Christian Living Ethics Health Politics

Would Jesus Wear A Mask?  – CT

This was first published in Christian Today here

Would Jesus Wear A Mask?

(Photo: Unsplash/Corina Rainer)

It’s the great theological question of the day. Christian writers are blogging about it. Churches are falling out over it. It has become a more divisive issue than Brexit, BLM, or Baptism! The question is: ‘would Jesus wear a mask?’

In the good old days, churches used to split over issues like wearing hats, speaking in tongues, or having guitars in worship. Today we fight over wearing masks, speaking at all, or having any kind of sung praise.

Think of Rev Charlie Boyle, vicar of All Saints Brankscombe in Dorset, who on Easter Sunday carried a cross down the aisle of his church singing ‘Thine be the Glory’ without a facemask on! A member of his congregation dobbed him in – and for this heinous sin he has been suspended and could be sacked from his job. Denying that Christ rose from the dead on Easter Sunday would not get you sacked; refusing to wear a mask could.

Why has this become such a toxic issue – even in the church?

Tim Farron, the Christian MP sums up the case for Christians wearing masks – it’s what Jesus would do, because it is the compassionate thing to do.

The whole point of wearing a mask is to protect each other, not just ourselves. Studies (as opposed to that post you saw on Facebook…) clearly show that masks help mitigate the spread of droplets from your mouth if you cough, sneeze or laugh,” he says.

Tim compares it with breaking wind in a lift. It’s not nice. You wouldn’t do it. Moving from the trivial to the holy, he then compares it with Jesus going to the cross – he did not call down angels to spare him from the cross so we should not be standing by our rights not to wear a mask.

There are as many holes in that argument as there are virus gaps in a cloth mask! Whilst the point is valid about not standing up for my own rights, that is not really the lesson from the cross. I am not atoning for my sin, never mind others, by wearing a mask.

To reduce the whole argument to ‘it’s a nice and compassionate thing to do’ is to fall into the trap which Tim is trying to avoid – just repeating the memes in the culture war, because it presupposes that wearing masks works.

WWJD?

Some people used to wear those ‘WWJD’ arm bands. Perhaps we should have ‘What Would Jesus Do’ on our facemasks? But it would be better leaving it as a question, rather than a doctrine or the 40th Article – this, I’m sure, is what Jesus would do!

I don’t really know whether or not Jesus would wear a mask. What I am more concerned about is what he would want us to do. Of course, we are to love our neighbour – which does include compassion – but it also includes thinking, and asking, what is the best way to love our neighbour?

I have looked at this issue before. And since then, have read a great deal more. It seems to me that at the very least the case for masks is not as crystal clear as we are being told. So, let’s consider the downside to wearing masks.

What’s the downside to masks?

They create and perpetuate fear. As a form of ‘nudge’ theory, so beloved by the behavioural psychologists advising the government, they act as a visible reminder of the ever-present danger. In that sense they have become a visible sacrament, fending off the evil Covid. But fear is a dangerous weapon to use and the collateral damage from it is far reaching.

The journalist, Laura Dodsworth, makes this point strongly in her book A State of Fear: “Introducing a measure without an exit strategy can create more problems. In this case, it is that we are still wearing masks. They have turned the UK population into walking billboards that announce we are in a deadly epidemic. Every time you go into a public space you are reminded by masks of the epidemic. And then the idea that they help (even if they do not) is reinforced. Did you survive your trip to the supermarket? Only because you were wearing a mask! Did you contract Covid on the Tube? No? It must be the mask that saved you! The unintended consequence of the masks is that they keep the fear alive and modify our behaviour, and this has proven useful as far as the behavioural scientists are concerned.”

I’m not sure any Christian should be encouraging any fear – except the fear of the Lord. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t wear a mask – but it does mean we should be careful about exaggerating what we are doing. Professor Robert Dingwall, a sociologist, who sits on the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, told Sky News: “The way in which we focused on that is, I think, another signal of the levels of fear – we’re clinging to something which is visible, but doesn’t actually achieve very much.”

On the other hand, they give a false sense of comfort. Whether it is Joe Biden saying that masks are the weapon we have to defeat Covid, or John Swinney, the Scottish government minister who this week got in trouble for retweeting a false meme which states that if you are both masked and six feet away from people you have 0% possibility of getting Covid, the message has been wrongly given that masks give you a high level of protection.

Dr Colin Axon, one of the government Sage scientific advisers, points out that “the best thing you can say about masks is that any positive effect is too small to be measured.”

