Facts in a Skeptical Age

That pillar of cloud and fire on the way to Sinai explains the COVID-19 doubts

Perhaps every age is skeptical and we just think of our own as the most skeptical. Reading through scripture you repeatedly encounter amazing events made more amazing by those who refused to accept them. We can learn a lot about what is happening right now from those stories. Yes, we can understand the COVID-19 situation from a few bits of scripture.

In Exodus, God sends the plagues, including death to the firstborn of all Egyptians. He passes over the houses of the Israelite slaves. Pharoah relents and lets God’s people go.

And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead them along the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, that they might travel by day and by night. The pillar of cloud by day and thepillar of fire by night did not depart from before the people. (Exodus 13:21-22)

Go just a few verses forward into chapter fourteen.

When Pharaoh drew near, the people of Israel lifted up their eyes, and behold, the Egyptians were marching after them, and they feared greatly. And the people of Israel cried out to the LORD. They said to Moses, “Is it because there are no graves in Egypt that you have taken us away to die in the wilderness? What have you done to us in bringing us out of Egypt? Is not this what we said to you in Egypt: ‘Leave us alone that we may serve the Egyptians’? For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the wilderness.” (Exodus 14:10-12)

There was Yahweh with a pillar of cloud before the Israelites that turned to a pillar of fire at night. There was Yahweh sending plagues to Egypt and liberating His people. With all this in their present mind and reality, still the people got scared and wanted to go back.

Go a bit further and they witness the parting of the Red Sea. They’ll witness bread from Heaven and water from a rock. But when Moses goes up the mountain for a while, they’re ready to ditch the God of all creation for a golden calf. Even witnessing all they had experienced, they not only didn’t get it, but they refused to get it.

Then there is Paul in 1 Corinthians 15.

For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time,most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me.  (1 Cor. 15:3-8)

Paul notes that Jesus appeared to Peter, the other apostles, his half-brother James, over five hundred other people, and to Paul. Paul even notes that most of those 500 eyewitnesses were still living.

But how many people, despite witnessing Jesus post-resurrection, would not believe their own eyes? For that matter, how many witnessed Jesus’ miracles and still rejected him? The odds are that some of the 5000 who ate the bread and fish that Jesus broke into pieces refused to believe. Given the size of Jerusalem at the time, it is very likely that many of the same people who welcomed Jesus into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday were screaming “crucify Him” at the end of the week.

Some people will not believe even after seeing things for themselves.

Yes, this is about COVID-19

I continue to encounter people who are convinced the COVID-19 situation is not real, is exaggerated, or willfully seek to undermine the experts because they have decided the experts are not really that expert.

For whatever reason, they are playing a part in making the situation worse and often twisting facts ever so slightly like Satan twisting scripture to tempt Jesus.

Yes, it is true the author of that Imperial College model has now lowered the mortality rate for Great Britain from 500,000 to 20,000. But he did so because the variables changed — namely people’s behavior. The same holds true for the United States, where the modeling predicted at least 2 million dead and now predicts maybe 100,000 dead because of changes in behavior. That is consistent with what both Drs. Birx and Fauci are predicting.

One need not believe the models, though. Go to a hospital in an urban area and see what is happening for yourself. Here is a picture of a refrigerator truck in New York City being used to hold the bodies because the morgue is overrun. Is it photoshopped? It is a misstatement of reality? No, that is really what is happening.

In Albany, GA, an unknowingly infected preacher preached a funeral three weeks ago. There are now 247 cases and 17 deaths that can all be traced to people who attended the funeral service and those they came into contact with.

As I noted over the weekend, the modeling that a lot of people are not taking seriously has actually underestimated hospitalization in New York City. Here’s the Governor of New York on that point:

There will always be skeptics. But there is still truth.

Yes, there are those overplaying this and making specious claims designed to scare. But there are reasonable people in the field seeing first hand the impact of this virus. There is an economic cost, but a real physical cost as well.

The President wanted to have the nation opened up by Easter. He has now decided to wait until the end of April. For the skeptics, it raises the question of why would he do that if the experts and data are so wrong.

Lots of people will claim to have the answer and that answer will deviate from the truth. But there are those who hear the truth and prefer alternatives to it. Joel Osteen has a packed house every Sunday tickling people’s ears and there are a lot of million-person follower accounts on Twitter who will tickle your ears too.

But a tickled ear is not necessarily one receiving truth. Telling people what they want to hear can earn a person a lot of money. Frankly, it makes more money than the truth.

But the truth is important and I think we all have an obligation to it. There is no reason to undermine those people telling the truth or even those experts taking in data and adjusting models as the real world and hypotheticals meet in real-time.

Some people just like to be contrarian and process facts differently. But facts and truth still matter. The fact is none of us have a natural immunity to this virus, it is more deadly than the flu, and we must contain its spread before we can get the economy going again.