I have seen “science” twice now as “Science,” a stable and unerring form of truth. It is seen also to offer salvation through technology, namely, vaccines. Just note the social media celebration around the jab.
I appreciate science. I like vaccines. I am thankful for medicine and technology as part of God’s common and good grace to humanity. But we humans create idols of what is good. John Calvin rightly describes us as idol factories.
I wonder then if vaccination and public health have taken on a religious significance? Perhaps, especially if social media is any indication. I have at least a suspicion we might be noticing an unhealthy form of idolatry.
We have waited for fourteen months in anticipation for the day of our immunity. When the appointment comes, we prepare for the vaccine. We wash and ready ourselves by wearing a t-shirt to leave our arms open for the injection.
Soon, we enter into the secular cathedral to receive the medicine of immunity from the medical clergy whose instruction and advice we heed. We trust our body will strengthen.
And in an act of spontaneous adoration, we will post my experience on Facebook and use the liturgical words: “I am doing my part.” “We are all in this together.”
The high point of the liturgical calendar, however, follows months of preparation. Beginning in March 2020, we locked down. We wore the mask. We kept apart from the pollutants, that is, each other. Now, the vaccine promises to make us clean. Soon, we hope to gather with other cleansed bodies.
In the United Kingdom, the government sponsored a rave—no masks, no distancing. After a year of denying oneself, release comes. It is a secular carnival, a time of release and freedom. Lenten denial before the celebration.
If this is not a liturgical or religious experience, then I wonder what is? Humans are made for God. Our patterns of life, even if we deny it, reflect the supernatural goal for which we are created. We are worshipping animals.
It may be that the secular cultus of Science in so far as it works for the common good is not itself wrong. It simply is yet another reminder of the sacred in life.
If so, then perhaps we can see and know that the vaccine might be the medicine of immunity, but the Eucharist is the medicine of immortality. As the body gains antibodies to fight the virus through the vaccine, so the soul grows stronger against sin through the bread and wine.
It does so precisely because through the symbols, we come to experience the reality: Christ’s blood shed for us, his body broken for us.
If we let science, that sign of common grace, become Science, then we have exchanged the glory of God for a creature. Yet if we let science work for the common good and enclose in symbols of the Good, then perhaps we have come through this pandemic okay after all.
Doug Sayers says
To your point, I recall an excellent series Tim Keller taught where he pointed out our habit of making “functional saviors” out of our careers, families, friends, sports teams, ministries, etc. We do need to include Science (especially Medical Science) and Government to the list of entities that we treat as functional saviors.
My question, even umbrage, with your post, is that you say “the vaccine *might* be the medicine of immunity.” Why? Immunity from what? What are they claiming it will actually do against a virus that has a >99% recovery rate (especially when treated properly with available medicines) ? They admit we can still get and spread the virus after “vaccination.” We have a RN friend who was in the hospital for brain tumors, tested positive for covid, and was on the same floor as 3 other patients who were in the hospital for covid after being fully “vaccinated.”
Proponents also admit it will not likely protect from future variants. They brazenly suggest we will need more (and more) $hots. Now, they want us to make our kids get the shot. That is the biggest red flag to date! Maybe it’s just the money but I fear there is something nefarious in those syringes that they want in everyone, except maybe themselves.
If it might *not* be the medicine of immunity why are we trusting people who stand to make billions from the ongoing sale of these products. Wall Street types are absolutely salivating over the money that will be made via pharmaceutical companies. The conflicts of interest are legion in this whole vaccine issue. In the US, there is no liability for the pharmaceutical companies if their products have adverse effects. (See the most recent CDC VAERS account of deaths, serious injuries, and adverse reactions after getting the shot: 157,277 reports of adverse events following COVID vaccines, including 3,837 deaths and 16,014 serious injuries between Dec. 14, 2020 and April 30, 2021.) These numbers have historically been proven (by Harvard) to be dramatically under-reported.
Wyatt, do you know where I might find some of today’s Christian / Reformed voices who have credibly explained, in any detail, why we should trust these scientists, many of whom are all-in on that which you are calling Science worship and are leaders of the zeitgist, which Al Mohler routinely calls “moral insanity” and the “culture of death,” and who are beholden to and held captive by Big Pharma?
If not, I will remain a card carrying conspiracy theorist kook. This will likely go down in history as the most lucrative, and possibly harmful, scheme in the history of the planet.
I’m thinking our natural immunity will be better than all the unproven man-made immunity; and am prepared to be falsely blamed for not loving my neighbor. We can agree with Jesus, when He said “those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. MT 9:21
I’ll gladly volunteer for the placebo group in this huge experiment. I’ll take one for the team and go without a mask and skip the shot :).
Sorry so long but this stuff is getting serious.