The reason for this is that Covid 19 is spread by aerosol – not just the large droplets put out by coughing, sneezing, or laughing. According to Dr Acton cloth masks have gaps that are 5,000 times the size of the covid virus. It’s like firing marbles at a builder’s scaffold – some will hit the posts, but most will get through.

Masks limit communication. We are a visual species. Our faces speak. It’s why preaching online is not the same as preaching in person – because you cannot see the faces of people. Our faces are essential in communication.

Masks hinder worship. This ties in with the communication. Singing, preaching, praying, interacting with one another is made all the more difficult with masks.

Masks pollute. We are all supposed to be climate friendly nowadays and against the proliferation of plastic. It is estimated that around 130 million masks are disposed of every month. According to the UN, some 75% of masks will end up in landfill or waterways – creating a significant pollution problem.

Masks themselves can become a health risk. The wearing of masks has seen an increase in the skin condition known as ‘maskne’- which covers such things as acne, perioral dermatitis, and folliculitis.

And finally – masks divide. Sometimes literally. I know of at least one church where there is a section for those who are masked, and a section for the unmasked. It’s almost as though there is a section for the unclean. For a while in the US, to wear a mask, or not to wear a mask, was seen as a sign of political affiliation.

Masks should be about health use. Period. Not about political affiliation, not about psychological manipulation, not about virtue signalling, and certainly not about theological orientation. To claim that wearing a mask is what Jesus would do is a big claim – because it immediately identifies those who do not wear masks as those who are ‘un-Christlike’ – which is about the worst thing you can say to a Christian.

And it does so on a fairly shallow understanding of the evidence and an assumption that the studies you have seen on the internet are better than the studies seen by those who disagree with you.

Let’s Behave Like Grown Ups and Stop Treating Adults Like Children.

So, at least in the Church, perhaps we can tone down the rhetoric, the apocalyptic talk, and the cheap jibes at those who may not share our views? Perhaps we should let people think for themselves and let each be persuaded in their own minds (Romans 14:5)? I will wear a mask when I am commanded to by law, I will wear it when I am in the home of a weaker brother or sister who is afraid that I may be bearing the virus; but I will also reserve the right to think for myself and to refuse to participate in the fear mongering, vitriol and virtue signalling that goes on on all sides of this debate.

Meanwhile in a world that seems to be increasingly hiding itself under a shroud of fear and despair, I look forward to the day when all believers will see the Lord with ‘unveiled faces’ and be totally transformed into his glorious image (2 Corinthians 3:18).

After I wrote this this article was published – https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/47-studies-confirm-inefectiveness-of-masks-for-covid-and-32-more-confirm-their-negative-health-effects

The Psychology of Masks

Letter from Australia 81 – Unmasked – Church, Dan, Ravi and Willie

Mark Driscoll, Mars Hill and the Lessons still being Learned – CT

Quantum 156 – Time to Sing – including the BBC, Canada, Israel, Samoa, India, Darfur and Woke Coke

53 comments

  1. Good article… especially this bit “because it immediately identifies those who do not wear masks as those who are ‘un-Christlike”. There are enough genuine and divisive commands from Jesus without our (or others) inner modern day Pharisee adding to them.

  2. It’s no joke; seriously. Seriously, I’ve read or heard that science is behind the view, and it’s not nice, odious in fact, that breaking wind can transmit the disease even without uttering a sound.
    What is as. if not more, disconcerting is that the Keswick Convention requires two negative lateral flow tests before admission to the site. Maybe that is how singing unmasked goes ahead. Evidently, Jesus isn’t there for the sick and weary, where two or three are gathered in his name; don’t come to me, says he. He is only for the worried well; the fit and strong. I find that deeply wearying and isolating.
    And Simon Manchester, a scheduled speaker this year, has been locked out, has he not, through this scourge?

  3. Thank you David for the discussion. I went to the supermarket in Dunedin New Zealand today and I WAS WEARING A MASK. No one else that I saw there was wearing one because we are not required to and I think most “regular” people hate wearing them. However, I was wearing mine to prevent other people from spreading whatever they do have on to me!
    I was not greeted by the checkout operator and they were learning the job I understand. They may have been confused so opted to say nothing. I did not speak to them apart from saying thank you for their service. What I did notice was the strange looks I got from quite a lot of people and was reminded of the story of “Black Like Me” by John Howard Griffin and the reaction he got to going out into American society looking like a “person of colour” I was discriminated against. I am happy about that as at least I was not ignored!

  4. Jesus certainly wouldn’t need to wear a mask since I take it he was in the mystery of his person sovereign over illnesses. He touched a leper and the leper was healed rather than Jesus contaminated.

