Francis Collins and other influential Christian leaders call to wear masks and get vaccinated
“Scientists are vilified and their findings ignored, while conspiracy theories go viral. Sadly, Christians seem just as susceptible to these trends”, says a statement signed by researchers and church leaders.
GRAND RAPIDS · 24 AUGUST 2020 · 12:40 CET
“Vaccination is a provision from God that will prevent disease not only for ourselves but for the most vulnerable among us (Matthew 25:31-36)”, says a statement signed by a large variety of Christian leaders, including many scientists.
The “A Christian Statement on Science for Pandemic Times” has been published on the website of BioLogos, a science and faith organization founded by Templeton Prize winner and renowned genetist Francis Collins.
Over 5,000 people have already signed the statement, which calls on “call Christians to follow the advice of public health experts and support scientists doing crucial biomedical research on COVID-19”.
The statement, which has been signed by scientists, theologians, church leaders, authors, and others, says: “We are deeply concerned about the polarization and politicization of science in the public square when so many lives are at stake. The word ‘science’ has become a weapon in the culture wars. Scientists are vilified and their findings ignored, while conspiracy theories go viral. Sadly, Christians seem just as susceptible to these trends. Thoughtful Christians may disagree on public policy in response to the coronavirus, but none of us should ignore clear scientific evidence”.
“The Bible teaches that our bodies are fearfully and wonderfully made by God (Psalm 139:14). Thus, those doing biomedical research—whether they are Christians or not—are studying the very handiwork of God”.
Francis Collins, genetist, and one of the signatories of the statement. / Wikimedia, Public Domain
Francis Collins and other Christian scientists are involved in the global search for a vaccine that could help fight the coronavirus. Over 800,000 have died so far due to Covid-19.
“Pursuing medical treatment is not a sign of weak faith in God, but a grateful acceptance of God’s gifts”, the signatories say. The statement then describes the processes through which the scientific community works to stop the virus.
An appeal to churches
The statement also calls on churches to act with spiritual wisdom. “The economic losses and social hardships of the pandemic are painful, and thoughtful Christians will disagree on how to balance those needs with health needs. Even closer to our hearts is the impact of quarantine on church fellowship. As churches reopen, Christians need to balance God’s call to meet together with God’s call to protect the vulnerable among us. We need more than science to make these decisions; we need biblical faith to be wise and discerning (James 3:13-18)”.
It adds: “As Christians throughout history have shown during other pandemics, our faith is what moves us to deep compassion for the sick, the young, the old, and the vulnerable, as we follow Jesus’ command to care for the least of these (Matthew 25:31-36). Our faith calls us to sacrifice ourselves for others and accept temporary limitations on our freedoms because we have a permanent and complete freedom in Christ (Hebrews 10:34). Our faith helps us be humble and patient when discussing contentious issues (Ephesians 4:2-3). It is our faith, not science, that overcomes fear and brings hope. God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble (Psalm 46:1)”.
The manifesto closes with some practical advice, such as the need to “wear masks”, “get vaccinated”, “correct misinformation”, “work for justice” and “pray”.