COVID-19 Reflection Part IV

Here is part 4 of my expanded epistle for January:



The internet and social media are literally awash with conspiracy theories. There is a counter-narrative for everything, from the sublime to the ridiculous. Videos go round and round as people forward them on. A favoured COVID-19 treatment advice I receive monthly is, “just gargle with warm water mixed with lemon juice…” No!



Folks, SARS COV-2 is a virus. Lemon juice whether warm or cold is by no means an effective antidote. Common sense says we don’t treat polio with lemon juice! Neither can COVID-19 be treated with warm lemon juice.

Regrettably, this nonsense even gets sent around on denominational groups.



We are all worried. We are scared; well, we should be – there’s a global pandemic on the go. Why shame each other for feeling afraid? We should be scared enough to act responsibly in the face of it. Wear a mask outside or when you have visitors; wash your hands regularly for 20 seconds; keep a physical distance from others outside your home bubble.



These are things we have power to do even when we’re not in control of other things. Let’s not shame each other for the fear of a virus that has caused death around the world.



We can easily debunk conspiracies with the truth. In philosophy, a principle known commonly as Occam’s razor (or the Principle of Parsimony) states that we should not have to make more assumptions than necessary; ie often the simplest explanation is most likely correct.



Occam’s razor applies to conspiracy theories also. The more linkages one has to make between various ‘dots’ the less likely the theory is to be true. The more jumps from one fact to others the more likely the narrative is nonsense, according to the Occam’s Razor principle.



Well, here’s the truth of common conspiracy theories:

_Claim 1: Bill Gates wants to vaccinate you to implant tech into you_

Mr Gates stepped down from the Microsoft Corp. board to spend his time in philanthropic pursuits helping rural Africans via technology. One key issue is healthcare. Malaria, polio, diphtheria, etc kills millions of Africans each year. Immunisation that has helped Western nations are also required here in Africa. But there is a global inequality because vaccination is expensive. Mr Gates often helps governments to implement nation-wide campaigns so that diseases like measles, smallpox, polio and others do not maim and kill African people. There is nothing sinister in Gates promoting immunisation with partners in the WHO. This is a very interesting website. Here you can see that it is poor countries whose people are at risk of diseases that are nearly eradicated in the West. These are the children the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is seeking to help. Look here again.



_Claim 2: Bill Gates wants to track you._

I can in no way think of why Mr Gates will want to “track” anybody in Africa. It’s easy to claim people are being tracked; but why? The child who lives in rural Ghana – why would Gates want to know where she is? What he really wants to know is that she hasn’t died of a preventable disease.

Friends, Mr Gates does not need to track you: if you have a mobile phone you are already being tracked. If it is a smart-phone, your GPS is tracking you; your social media apps are tracking you; your bank; and SARS and Google are all tracking you.



You are already being tracked with the photos you take; places you go; locations you visit; landmarks you comment on; people you know; friends you meet with; which websites you click on. You have the perfect “tracking device” right in your pocket. In short, everything you do online is being tracked. No one needs to inject a tracker into you.



There is no need for some complicated, madcap scheme to track you via immunisation.

In hundreds of ways you are being tracked online with every click. Complex algorithms are analysing your choices. The technology is so good that an app can even predict your choices.

Believe me, no one needs to inject a tracker into you: you voluntarily take your cell phone with you. On that one device, you are being tracked in more ways than you may realise.



_Claim 3: The One World Government wants to track you._

Ah, I see. So this is Revelation lite. The 666 issue? Well, we need to do some exegesis of the Bible. The metaphorical number 666 (ie contrasted with 777 – a perfect number, ie God) is the Beast of Revelation 13. This is a person; or more accurately, it is any ruler who acts as antichrist. This word is a verb not a noun. The six-six-six reference is what is called fluid – it moves through human history and applies to any evil person.



Of course, we don’t want to be lightly labelling anyone as evil. History does that for us – Genghis Khan, Hitler, Stalin perhaps, could be amongst those whom the moniker would apply to. Here you can see that this is any historical human who causes death and mayhem on a vast scale, as did Emperor Diocletian, Nero, and others in the biblical era. The six-six-six does not point to one single, end-time person. It is a fluid metaphor, applying across history.

Furthermore, the 666 is always a person, never a thing like a vaccine.



In any event, the so-called “end-times” is a misnomer. Biblically speaking, the “end times” began with the resurrection of Christ. Even beyond this, “end times” is not an accurate translation. The biblical word ‘eschatos’ more accurately means “last things” or “lastly”. In the Bible, it never has the connotation of dystopian “end-times” that we see glibly thrown about.



All of this is a distraction. All this anti-vaccination claptrap is a distraction. Vaccinations have protected us for 70 years. That’s what we need to affirm.



On December 10, 2020, the Chief Justice of SA suggested some false and improper views about an imminent SARS COV-2 vaccination. This is surprising since he claims to be a Christian. I think I need to disagree with him publicly on this. Christians should know about, but not buy into conspiracy theories, which are actually social lies. If a conspiracy theory claims, for example, that an inoculation “changes your DNA” then it is a demonstrable untruth; it is a lie.



His words set in motion a wave of fear and anxiety amongst many, and correlated with some crazy Youtube conspiracy videos. Especially in that he doubled-down soon after and tried to backtrack on his words. “No, I didn’t say I am against any vaccine, I only said ‘if there is a vaccine that must negatively affect the lives of people’” he claimed.



The problem is he framed all his vaccine comments in the negative, only speaking about them in ways aligned with some conspiracy theories doing the rounds. I listened to the available footage of his sermon-prayer and his speech.



The Chief Justice is wrong: inoculation is not a 666, and if it is, he should provide an example of an “evil vaccine” because no human vaccine has been shown to be evil or put “the 666 into” anyone, or brought harm to masses of people.



Au contraire, immunisation has proven to be an effective method of controlling horrible diseases, both bacterial and viral.



Let’s beat the coronavirus. Together. If that means getting vaccinated, then I will be vaccinated in order to protect my family and to protect you. This is what you need to know. The way to beat the fake information swirling about is to Pause; Breathe; Comprehend; Delete.



Stay safe! Wash hands. Physical distance. Wear a mask.

Shalom,

Craig

Published by St. Columba's Presbyterian Church Hatfield

St Columba's Presbyterian Church in Hatfield, Pretoria, South Africa is a Christian Church. Our vision is to be a Christ-centred, bible-believing church that calls all to come and experience the love of Christ, in a welcoming and caring body of believers.

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