    Covid is under his rule.

    Would he be subject to the authorities or would there be reasons that would override civil obedience?

    1. But Jesus did say ‘Render unto Caesar…’ etc…. A government’s God-given responsibilities do include the protection of its citizens. So, where a Government genuinely believes that wearing masks during a pandemic is a protective mechanism for its citizens and mandates the same, then our duty is clear. And I say this as someone who ‘thinks’ wearing masks is of little benefit.

      1. The criteria ‘genuinely believes’ is an interesting one! How do we know what they genuinely believe? What if they are using masks as a psychological and political tool? The point is whether masks really do protect or end up even causing harm?

      2. Well we don’t know for sure what they genuinely believe, we have to make assumptions based on what they say, but we surely need very solid evidence to conclude that they are really using masks to manipulate and psychologically control us… I suppose their enthusiasm for masks when the evidence for the helpfulness of masks is so slight will be considered by some people to constitute such evidence, but I’m not convinced that, on its own, it’s solid enough to confidently draw such conclusions…

      3. David does state in his article “I will wear a mask when I am commanded to by law”. I.e when the government says he should, he will.

      4. Indeed… my comment was intended to be a ‘Reply’ to John Thornton’s question: “Would he (Jesus) be subject to the authorities or would there be reasons that would override civil obedience?” and not a response to the original article…. apologies…. I don’t know what I did wrong!

      5. David

        There is at least one scientific study showing that when everyone wears a mask the risk of covid transmission is greatly reduced (from memory by about 70%)

        Scientists and doctors are not just making this stuff up out of nowhere. They do actually have data to inform their advice.

      6. Could you cite the study? Is it peer reviewed? I have asked many doctors and scientists and the vast majority say that we don’t know and that most of it is speculation. There are lots of memes going round – a Scottish government member even shared one that showed 100% effectiveness! I just want to see the data…and have been asking for months. People keep telling me the data says that masks are effective and yet when asked they never seem to be able to produce it (and I too have been able to Google what is available…which is very limited!)

  5. This begs the question as to what we will be given to wear in heaven. Will it be white robes or will there, perhaps, be any need to cover ourselves up at all? Intriguing eh?

  6. Really helpful article…….. Although I think it’s less than helpful to use the term “weaker brother or sister “ in this context. What folk are doing depends upon which group of experts they believe most. And I don’t agree with the implied criticism of making provision for both mask wearers and non-mask wearers…. To make such provision in these circumstances seems to me consistent with Romans 14:5b. (I’m a non-mask wearer wherever possible, by the way).

  7. Will this result in a permanent change to the function of our society even after Covid has been dealt with? It’s alarming how quick some people are to report anyone they see who isn’t toeing the government line. It could be argued that this is understandable during a pandemic, but is that attitude going to go away once the pandemic is over? And how many government are going to find some excuse to perpetuate a state of emergency to keep the population frightened and ready to turn on each other?

  8. Always interesting to hear pastors pontificating on the science. My field is patent law (i.e. engineering+law) but despite my background I’m not risking an opinion on masks. Yes, they’re annoying and uncomfortable (here in Germany we have to wear the really uncomfortable FFP2 masks) but Romans 13 surely applies. You have try very hard to turn it into a freedom issue.

    1. And yet having said you are not going to risk an opinion – you give one! Romans 13 does not give carte blanche to the state. Given the history of where you live, you should be aware of that! In a democracy all citizens have (or should have) a say…

      1. It’s been said that one of the crises of civilization is caused by ordinary people being faced with decisions they’re not equipped intellectually or educationally (or for that matter, theologically) to make. When it comes to mask effectiveness (hint: the scientific issue is droplet size, not virus size) it’s all about statistics. Much of the anti-mask, and indeed anti-vaxx propaganda, is based on so-called p-hacking (Google it). My reluctance to commit on the issue arises from a mistake I made 50 years ago: I skipped all statistics classes at university. It’s an area where intuition and opinion are pretty worthless.

  9. The bigger question is: would Jesus get vaccinated? One thing I am sure he would not do is add fuel to the fire for the conspiracy theorists who feed on fear – and who are more likely to pour scorn on mask wearing and vaccination because of the allure of confirmation bias. The question of what Jesus would do is always the wrong question if it is ‘what would Jesus of our imaginations do if transported to here and now from the ancient Near East context he came as a human being into?’. The right question is: ‘what does his word teach us to do?’ His word teaches us to obey the government and to love our neigbours. If the law does not require us to wear masks, going on the mainstream information we have available, it seems that masks are relatively effective and doubts that they are not are not enough to give us any warrant to put others at risk. All the points made by David about the downsides of mask wearing are perfectly valid but the preservation of life has to be the priority if we are to truly love our neighbour – and I don’t think I’m a weaker brother if I wish to obey that commandment!

