Throughout the last year, I've seen a number of friends, relatives, and patients claim their Christian faith as a reason to oppose #vaccines. The following argument has helped some reconsider. Maybe it's helpful for you or someone you know.
Christians who read history should be first in line for the COVID vaccines. Instead, there is very strong emphasis on personal choice and on God‘s will or fatalism where #COVID-19 is concerned.
But that’s actually a lot more about American individualism, which has become a western ideology in general, than it is about Christianity.
Consider the Christian response to the plague of Cyprian, which ravaged the Roman empire in the third century.
It's uncertain what disease was actually the causative agent here, but it is clear that it was much more fatal than #coronavirus has been in the present day. Something like a third of patients died from the disease.
However, medicine at the time was rudimentary and not much different from herbalism, and even the most famous physician in Rome, Galen, fled the city rather than care for the victims. Victims were abandoned by their families. No one knew what to do, and so they didn’t do anything
People died in the streets, abandoned by all who knew them. At the height of the plague, 5000 people were dying every day in Rome, which at the time had a population close to 1 million.
Christians stepped into this void with essentially basic #nursing. And basic nursing is hugely beneficial. It’s estimated that with good nursing care, the mortality rate from this disease, whatever it was, dropped by about two thirds.
Notably, that was the Christian response to the plague. It wasn’t to say “I’m not wearing a mask because that’s a restriction on my freedoms“ or "I'm not getting this vaccine" it was to say “I may die, but I’m going to help these people“.
So there’s a pretty big disconnect between the the aggressively individualist response of the average American Christian to COVID-19 and the selfless sacrifice of the average Roman Christian to that one.
Medicine has progressed a great deal, and it’s extremely uncommon to find plagues with similar mortality rates given the advancements in what we can do for the sick and ill. And one of the best things we can do for the sick and the ill is to keep them from getting sick and ill.
Which is where the vaccines and masks come in. Christians, from the time of Cyprian to the present, have been characterized by a love for their neighbors, and a willingness to inconvenience themselves even to the point of death for the sake of their neighbors.
The risks with this vaccine are real, but vanishingly small.
You aren’t running anything like the 1 in 6 risk of death the Roman Christian nursing a plague victim was in the third century A.D.
You’re running a one in a million risk of short term side effects, and you’re doing it for the sake of the health of those who can’t get vaccinated: the very young, the immunocompromised indeed the very poor, sick, and weak whom Christ came to save.
I would urge anyone making any kind of argument about this based on Christianity to re-examine whether their principles come more from John Locke through Tucker Carlson or from Jesus Christ.
And please, get vaccinated, wear a mask, and protect yourself and your neighbor.

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