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Coronavirus Crazy

Douglas Murray’s The Madness of Crowds, is prophetic in many ways – not least in its title.  That phrase came to mind today last night when speaking at NorWest Anglican on the subject of Christians and the Environment.

Screenshot 2020-03-04 21.00.17

One of the young women there works in a local supermarket and told me that people were panic buying toilet paper.  Toilet paper ?!- why? It has even got to the extent that the news are reporting a fight in Sydney today over bog roll! 


Have a look at this news report –

My colleague Steve McAlpine has this great blog on the subject – The Great Toilet Paper Run of 2020   

The casual, well-informed, well-travelled, well educated, well entertained “worried well” are just one day away from an all encompassing, all consuming sickness that would see people fighting over toilet paper as if it were a flatscreen TV on sale on Black Friday.

The confidence of our secular culture is all smoke and mirrors. The self-aware casual irony of a culture that has never had its centre tested by anything is disappearing faster than a nine pack of triple ply Sorbent.

Read the newspaper tomorrow to see how this plays out. Though you might have to read it online. For as my mum reminds me about the bad old days on the farm in Northern Ireland in the fifties, newspapers had other uses too.


There are many reasons for this – the prevalence of social media, 24 hour news, catastrophising reporting, greed, ignorance (to the extent that one third of Americans in one survey said they would not buy Corona beer!), and what I would call social contagion.  The panic spreads faster than the virus.  Even as I was sitting in the ‘rest room’ yesterday the thought crossed my mind – maybe I should get some toilet paper?!  I too am not immune from this social contagion.    But we must resist….

I thought this comment sums up the situation well:


I would add to that – don’t panic, think and pray! The ‘worst-case scenario’ is not that 100% of us get Covid19 or that 3.4% die. The worst-case scenario would be if there were no Christ and no Saviour. A far worse and more infectious virus is that of sin. 100% of us are born with it. 100% will die (by whatever means) because of it. But we were created for eternity and that is why we fear death. The world’s answer is to panic and buy toilet paper. The Churches answer is to look to Christ –

Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death – that is, the devil – and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.”

‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭2:14-15‬

Letter from Australia 27 – The Chinese Virus?


  1. We are being told that if we cannot wash our hands with soap and water we should use alcohol gel hand sanitiser (not sure where that leaves the Muslim population).

    My wife and I are determiner to take a short holiday next week (booked for ages but not in one of the hot spots). So I tried to buy some of the gel to cover our airport / flight. But the shelves are bare, and all the on line suppliers are also out of stock.

    However our local Tesco still had adequate supplies of toilet paper. But for how long……

    In all this madness the media are ignoring the “biblical” (yes they have used this word) plagues of locusts affecting huge areas of East Africa which will result in a massive food crisis for millions. There is still a possibility that they could move into China by going round the Himalayas.

    Interesting times!

  2. I am clearly missing some glaring connection between susceptibility to a virus and toilet paper supplies. It makes zero sense to me.

    But if people are this worked up over hoarding paper to clean off after the loo…maybe buy a bidet attachment for 25 bucks and call it a day?

    I do not understand how toilet paper relates to a viral threat. I just don’t. I suppose I’m not on the right mailing lists or something because I missed the memo.

  3. A great sense of perspective to see that death is with us all the time. Unfortunately my church elders vetoed the sense of perspective comparisons from being included in our church newsheet. But thank you David for your biblical perspective.

  4. Amazingly, the Iranian govt cancelled Friday Prayers .

    The power of Islam’s deity is most impressive . When good things happen it’s all Allah’s doing but when bad things happen well who knows.

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