    As a postscript to my comment… I am aware of ethical complexities around vaccine development but I think the main reason Christians who don’t get vaccinated have is fear – the very thing we should not be motivated by when seeking to protect others.

    1. Without taking sides on any if the issues in this debate, the “mainstream information” is the last thing I would base my decisions on in any issue!

      1. You’d rather base your opinion on fringe information? I’d say that is the antithesis of submitting to the authorities as God requires us to do. Not that we should avoid questioning those in authority (as David rightly does) but we are not called to create a fringe society. This current issue has probably highlighted that like no other in recent years. It exposes the fault lines between a more separatist theology and one that seeks to reform society rather than leave it (as a Presbyterian, I subscribe to the latter).

      2. What is this ‘fringe’ information you refer to? I assume it’s not me or the articles referred to in the article….? We need to be really careful not to call something ‘fringe’ just because we don’t agree with it. The evidence for masks is very patchy. The WHO were opposed to it – until politics took over. There is little evidence they really do stop covid. SAGE for example stated they were only 17% effective. The only peer reviewed full study (the Danish one) says they are pretty useless – although that was only referring to the protection given to the wearer. These are not ‘fringe’ sources.

      3. David, my comment was largely in response to John’s rejection of ‘mainstream information’. I would include articles such as these as being ‘mainstream’: https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-02801-8 and https://news.sky.com/story/covid-19-what-does-the-science-actually-say-about-face-masks-12349337 (the first being a reputable scientific magazine and the second being a mainstream media company).

        The opposite of mainstream is ‘fringe’. Your reference an articles in The Telegraph is of course mainstream but the article you refer to above is an opinion piece and not scientific literature. I couldn’t find the reference to Sage saying that face masks were only 17% effective. The Danish study is much more nuanced than saying masks are useless and, as you say, it only measured protection of the wearers – see https://www.factcheck.org/2020/11/danish-study-doesnt-prove-masks-dont-work-against-the-coronavirus/

        However, that said, my main concern is that some Christians have too suspicious an attitude towards the (UK) government rather than a healthy attitude that is trusting without being unquestioning. I’d be interested to hear from John Brand to know what his sources are if they are not ‘mainstream’ – perhaps I’ve misjudged and they are not ‘fringe’ but some clarification would be useful.

    2. My apologies, I read ‘mainstream information’ in your comments as mainstream media information. But while I agree that Scripture commands us to submit to the authorities it never calls us to, by default, trust them. I very much doubt that the first century church instinctively trusted the Roman authorities. Given the current UK and Scottish governments, why on earth would my starting position be to trust them on anything?

      Our governments and mainstream media are not listening to and following the science, they are listening to and following the science they agree with and which fits their agenda, and are not giving airtime to the science – and there is plenty of it – that they don’t agree with, which means individuals like you and me are not able to make properly informed personal decisions.

      It is also very unfair and untrue to say that most Christians who don’t get the vaccine do so because of fear. Personally, I know of no Christian who takes that position. Those I do know, have done so because of principled decisions based on use of foetal material, for example, or because of personal health issues which make having the vaccine dangerous. I am troubled by the hostility of authorities and media etc who are demonising those who choose not to get vaccinated. As Christians, we should not pass judgement on other believers who come to a different decision from us for whatever reason – even fear. That is a solidly biblical position, e.g. Romans 14:4, 10, 12.

      For the record I have been doubled vaccinated because I personally believe that in the circumstances that is the responsible thing to do to help protect my family and community. I wear a face mask, but only when legally required to do so because, despite having read widely, I have read nothing that persuades me it is justified or necessary.

      1. John, thanks for your reply. It raises an interesting debate about our relationship with the authorities – the Westminster Confession of Faith chapter 23 has a positive regard for the authorities even though we know that the Westminster divines certainly did not unquestionably accept all that the government decided. Other Christian traditions have a more separatist view – and you are right to highlight the difference under Roman rule because context is very important (and yet Paul wrote Romans 13 in that very context!).

        That said, I think the default position in the UK should be to trust those in authority rather than be suspicious of their motives but also to hold them to account when they do not act as the public servants they are called to be. This is especially true on this issue – I doubt very much the government wants to wreak the economy on purpose and I think it is valid to say they wish to protect life. On other issues such as LGBT rights or abortion, I think we can rightly question the ideology behind government decisions.

