As Jesus walked along, he encountered a man who was blind from birth.
His disciples asked him who sinned, the man or his parents, that he was born blind. Jesus said, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned; he was born blind so that God’s works might be revealed in him. We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”
Then, Jesus spat on the ground making mud with his spit. He reached out to put the mud on the man’s eyes, but something unexpected happened.
The man recoiled, asking, “Wait for just one second, Jesus? Has that spit been properly tested? I am afraid you’re prematurely applying that spit on my eyes without proper testing. I’ve heard about you healing folks all across the country, but I heard on FakeNewsMax that I should be suspicious of anyone enthusiastically wanting to help me. So, what gives, Jesus?”
Jesus replied, “Sir, God uses orthodox and unorthodox ways to bring healing to people. There are moments when people must decide if they want to live a healed life or continue spreading death and darkness across the land. Which are you sir, a person of life or a person of death?
The man let Jesus jab mud into his eyes. After he washed them out, he could see again.
Of course, this story is a fictitious adaptation of when Jesus healed the blind man in John 9. The point is that people of faith need to start trusting all the ways God brings healing into the world, including through science.
Albert Einstein is said to have quipped, “Science without religion is lame; religion without science is blind.” While there is debate about the authenticity of the quote, there is truth within those words.
While religion can provide a moral compass for scientific discovery, science provides colorful explanations and solutions within God’s creation.
Francis S. Collins, director of the National Health Institute, wrote in his book, The Language of God: A Scientists Presents Evidence of Belief, “I do not believe that the God who created all the universe and who communes with his people through prayer and spiritual insight would expect us to deny the obvious truths of the natural world that science has revealed to us, in order to prove our love for him.”
Herein lies the point of this column. At a massive scale, white evangelical Christians are declining the COVID-19 vaccine based primarily upon political rhetoric and misinformation.
According to The Wall Street Journal, “Some 24% of white evangelicals said in June they wouldn’t be vaccinated, down from 26% in March, according to a study from the Public Religion Research Institute, a nonpartisan group that studies the intersection of religion and public life.”
With the Delta and Delta-plus variant of COVID-19 spreading rapidly, global cases surpassed 200 million this week.
The good news is that vaccination rates are climbing as people are fearful of the variant and a possible return to restrictions. While breakthrough cases are emerging (vaccinated individuals with COVID-19), the reality persists that it is highly unlikely for vaccinated people to die from the variant, while unvaccinated people are at high risk for severe cases leading to death.
The locations where the Delta variant is exploding are primarily in Southern states that tend to be more populated by evangelical Christians.
Recently, Danny Reeves, pastor of First Baptist Church in Corsicana, Texas, changed his tune from being highly critical of pandemic mandates and the vaccine. After contracting the deadly virus and ending up in the ICU for three weeks, the pastor admitted his mistake and encouraged followers to get vaccinated.
Here is what I want to say to skeptical evangelical Christians: getting the vaccine does not devalue your faith. In fact, as Jesus demonstrated, God uses all sorts of ways – even some unusual – to bring healing.
This Delta variant is no joke. It’s more dangerous than the original virus.
Therefore, please – I beg you – get the vaccine and wear a mask in public. Stop killing yourselves and others. The lives of you and your family – and everyone you come into contact with – are precious.
The time for everyone to set aside their stubbornness is now, even if it means getting a little mud in the eye. I, for one, would rather have some mud in my eyes than spread a virus to unvaccinated children and others, potentially ending their lives.
May God show you the way, one where you roll up your sleeve to save your life and others.
CEO of Good Faith Media.