A Christian Leader's Perspective on the COVID vaccine

I've been wanting to talk about the controversy revolving around, whether Christians should or should NOT take the Covid19 vaccine. Well, that decision is personal and I would certainly not want to dictate that. This article is all about how to approach a situation like this, from the perspective of a Christian leader, since there is a plethora of misinterpreted, unsubstantiated, silly, and weird rumors floating around. Leaders, unlike the others, cannot be impulsive and resort to hasty decisions, instead take a rational and sane call based on verified and credible data.

So, I would like to present 5 facts, that I believe can be considered while making your decision. When you are done with your thought process around the vaccine issue, just run through these 5 points and see if it gives you a different perspective. Without further ado, let's review each of them, on the other side.

Fact no 1: Christianity and the infamous legacy of denying scientific advancements

If you look back into history, for some reason, Christians have always been opposed to scientific discoveries and advancements. Remember people like Galileo, Copernicus and many others who were humiliated and tagged "betrayers" for discovering that the earth is round, and the sun is in the center of the universe? The Christians then vehemently denied and even called them "antichrist". Even today we have groups like the flat-earthers and QAnons who believe weird stuff and completely renounce science and advancements. I don't know why, but we Christians have this hostility towards science, for whatever reason. I am saying this because one of the popular conspiracy theories floating around is that a group of evil people is conspiring to enslave the rest of us by injecting mini-robots through the vaccine! And many more ridiculous things!

Personally, I am an avid fan of science and astronomy. I have a telescope in my backyard and spend hours gazing into the night sky. On exploring science, I have realized the more we learn and explore science, the more we become awe of God's might. Also, the more we understand science, we realize how little we know about everything around us. Science, which is touted as something proven with facts, surprisingly, does not have answers to even simple questions like where does the universe end, what is the smallest particle, what happens on the other side of a black hole, what is anti-matter, what is dark matter, why is the universe expanding - none of these questions have answers. Even with the popular Big Bang theory, science still cannot answer what happened - before the "big bang". Believe me, our confidence in Genesis 1:1 will be more affirmed if we explore more science. As leaders, we have the responsibility to comprehend and understand what we are denying. So keep this fact in the back of your mind, that science is not always against God and the Bible.

Fact no 2: The hypocrisy of embracing science while also denying

While there are so many Christians who feel that science is "anti-god" and all inventions are done to please satan, we also openly embrace it. For example, in the 80s, TVs were termed "devils box" but a decade later when evangelists and churches started using it for ministry, it suddenly became "pro-god". Fast forward 20 years later in the 2000s internet was considered "anti-god" since it was bringing the whole world together, which was blamed as the sign of end times. But when we started using the internet for ministry, again, it became OK. As of today, social media is touted as a big evil, but all Christians and Churches openly use social media for their ministry. The point I am trying to make is, while many deny and question the Covid vaccine, all of us still take our flu shots which is a type of vaccine. We follow the vaccine schedule for newborns without fail. When a child is hurt and bleeding we do not take them to a church or call the pastor, instead, we call the ambulance and take them to the hospital. We have in some way or the other have taken a vaccine in the past for flu, pneumonia, cholera, hepatitis, etc. We do not doubt them, but with the COVID vaccine, it is new and so it has become contentious. So kindly before you take your call, realize that humanity has been greatly benefited by the vaccines in the past.

Fact no 3 - Conspiracy theorists

I'm sure you would agree, conspiracies have existed forever. Someone rightly said, “Conspiracy theories are a way for people to give context and meaning to events that frighten them”. It cannot be more truthful. Back in the 80s in India, when we bought a hairdryer, something that Indians have not heard of then, my grandma protested and wept saying the hairdryer was harmful and was going to "melt our brains". It was sweet and innocent, but can you guess why she arrived at that conclusion? It's because she was terrified of the hairdryer and so invented a story to scare us all. This is almost what the conspiracy theories do - spread rumors to create unnecessary panic because it scared the daylights out of somebody you don't even know. Leaders should be able to wisely differentiate credible news vs conspiracy theories. Always research, learn more, validate, and then decide- before concluding, since your team or organization is looking up to you for a judgment. They are going to follow your advice. You, as a leader, have the responsibility to sound wise and discerning.

Fact no 4 to consider is, the nature of the Covid19 virus and our responsibility

The studies regarding the virus so far have concluded that the Covid 19 variant has a peculiar characteristic. It stays dormant in a human body for up to 2 weeks, before infecting the host. In those two weeks, though dormant, they spread. This is the single most trait that makes it deadly. All other viral infections we know until now show immediate symptoms and people generally isolate or seek medical advice as soon as possible, but not so for the covid19 virus. This is exactly why the medical bodies are pushing for masks in public places. It is not only to protect us from contracting the virus but to also keep us from infecting others. We could be carrying the virus and spreading it without our knowledge. The lockdowns were put in place primarily because of this so that we avoid all chances of this virus spreading. The painful part is that even if the virus does not infect you, it may be able to spread through your body eventually resulting in fatalities. That's why healthy adults and even children need to isolate. The two big countries that took this fact lightly, in the beginning, paid a huge price, becoming the top 2 in the number of cases and fatalities. On the other hand countries like New Zealand, Canada etc took stricter steps at the beginning itself and the results are evident. As humans, we need to understand the pain the world is going through. I would say, if we cannot help solve it, at least don't be a reason for it. As Jesus said in Matthew 18:6 “If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea. If we can save even one life I think it's worth the effort and time its costs a billion others. So before you take a call evaluate if you are making a humane choice.

Fact no 5 and the most critical one is Faith

Christianity is built on a strong foundation called faith. The Bible in Hebrews 11:6 says - And without faith, it is impossible to please God”. We need to be absolutely clear on this fact that faith is not what you claim to be, rather it is what you practice. The main ingredient of faith is the sacrificial love that Jesus demonstrated. He mentioned, in John 15:13 - Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. This means we need to be willing to go any distance, even up to sacrificing our lives for the sake of others. I believe, we as children of God, should apply both these ingredients, Faith and sacrificial love, to the current scenario and see how it works. Firstly, having faith that, "no weapon formed against me shall prosper" - as quoted in Isaiah 54:17 which in practice means that none of the pills, medicines, vaccines are going to entrap or enslave you, cause the promise of God is so apparent. Remember Mark 16:18, it says - they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all. Living a life of faith in action is not hiding behind conspiracies or rumors, instead, it is taking a step of faith saying I trust God will take care of me. Also, doing things sacrificially so even, at the cost of our lives, we make others live. So consider your faith and the love that we are supposed to demonstrate in a circumstance like this. I repeat, even if one life can be saved, it's worth the entire effort of the world wearing masks or taking all precautions that are due. Every life is precious.

So leaders, please consider the 5 points above which in summary - Christians and their hostility towards science, our hypocrisy of using science while denying it, conspiracy theories are not new to us, COVID19 is a serious threat, and finally, demonstrate faith and sacrificial love like Christ himself.

Do your analysis and determine what your decision is going to be. If you are still not convinced, explore until you are, since there is a group of people who look up to you and trust that their leader has the right wisdom. So be responsible and also accountable for your decisions.

May God bless you and shower you with His wisdom. Thank you!

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