        I only know of one Christian who has an issue with the ethical complexities because of the use of foetal material. I know people who have only had one vaccine because they had a bad reaction but I don’t know anyone who didn’t have a vaccine because of valid health concerns. I do know several people who haven’t been vaccinated because of a suspicion of those in authority fueled by conspiracy theories which are of course rooted in fear – hence my comment. These are all anecdotal but research amongst other groups has shown that resistance to being vaccinated is often fueled by conspiracy theories that go hand in hand with suspicion of those in authority.

        You say we shouldn’t pass judgement on Christians who do not get vaccinated – and of course, we shouldn’t if we don’t know all the facts in specific cases (for example, unknown to us they may be allergic to the vaccine). But in the case of fear connected with conspiracy theories, I think we can make a judgement. It would also be valid to make a judgement on younger people who openly say they won’t get vaccinated for purely selfish reasons because they think they are invincible (thankfully I haven’t heard any younger Christians use that sort of language but it is there amongst secular young people). I do not believe this is a ‘weaker brother’ sort of issue, it is a moral issue and you yourself recognise it as such because you have taken action to protect others. On moral issues, we can, and should make right judgements.

        And having said all that, I am grateful to David Robertson for asking questions and being a voice to challenge the status quo – even if I don’t always agree with him (which is my prerogative as a fellow Presbyterian). We need such voices which are balanced and rational and which seek to be biblically rooted.

  10. This whole debate is pathetic! We should be focusing our attention on spreading the Gospel so that people do not go to Hell

    1. If we took Proverbs 22:3 to the extreme we wouldn’t get out of bed in the morning and certainly wouldn’t venture onto the streets. We have to weigh up the dangers against the costs of ‘taking refuge’.

  11. This ‘science brief’ by the USA Centers for Disease Control says, ‘At least ten studies have confirmed the benefit of universal masking in community level analyses’. It summarises the outcomes of these studies.
    http://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/science/science-briefs/masking-science-sars-cov2.html

    It says that two studies ‘have been improperly characterized by some sources as showing that surgical or cloth masks offer no benefit’ and gives grounds for this statement.

    Given this, it is hard to understand the minority view of Dr Colin Axon that ‘the best thing you can say about masks is that any positive effect is too small to be measured.’ It has been measured and at least four studies have found it to be statistically significant (i.e. very unlikely to be due to chance) at the 95% confidence level.

    I don’t see how relevant it is that gaps in cloth masks are larger than viruses when viruses do not come out of people’s mouths and noses as single virus particles, but as part of larger water droplets (either exhaled, sneezed or coughed).

    I see that Dr Axon is a senior lecturer in mechanical and aerospace engineering, not virology or epidemiology.

    As masks most probably do decrease transmission and also severity of infection, their benefits – cutting down serious illness, death and long Covid – surely outweigh their disadvantages.

    1. Thanks I read it and if you will forgive me – its full of holes – and reads more like an attempted scientific justification for a political conclusion. For example it says that the Danish study sample is too small – but it is as large as the others – none of which are peer reviewed science studies. I’m not sure where you got the idea that covid 19 is only spread by droplets? It is an aerosol disease so that means it is spread in the air. The size of the droplet is not relevant. The question is not whether masks decrease transmission, but to what extent. The Norwegians did not make them mandatory because they found that it took 200,000 masks to prevent one case and 20 million one death. There is also the original reason that the WHO were opposed to them (apart from that they are ineffective) – and that is that they give people a false sense of confidence.

      1. I also wondered about the statement about the size of the Danish study. But I don’t see why you say that none of the other studies are peer-reviewed science studies. The reference list includes at least 29 scientific journals with names like Annals of the American Thoracic Society, which would normally publish peer-reviewed studies. (The Journal of the American Medical Association is certainly well known – I remember using it as a Psychology student at Edinburgh.) I have checked online whether 4 of these journals do publish peer-reviewed studies, and they all do. I don’t see a reason to doubt that the other journals listed do too.

        Three of the 10 studies summarised in the table are definitely peer-reviewed according to this check. This includes two studies which found statistically significant results.

        That’s not an effect ‘too small to be measured’. That’s at least two peer-reviewed scientific studies which have found that wearing masks does reduce transmission to a significant extent.

        Though I have not checked all the studies in the table, the CDC scientists did consider them worth including. I would imagine they had some reason that was not purely political.

