Book Plunge: The Price of Panic

What do I think of Jay Richards, William Briggs, and Douglas Axe’s book published by Regenry Publishing? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I’ve had a tendency to go against the grain and not go with the crowd. I remember when I first heard about the Coronavirus and what I heard did not frightened me. Then all around me, people were going into a panic. Businesses were being shut down and schools were being closed. Church services were cancelled.

On the positive side, so were professional sports. Then when churches opened, greeting time was cancelled as well and still is at churches. That’s one change I can live with.

Never had I seen anything like this. People I knew were in an absolute panic. It was like death was waiting right outside the door if you dared step out.

This book has been written to deal with what happened. The bad news is that we did indeed panic and that panic cost us greatly. Now the moment I mention this, someone will say “Well, I guess those people who had family members who died shouldn’t have panicked then!” The reality is, any disease that comes across will kill some people. Flu season comes every year and kills some. We don’t shut down for that. We realize this happens.

Anything being said here then is not to diminish the loss of those who did die and their family members who are left behind, but it is a call to look soberly at the issue. Are we letting our fear drive us and are the experts leading us really aware of what they’re talking about?

Now I am not one to downplay experts, but this problem is multi-faceted. Someone who is a doctor is not an expert in every area of medicine. Doctors are also not normally experts in economics and what effect a lockdown will have on society. There is also the question of what happens to people like farmers and others who supply our food for businesses.

What were factors that caused the Coronavirus scare to be greater than others? Many possibilities are mentioned. One is that it was the Trump administration and some people could have wanted this to be on his head. Another is that social media was extremely active and panic spreads on social media.

What constantly amazed the authors of the book is that not only were Americans told to give up their freedoms, they did so willingly and easily. Not only that, they were willing often to snitch on their neighbors. Many people who were doing regular activities could often be arrested.

The authors look at where the virus started. They do not hold to any theories that the virus was intentionally engineered to be used as a sort of weapon. (Having said that, I don’t see any reason why an enemy nation might not try the same thing on us.) However, what happened next was a number of experts spoke on what would happen based on their models.

Not only were these models extremely off, but they had a history of being extremely off. Hundreds of thousands could be predicted to die from diseases that kill, well, hundreds. Despite that, we still listened to these experts and took advice that devastated our economy.

That’s the economy so that’s no big deal. Right? You can’t replace human lives with money. Right? No one is saying that, but people faced extreme financial hardship that resulted in mental health crises and in some cases, suicide. Not only that, some people with diseases that were serious did not go to the hospital to get treatment because they feared getting the virus and so they died from treatable, though serious, problems.

Let’s look at those numbers as well. The writers say that the numbers were being played with in that if someone died from a condition that might have possibly been Covid, it was listed as a Covid death. The doctors would rarely do an autopsy as that is timely and expensive. Some of these people might not have even had Covid. This would also help with funding for the hospitals.

We can also question if the lockdowns themselves worked. We could compare to nations like Sweden, Taiwan, and Japan that did not have lockdowns and did not see the mass death that was expected. Again, sometimes, reporters played with the numbers to make it sound worse than it was, but it was never consistent.

What about masks? Odds are, the masks we often get don’t really work and could actually be helping to spread the virus. Why? People could go out who have it thinking that they are safe and some people could take riskier behavior wearing one.

Why do we need to know all of this? Because there will be another pandemic and we don’t need to panic over that one most likely either. The cost to this has been too great and we don’t need to see a new normal. We need to return to normal.

Anyone who is scared of the Coronavirus needs to read this book. It is extensively researched and well-argued. If more people could read this, perhaps we could return to sanity.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)
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Book Plunge: God and the Pandemic

What do I think of N.T. Wright’s book published by Zondervan? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I really like reading N.T. Wright and I try to read anything by him that I can get my hands on. I was a bit hesitant about this one, however. After all, as much as I think Wright is wonderful on theology and history, I sometimes question his political approaches. Would I see more of that in here? Would I see approaches to blame the right or even the left or would I see a drastic push that we must have universal health care now?

Fortunately, I was pleasantly surprised. There was a bit on universal health care at the end, but not much. If anything, Wright said something I have been saying for some time. Too often, the church has done work in an area, but we have been happy to let the government take it off of our hands. When plague spread through Rome before, it was the Christians who cared for the sick the most. Even the apostate emperor Julian said that Christians were better at caring for the poor and sick than the Roman Empire.

