, I feel foolish. It now seems evident that there were two forces at work. First, the gym was very warm and the first girl probably just passed out because of the heat. Second, anxiety and fear gave way to panic when we thought our fears were coming to life.
Too Dependent on Experts
As I listen today to the news media reports, I sense some of the same forces at work. Today’s world is ill-equipped to deal with a pandemic for several reasons.
First, we are too dependent on “experts”. When the World Health Organization (WHO) said “pandemic”, the world panicked. The response in the sporting world was immediate. NBA season: postponed. NHL season: postponed. NCAA year-end tournaments: canceled. High school tournaments: canceled. MLB season: delayed. In the rest of the world, it was much the same: travel bans, school shutdowns, etc.
It’s as though everyone was watching WHO rather than using their heads. I’m not against trusting in experts, per se. But when so many countries, leaders, organizations, and people react as they did today it incites panic. And I don’t think it’s an error to say that the Covid-19 pandemic panic could cause far more damage than the virus itself.
Prone to Hysteria
Second, the secular Left is controlled by fear and is thus prone to hysterias. From heterosexual AIDS to Global Cooling to Global Warming to Russia Collusion, the Left is seemingly in a constant state of terror about something. We’re all going to die! The world is going to end! We have ten years to save the planet! Our Democracy is threatened!
“When people stop believing in God, they don’t believe in nothing – they believe in anything.” This quote has been attributed to G.K. Chesterson, but aside from the controversy over who actually said it, it’s a very good point.
Charles Darwin introduced evolution to the world as a way of supplanting a God of Creation. It is no surprise that the Science Fiction genre coincides with Darwin’s theory of evolution. Science Fiction seeks to understand the future in a godless universe. A universe that is full of threats and devoid of true meaning. Science Fiction in modern times has explored many different apocalyptic scenarios, including the infamous zombie apocalypse. Today, life imitated art.
Fear the Lord, Not a Virus
Third – dovetailing off the second point – is that the world doesn’t fear the One they’re supposed to fear.
“And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear Him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.”Matthew 10:28 (ESV)
We fear killer viruses, shortages, extinction, etc. But we should fear for our souls and the souls of those around us.
The appropriate responses to the newly minted Covid-19 “pandemic” is two-fold. First, exercise reasonable caution. Which is to say, don’t panic but treat the virus seriously, especially if you are ever around the sick or elderly. Second, the Gospel is the best and only true cure to fear. This is our chance as Christians to save the world from the Covid-19 pandemic panic.