        I am aware that the most important route of transmission for Covid is by aerosol. but as far as I know, aerosol does not consist of single virus particles but of very small water droplets containing virus particles. These droplets are larger than virus particles. This makes Dr Colin Axon’s statement that the gaps in cloth masks are 5000 times the size of the Covid virus not very helpful.

        Dr John Campbell, an expert in infectious diseases, has presented evidence in some of his YouTube information videos that cloth masks not only reduce transmission but also reduce severity of infection. This is because if you are near someone who is breathing out virus particles, they will emit less particles per minute if they are wearing a mask than if they are not, which means you will receive a lower ‘viral load’. This means firstly that your body has more chance of fighting the virus off, but secondly that if you do become infected, your immune system is less likely to become overwhelmed. This means that mask wearing cuts the risk of hospitalisation and death.

        I can recommend his channel, if anyone doesn’t know it, BTW. He has over a million subscribers and very enthusiastic comments from viewers.

      2. They are not peer reviewed scientific studies of controlled experiments – they are analysis of the little data we actually have.

  12. Another question I reckon will come to the fore eventually is whether or not Jesus would have taken Vitamin D3 supplements as another measure against the effects of Covid-19. It has long been known that Vitamin D deficiency weakens our immune systems to all kinds of infection, both bacterial and viral, yet our governments seem woefully ignorant of this fact and fail to insist that we take Vitamin D3 supplements in the winter when the sunlight is weak and our bodies don’t generate enough in themselves.

    Jesus, being omniscient, knows exactly how effective masks are – or are not – and He also knows how effective and important Vitamin D is. So which would He have chosen, were He to walk the earth today – masks or Vitamin D or both?

  13. PS Just noticed this section of the science brief on evidence concerning cloth masks and aerosol:

    ‘Cloth masks not only effectively block most large droplets (i.e., 20-30 microns and larger)9 but they can also block the exhalation of fine droplets and particles (also often referred to as aerosols) smaller than 10 microns ;3,5 … *Multi-layer cloth masks can both block up to 50-70% of these fine droplets and particles3,14 and limit the forward spread of those that are not captured.*5,6,15,16’
    https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/science/science-briefs/masking-science-sars-cov2.html

    I don’t think Dr Colin Axon is right.

  14. I think pastors are being put in a difficult position- likely zero training in medicine or risk mitigation and yet looked to for advice on covid19 and more trusted than the doctors

    I think all pastors should be encouraging their flock to follow the medical advice.

    My view is that Jesus absolutely would do something divisive to save lives. In the parable of the Good Samaritan the Samaritan does something incredibly controversial – far more controversial than wearing a mask – to save the Jews life.

    Our kids have “lost” more than a year of their childhoods so far. Call it selfish but I would like to see every person taking action to stop the spread and get us past covid, especially those people who claim Christ as their savior

    1. But which medical advice? The advice that you approve of? Or different advice? I have medical advice that tells me masks are basically useless – should we follow that advice? Your problem is that ‘the’ medical advice is like ‘the’ science – it is not universal and is far too often pre-determined by politics. Do you think we should follow the WHO who told us that Covid 19 was not transmitted by human contact, and then told us that masks were not necessary?

      1. I have not seen any medical advice saying masks are useless.

        I cant speak for Aus, but here we have just had renewed advice to wear masks indoors in public even if you are vaccinated. The only people saying masks are useless here are Republican politicians and Fox News pundits

        If the medical consensus in your area genuinely has told you not to wear a mask then by all means follow their advice, but I do find that very very hard to believe.

      2. It depends where you look. Stop and ask why you think you are being asked to wear masks when you are vaccinated? Just name calling those who disagree with you isn’t really helpful, is it? The situation is a whole lot more complex than the simple fundamentalist take you seem to have.

  15. Also perhaps you didn’t mean it this way, but I don’t think you should accuse people who actually dont want to catch covid from you as having a weak faith. Belief that faith in Jesus protects you from all illness is false teaching and actually far more divisive than following the medical advice to mask up.

    1. I will permit this comment once – but only as a warning. Can I ask you not to lie about what I am saying and don’t argue against what I am not saying. It would be appreciated. Don’t set up the ridiculous in order to argue against what someone is not saying.

  16. In many of the conversation above you are conflating 2 different things – the study methodology and whether the study before publishing has been reviewed by peers. Peer reviewing can be done to all study types – the lowest grade evidence case report through to observational studies (looking at what happens), then randomised control trials (allocating people to different interventions), blinded studies randomised control trials (investigators and participants don’t know who has had the intervention so that it doesn’t influence behaviour -but you can’t blind people for mask wearing.) Finally systematic reviews.

