I'm feeling philosophical today. Bear with me. It happens sometimes. There are two ways that I know of that we can reach herd immunity to Covid-19: 1) a vaccine that we don't have yet or 2) letting the virus run its course and infect the most vulnerable of our society. For me, at least, whether to follow the stay at home order is a matter of conscience. Here are my thoughts.
1. I don't think that survival of the fittest is a Christian concept. It may be the law of nature, but it is the product of a fallen world. In the new heaven and new earth we look forward to, when the lion lies down with the lamb and we beat our swords into plowshares, I don't think survival of the fittest will be applicable anymore. i long for the day when God's will is done, on earth as it is in heaven. I think we all do.
2. If we took the concept of survival of the fittest and flipped it to be a Christian concept, what would it look like? Who would be the fittest people? I kind of think that would be our elderly who have so much to teach us about God and life, our friends who have chronic health conditions and have learned to suffer with grace, and those who have taught us that Christian productivity is not limited to economic productivity. I think the fittest might be the poor who have learned better than I have how to value things that cost little but mean much. In short, maybe the fittest are our most vulnerable. Maybe I should write about my cousin Mary who lived her entire life unable to walk or talk or feed herself, but whose life and the faith and example of her parents resulted in the transformation of an entire community and many people going into Christian ministry. She was, by the world's standards, unproductive, but we don't live by the world's standards. If God is trying to teach us something with this, maybe our idols are being revealed.
3. Or maybe the fittest of us are the ones, also highly vulnerable, who are willing to risk their own lives to keep people alive - the ones who run into burning buildings to save people they don't even know. The ones who walk into a Covid-19-filled ER wearing a trash bag and a 3-day-old N95 mask. They are the ones who embody in practical ways our belief that life is sacred and worth preserving. I want them to stay alive.
4. Are there people you love so much that you would go bankrupt to save their lives? Of course there are. Are there those who you would not do that for? Why or why not? If I'm honest, I have to say that there are those I wouldn't go bankrupt for, but I'm not sure if I'm confessing sin when I say that or not. What I do think is that it is a healthy question to ask. The parable of the rich young ruler disturbs my conscience.
5. There are those who say that an economic crash will also result in the loss of lives. I'm assuming that they mean that the poor will lose their livelihoods and means of existence. That will indeed happen if those of us who have the means to help them fail to do so. Christians who take seriously the command to love their neighbors as themselves will do as much as they can to help those who are financially suffering as a result of this virus, and there is a staggering amount of wealth in this country. If I get a stimulus check, I will give it away. If our entire nation banded together, we'd be fine. But, of course, there will be those who don't, and so there will surely be some death from the economic downturn. So what should *I* do about this? I have to be concerned with my own sin, and my conscience tells me that going about in the company of others knowing that I could be an asymptomatic carrier would be sin on my part. Should we throw caution to the wind and let the vulnerable die from Covid now because other people later will fail to help the poor financially and they will die later? We have no vaccine for covid, but the vaccine for the financially-stricken is available in the form of love and charity. I don't claim to be definitively right here, but my conscience leans toward preserving life now and praying with all my might that our nation will be turned toward charity in the economic aftermath. I honestly don't have a lot of faith that prayer will be answered, but I have at least a mustard's seed worth.
6. At the end of the day, some things happen in life that just suck. This is one of them. It's just happening to all of us at once. I don't see any clear answers that can't be challenged, and goodness knows, there are lots of opinions flying around. All I can do is ask God to enlighten my conscience, to cut through my pre-conceived ideas, and to give me direction, endurance, and love.