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Showing posts from May, 2020

Science, morality and the pandemic

Right now, science and the humanities should be in lock step: science producing vaccines, with the humanities stocking leaders and citizens with the capacities of resilience, care and collaboration until they come. But, instead, the humanities are in crisis at the exact moment history is revealing how vital moral formation really is.David Brooks, “If We Had a Real Leader,” New York Times, May 28, 2020

Living daily with suspicion

Response to the Covid-19 pandemic has promoted a culture of suspicion. Who or what might transmit the virus to me? Do I have the virus? Who is the person behind the face mask? What is their facial expression in this moment?

Requiring masks have highlighted a couple of ironies. First, in most locations, patrons do not have to wear a mask when in a bank. Authorities fear that masks may confuse bank personnel about who is and is not a bank robber. Second, in countries like France, that prohibit individuals from wearing facial coverings for religious reasons (primarily niqabs by Muslim women), authorities now struggle with whether to mandate face coverings as a means of preventing Covid-19 from spreading. The prevalence of face masks, including my wearing one, has given me a personal understanding of the pros and cons of wearing a niqab, and I have found no advantage apart from health concerns for wearing a face mask.

Twentieth century liberation theologians introduced a hermeneutic of s…

When religion becomes silly

According to a recent poll reported in the British newspaper the Guardian, two-thirds of Americans who believe in God think that the Covid-19 pandemic is a message from God. A striking 31% told pollsters that God sent the virus to tell humanity to change its behaviors and attitudes. God wants people to oppose abortion, same sex marriage, gay rights and other “liberal” views. Unsurprisingly, these individuals describe themselves as evangelical or fundamental Christians.

To suppose that God visited a Cov9d-19 “plague” on humanity terribly distorts the human perception of God. While people are unable to describe God's nature, concepts such as light, love and energy point to that which we call God, the divine, the Alone and a host of other names.

At best, those misguided believers have adopted a silly response to the virus. God does not specifically create or spread individual viruses; nor does God cause evil. Viruses are simply part of the cosmos, something that emerged from the pri…

Re-opening churches

When should church buildings, closed for public worship during the pandemic, reopen?

To begin, churches should comply with government orders to close during public health emergencies such as the current pandemic. As an ordained Christian leader for four plus decades, I’m comfortable writing about Christianity. Leaders of other faith groups must conduct their own assessments, weighing public health against religious freedom.

Christianity values life and offers a path toward more abundant living. Needlessly endangering life through corporate worship amid a public health emergency contravenes the foundational Christian value of protecting and promoting life. Nowhere do the Christian Scriptures mandate attendance at public worship. Christians can worship alone, with those who live with them or in virtual gatherings. Physically worshiping together is important, as I have repeatedly argued in Ethical Musings posts. However, protecting life is even more important. In sum, temporary bans on …