    With regards to the different evidence mentioned here:
    https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/47-studies-confirm-inefectiveness-of-masks-for-covid-and-32-more-confirm-their-negative-health-effects – most of these aren’t studies more opinion pieces.

    The CDC studies are primarily observational data with no reference to confounding factors. It is very hard to know the difference between correlation and cause – do masks work because people keep further away when wearing them, do cases drop when introduced because they are introduced at the peek and people are modifying their behaviour anyway.

    In short there are no clear answers. As a church we’ve kept them because many of our elderly congregation are nervous to attend without. I wear in shops (in the UK) because most still are and I think it is respectful of shop assistance who are still wearing and have no choice but to be there.

    1. Leaving aside the bona fides of “globalresearch.ca”, a conspiracy outfit, a fairly casual read of the article shows it’s contentious nonsense: “5,522 people died within 28 days of having a dose of a Covid-19 vaccine.” So they weren’t fully vaccinated and we don’t know what they died of. This is then leveraged to “NN people died due to the xxx jab”. Due to? How many in a cohort of that size would die in any 28 period, jab or not? Correlation is not causation!

  17. Romans 14 relates to food & days, & ONLY considering the weaker brother (or sister) in such debatable or disputable matters. It does not relate to the clear instructions of the Bible concerning how we should meet & our practice as the Body of Christ when we do. The restrictions of Government do NOT trump the commands of God in the Bible. Romans 13 regarding obeying Governments similarly does not mean we should disobey our Lord’s commands. Sadly that has been happening throughout the Covid crisis, and churches & ministers have been failing to give clear leadership on this, preferring to obey & fear man & Covid, instead of fearing the Lord & obeying Him which is the beginning of wisdom, fear of man being a snare.

  18. Would Jesus wear a mask? I haven’t a clue yet is it the correct question to ask.

    Masks do not work. If they did the virus would be on the way out. We’ve lived with them mandatory everyday everywhere for over a year, only recently relaxed outside if no one around. I hate them as they affect me in many ways.

    Lockdowns do not work. Distancing, you name it we’ve had it and still the virus is here with the various mutants. Many reports say that those countries, states who kept going with minimum disruption have fared better than draconian measures.

    What about researching across the board and making informed decisions according to conscience and by prayer? One may be directed to take the jab, another not. We are all different, one size does not fit all in health or anything else.

    As for jabbing, it is still in experimental stage, many deaths and severe reactions. Just check the various reporting sites. VAERS, EU, UK Yellow Card prove this and these only report a very small number in relation to jabs given.

    The CDC is saying that the delta variant is transmitted by fully jabbed as well as unjabbed. Wanting more info on how the jab trials work out is not being an anti-vaxxer, I call it being sensible and Christians should know better. We are called to make informed decisions and the only leader we follow slavishly is Jesus.

    Israel and Gibralter the two most vaccinated countries in the world are seeing increases in cases and deaths but the jabs are wonderful and work! I am sorry but how is that. In the US there have been more deaths in about 4 months this year than in the previous 15 years or so before. They stopped jabbing for SARS some years ago after about 25 deaths and yet these far exceed then.

    These scientists appear to be making it all up as they go along. Blind leading the blind springs to mind. Not believing the SAGE group or others and wanting to explore other media does not make one a conspiracy theorist, interestingly these so called ‘conspiracy theories’ are being proven to be true!

    Here is Spain the so called scientific team the government was working with and being advised by didn’t exist, all lies. Plus Portugal recently was forced by a Supreme Court judge to reveal the true numbers of those who died by covid, the Portuguese authorities said 17,000 the true number was 157! We should be discerning the times not acting like the walking dead all around us.

    My pastor and his wife are both double jabbed because they want to be able to travel and visit family in the UK, but they won’t tell the congregation what to do. We do observe the legal dictates for meeting. Most of the reasons for taking the jab when you ask is purely for being able to travel and socialise, seldom hear that the reason is for health. People honestly believe they have immunity from covid if jabbed which of course is not true.

    Paranoia reigns supreme however this is not about a virus but a greater global issue, this is just the catalyst for the WEF ‘Building Back Better’ project ahead.

    Jesus is Sovereign and that’s what counts. Maranatha.

    1. Jacqueline, Jesus obeyed the law fully but your comments verge on breaking the commandment not to kill. Sweeping statements that vaccines, lockdowns, etc do not work are dangerous misinformation. If you knew anyone who had died from covid you might speak differently. It’s one thing to have a discussion on the relative effectiveness of masks – and the possible downsides of wearing them – it’s another thing to be so dismissive of measures to protect human life.