Wright also has a problem with people who try to see the hand in God in all of this. “Ah. A pandemic has come. Now people are ready to hear the message of Christianity.” Yes, some might be. Some might be more resistant actually and be willing to blame God for allowing it to happen or think that He directly caused it to happen.

In all of this, Wright has the right emphasis. He points us back to Jesus every time. If we are saying that now is the right time, then we are saying that the words of Jesus before were insufficient. Jesus told us what we must do. We are to go out there and do it.

In Acts 11, the church hears about a plague coming and immediately, the cry goes up that this is the perfect time to tell people about Jesus. Wait. You didn’t read that in the Bible? That’s right. They instead said “Who is going to be the most affected and what can we do to help them?” It might sound like just something practical, but that is what they did and that is the example left for us in Scripture.

Wright’s words are meant to give hope to those who are suffering wondering when it will end, but are also calling everyone else to go out there and be Jesus to the populace. With regard to churches opening up, there are both sides, although he does deal with a silly idea one parishioner has that the devil doesn’t know how to get in a church. He just tells her that as a bishop, he can assure her that the devil certainly does know how.

This is really classic Wright throughout the book, but the good thing is hopefully with it being about a pandemic, more people will read it and take it seriously. The church would be far better if more people were familiar with N.T. Wright. I may not agree with him on the political and practical questions surrounding Corona, but I certainly agree with him on the topic of Jesus.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Aren’t Jesus’s Words Enough?

What more does it take to get us to do something? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I was reading something recently on how N.T. Wright said that some people have used the Covid situation to say “This is the time to get the message out for people needing hope.” Now, I am thankful people are getting the message out either way, but he makes the point. Why do you need a crisis to do something? Aren’t the words of Jesus enough? Don’t people already need hope?

It’s easy to lose sight of in the church, but we are already familiar with our marching orders no matter what is going on in the world around us. Whatever the situation, our responsibility is the same. The early church took it so seriously that when a plague struck that left countless people dead, the Christians stayed behind. Julian the apostate later on said that the Christians were better at caring for the poor than the Roman Empire was.

Consider a passage like the Great Commission. Sometimes, people ask the question about what about those who never heard. It’s an important question, but Scripture nowhere addresses it directly. Why? There is no need to. We have our marching orders and we are not given a Plan B of what happens if we do not do this. We are not told we can rest confidently because this is how God will handle those people.

What about when this election has been going on and the anxiety that has been provoked. Our orders are still to be anxious about nothing and to rest in Christ. We are not told a solution to the problems that we face. We are told to just trust in Christ.

We are told to love our neighbors. God never asks us once how we feel about our neighbors. He never even asks us if we like our neighbors and never commands us to like them. Yes. You can love someone even if you don’t particularly like them. He tells us to love and that is that.

We are told many hard commands that we are not given any option to push back on. I understand from those who serve in the military that when your commanding officer tells you to do something, you do it. At your job, if your boss tells you to do something and you don’t do it, you can expect to get in trouble for it. We would do all of these things, and yet when the Lord of the universe tells us to do something, we don’t do it?

Now thankfully, sometimes things happen that can spur us to action, but we are not in action already, we need to search our souls and ask why. We can be sure the problem does not lie on the end of our commanding officer. The problem lies with us. What in us is still resistant to the call of God on our lives?

The Roman Empire was a dark place when Christ came and yet without the aid of modern transportation, media, and facilities, the Christian message turned it around. We who have so much more should be able to do so much more today. We have no excuse.

There won’t be one on that day also. It’s up to us. We will give an account for what we did with what we had and there will definitely be no excuses on that day.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Thoughts on Coronavirus

What are we to make of this virus? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I first heard about this virus a few months ago listening to the radio and how it was mainly in China. Then we heard words about it being leaked out through places like cruise ships. I still had no major concerns about it. Then I heard about it being in Georgia with a confirmed case. Again, I wasn’t concerned.

Yet immediately it seemed all the world around me had gone mad.

I don’t even know for sure when it happened, but it was like one day I woke up and there was panic everywhere. Naturally, the Babylon Bee had some good articles with some Christians celebrating because greeting times at churches were canceled. (Hey. There’s some good at least!) Also, nerds woke up to a utopia where sports were canceled, social interaction limited, and everyone was being told to stay inside. Hey. We’ve been training our whole lives for this.

