Spanish evangelicals defend science against ‘fake news’ and conspiracy theories
Several representative entities endorse a document adapted from the original signed by international scientists, which calls Christians to act with spiritual wisdom in the midst of the coronavirus crisis.
Protestante Digital · MADRID · 15 SEPTEMBER 2020 · 10:31 CET
Several of the main Spanish evangelical entities have come together to support a statement against fake news, unfounded conspiracy theories, in this time of pandemic. About a million people have died from the epidemic.
The original document, called “A Christian Statement on Science for Pandemic Times”, was posted on the BioLogos website, a faith and science platform created by Templeton Prize winner and renowned evangelical Christian geneticist Francis Collins.
Collins and other Christian scientists are involved in the worldwide research to find a vaccine that could help defeat the coronavirus.
Spanish Christian scientists Pablo de Felipe and Daniel Casado, with the approval of BioLogos, have made “a faithful translation, with minor modifications, to better adapt it to the Spanish context”.
The danger of misinformation
The signatories are worried about the danger of misinformation. In Spain, like in other European countries, there are also Christian believers who oppose the vaccine or have shared messages on social media supporting conspiracy theories.
The document has been endorsed by the main evangelical entities at a church level, such as the Spanish Evangelical Alliance (AEE) and the Federation of Evangelical Religious Entities of Spain (FEREDE), as well as those related to science and university, such as the Center for Science and Faith, Christians in Science, GBU (IFES) Spain, and the Evangelical Medical Union (UME).
Furthermore, there is a petition open on change.org, so that those who feel identified and support this proposal can join it.
“Science has become a weapon in the culture wars”
The authors of the letter “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”, they add.
According to the statement, “thoughtful Christians may disagree on public policy in response to the coronavirus, but none of us should ignore clear scientific evidence”.
“Pursuing medical treatment is not a sign of weak faith in God, but a grateful acceptance of God’s gifts”, they underline.
“To balance God’s call to meet together with God’s call to protect the vulnerable”
Regarding the face-to-face worship services in these times of pandemic, the document points out that “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 stresses.
The scientists state that “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)”.
“Get vaccinated, work for justice, correct misinformation and pray”
That is why they undertake to “get vaccinated against COVID-19 when a safe and effective vaccine is available and as directed by a physician, because Vaccination is a provision from God that will prevent disease, not only for ourselves but for the most vulnerable among us”.
They also commit to “correct misinformation and conspiracy theories when we encounter them in our social media and communities […] Work for justice for communities who have suffered the most from COVID-19, [...], and “pray for God to heal the millions of sick, to comfort the thousands of grieving families, to sustain biomedical and public health researchers as they work to develop a safe and effective vaccine”.