      1. Tom, ‘on the verge of breaking the commandment not to kill’ is that not rather a sweeping statement in itself with a tinge of emotional balckmail….so if someone dies of the virus then because I question the accuracy of the information that is constantly beating us into a life of fear then I am responsible for death? Is not the number of a person’s days in God’s hands? If not then He is not sovereign.
        Being honest and to the point is not being dismissive in the slightest but looking for what is true is important. Yet how can searching for the truth and not believing all that this fed to us by the media and governments be breaking the commandment to kill. Do you know I am willfully breaking the laws in place here because I am not.
        What is science but knowledge that is observed and my observation and research shows that most of these policies in practice are not working. Show me where they are working?Prove that it is misinformation.
        Recently I read that a residential home in Madrid were double jabbed yet only months later about 48, more than half had the virus with more than 20 very ill in hospital and one or two died. Spain has had one of the longest and toughest lockdowns, so why has the virus not run its course? My issue is with the propaganda and the tragedy is that many people have caught the virus in hospital for other things and the elderly have been neglected. Don’t tell me I don’t care. It is because I do care.
        I am dismissive of the so called experts driving the fear campaign.
        The side effects of the jabs are serious and very real. I have done much reading on this and anyone, doctors, scientists etc who contradict the ‘official’ line are silenced and we should not be doing that.
        My husband (a heathen) was visiting a customer recently and she asked him if he had the jab, he said no, not for the moment and her response was ‘not ever’ as she believed it killed her healthy father not long before, is she wrong, is that misinformation? What about the serious health issues now appearing in those who have been vaccinated, medical staff saying they are seeing things not the norm, what about the NHS in England now increasing their purchase of anticoagulants by a staggering amount of money, why?
        It is for everyone to decide for him/herself and not to be coerced/blackmailed as is currently the case.
        s

      2. Yes, if someone dies because we wilfully disregard medical advice then we bear some responsibility. It would be the same if we choose to break the speed limit or not wear a seat belt. If the government tells me lockdowns or vaccines work then I need to be very very sure they don’t before I disregard that. My own experience here in Northern Ireland is that every time we’ve had a lockdown numbers of cases and deaths fall and every time restrictions are eased they rise. You raise some concerns about other countries which may or may not valid but suspecting something is not the same as certainty. However, as you’ve said, you’re not breaking the law so at least you can say your conscience is clear in that regard. Everyone I know who has been vaccinated did it to protect themselves and others – not so that they could travel. I know some people who were concerned about the very rare cases of clotting with the Astra Zeneca vaccine but now we have a choice of vaccine here so there is no real excuse. Perhaps the situation is different with you

  19. I think it was Lewis who said the advice ‘Be good, sweet maid, and let who can be clever’ should be ‘Be good, sweet maid, and don’t forget that involves being as clever as you can’. It’s good to assume the best of people, but corruption exists in every field of human life and following the money trail can often be illuminating. Is anyone making a great deal of money from covid? Is it in anyone’s interests for the pandemic to be as big and bad as possible? Has a particular entity ever hurt people for money before? In my view, God should be the object of our childlike faith, not politicians, funding-dependent medical researchers or profit-driven corporations, because these are often emeshed in relationships of mutual benefit which are not transparent to the public at all.

  20. I remembered this discussion when I saw this view by Professor Tim Spector of King’s College London.
    https://covid.joinzoe.com/post/why-still-wear-masks-covid

    The data we have is not that ‘little’. Double-blind randomised trials are not the only kind of scientific evidence. The weight of the evidence is clearly pointing one way.

    The doctors you have spoken to, David, may not have been fully informed, or fully up to date? Surely it is better to take the opinion of experts who make it their job to keep up with the studies, like Dr Tim Spector.

    1. You pays your money and you takes your choice (epidemiologists). There are epidemiologists and others who disagree about the effectiveness of masks. Given that it is an aerosol disease your normal cloth masks do not stop the spread. SAGE had them as having a 5% effectiveness in preventing the wearer getting covid and a 20% effectiveness in preventing spread. There was a reason the WHO recommended against using masks (except the highest quality in medical situations) – not least the false sense of confidence they bring thus affecting the most effective measure – social distancing. The data we have is very little – until we have proper randomised trials – it is largely speculation and guesswork….One fact is clear though – no country has eradicated or prevented Covid through wearing facemasks….the reason the Scottish government want to keep them (whilst getting rid of social distancing) is simply psychological control and politics. Nothing to do with ‘the science’ – which they refuse to publish!

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