Saturday, January 15, 2022

Fatalism vs. Faith and COVID-19

A fellow was stuck on his rooftop in a flood. He was praying to God for help. Soon a man in a rowboat came by and the fellow shouted to the man on the roof, “Jump in, I can save you.” The stranded fellow shouted back, “No, it’s OK, I’m praying to God and he is going to save me.” So the rowboat went on.

Then a motorboat came by. “The fellow in the motorboat shouted, “Jump in, I can save you.” To this the stranded man said, “No thanks, I’m praying to God and he is going to save me. I have faith.” So the motorboat went on.

Then a helicopter came by and the pilot shouted down, “Grab this rope and I will lift you to safety.” To this the stranded man again replied, “No thanks, I’m praying to God and he is going to save me. I have faith.” So the helicopter reluctantly flew away.

Soon the water rose above the rooftop and the man drowned. He went to Heaven. He finally got his chance to discuss this whole situation with God, at which point he exclaimed, “I had faith in you but you didn’t save me, you let me drown. I don’t understand why!”

To this God replied, “I sent you a rowboat and a motorboat and a helicopter, what more did you expect?”

* * * * *

I continue to see lots of memes posted that say something like, “I don't fear Covid, because God decides when it's my time to die.”

At its best reading, this kind of meme could be trying to say that in the midst of all kinds of things in life that have the potential to kill us, we Christians still go about our life without constantly worrying about it because a) we believe that God oversees history and at minimum permits life to unfold as it does, and b) the Christian hope of life everlasting doesn’t put all our life eggs in this present basket. As far as Christian theology goes, fair enough. I’m tracking. Death is really hard on those who remain, but not on those who move on into a heavenly eternity.

However, it often seems to means that someone is not willing to take any steps to avoid getting COVID (or to help other people not get it) because in some sense it just doesn't matter. If God controls the start and stop point of our lives, we have 0% control over either incident. Therefore, no action we take or choice we make will change anything. Que sera, sera.