Now I’m not about to speak as a medical specialist here. For me, I’ve been doing much of the same things I always do. Do I tend to wash my hands? Yes. Do we always keep hand sanitizer around here? Yes. Do I prefer to not go out if I don’t have to? Yes. Other than that, I haven’t much changed my program.

There are apparently two major sides to this debate. One of them is that this virus is absolutely nothing and we need to treat it as such. The other side is the side that we’re all going to die and this is practically the apocalypse. If anything, it looks like the latter side is the one that has the most representation.

Now as you can imagine, I lean more towards the former. We’ve seen several virus scares in my time. We’ve seen Swine Flu, of which I actually knew someone personally who came down with that and was in a coma and yet I did not have hysteria over it. We’ve seen Ebola, Zika, MRSA, and others. We have survived all of them. Humanity is tough stuff and whether you are an evolutionary creationist or not, we all know that humans adapt and survive.

I have also seen numerous cases of people getting this and getting past it. We are even told some people might not even know they have it and it’s like a mild cold for them. Do some people die? Yes. I am not discounting that, but people also die of the regular flu every year and we don’t have this kind of panic over it.

Before you talk about the vaccine being different, I have got the vaccine every year and some years I still got the flu. My wife and I both had it one year and this one was so bad that I tell people I had two fears with it. The first was that I was so sick I was scared I was going to die. The second was that I was so sick I was scared I wasn’t going to die.

There is a proper fear to have that is the exercise of caution. It might not be wise to go down a dark alleyway at night by yourself if you’re unarmed and unprepared to defend yourself. You might not want to invest in that get-rich-quick plan your co-worker is talking about. Not all fear like this is wrong.

When fear becomes controlling and dominating though, we have a problem. My concern is not so much with the virus. It is more concern with how we are responding to this virus.

A few days ago we were running out of bread. I went to the store to get some. The first day, nothing. It was like being in Tennessee when a blizzard came or rather was reported to be coming. Many of us have been surprised to see toilet paper being gone from the stores as well.

This has unfortunately led to hoarding, and for the huge majority of us, this is very wrong. Some people are taking more than they will ever use and depriving those who are not as capable of getting basic staples. If you are a family of three or four, odds are you do not need six loaves of bread and 5 packages of toilet paper.

There was even a story of a man in Tennessee who was buying out hand sanitizer and selling it at exorbitant prices back. Thankfully, he was found and is donating those to charity. This is the kind of behavior that we are sadly seeing being done in our society.

Not only that, but I am concerned with the measures we will take particularly with government. Will we be sacrificing our personal freedom for the idea that the government can protect us from this virus? Right now, our national enemies can tell that if they want to send us into hysteria and shut down our economy, then just manufacture a virus and send it our way. The more we sacrifice freedom for the illusion of safety, the closer we get to losing our freedom altogether.

Odds are, you are not going to die from this virus. Unfortunately, the media has a great history of making things worse than they are. One such subject I have written about is the idea that violent video games lead to violence. For instance, when a new Grand Theft Auto game came out, which I don’t care for, the media told us there would be a surge in crime. Well, there was a change in crime when the game came out. It went down. Unfortunately, to this day, many people treat the idea that violent video games leads to violence as common knowledge.

We had the same thing with the Joker movie, yet I heard of no violence that took place in movie theaters because of the movie. I did hear about a violent event happening in connection with Frozen 2, but no one said anything about that one really. We know in our culture that in media, sex sells, but also fear sells. Fear keeps people glued to their TV screens watching the news wanting to know what they need to do next.

My personal thinking is that in a couple of months if not a few weeks, this whole thing will blow over. My concern is that people will say “It is because we took these precautions that we were all saved and we must do so next time.” In the meantime, much more damage is being done to our society. While big corporations are getting bailouts, what happens to the local Mom and Pop business in your area? The government doesn’t know about them and they’re not going to get the help.

In the meantime, please try not to panic. This is not the end of the world. If you are a Christian also, you should realize God is still watching over this world. It’s His world. We’re just living in it. Pray for the well-being of your neighbor and if you can, do something to help them out. If you have an elderly neighbor who can’t get out, go to the store and get them the staples they need. If you have been hoarding, go and give that to someone who really needs it.

For what I am sure is the overwhelming majority of you, you will be fine a year from now and if you die, most likely, it will not be from this virus. The world is not coming to an end because of this. (Despite what the prophecy experts will tell you.) We will make it. We will survive. Panic does us no favors whatsoever.

Take proper and healthy precautions all you want, but panicking about this will not help you. It will pass. We will survive.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

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