I am so tired of Christians talking about the vaccine and politics and the so-called biblical response to the pandemic and its lunacy. One specific thing that wears me out is the use of the acronym “COVID”.
Did you know the writings that comprise the Bible contain precisely zero acronyms? In meteorological lingo, this mean acronyms are a zero-chance event in the Bible, much like rain on a cloudless afternoon.
Now, the men who preach the Bible today, should, on some level, believe they are called by the LORD to speak his words. On some level, they believe they are speaking divine utterances—not to be added to recorded scripture—but holy/separate speech nonetheless. And so one clear way I use to discern whether the preacher is actually called, or more to the point, whether his sermons contain divine truth, is his use of acronyms.
With this discernment tool, I have found myself stressing to friends and family (in my efforts to test-the-waters of preaching and see how it might look in my future), “People don’t die of COVID. They die because they can’t breathe. We all need to just tell the truth. Do you see how this actually makes you feel different?” I then really rev my engines and continue, “If you say ‘people are dying because they cannot breathe’ then the response at once changes from, ‘we’re in a pandemic,’ or, ‘well, were they vaccinated?’ to, ‘That sounds horrible. Were they in pain?’ And the like. Do you see? There’s an instant humanity-element added. It’s like hopping in a car and heading directly to the room of the diseased person’s grieving family members if we simply lose the acronym. ‘Died of COVID’. Puuh. They died because they couldn’t breathe anymore.”
Okay. So I wanted to likewise sound off this kind of thinking on this blog, but I knew that I was partially talking outta my arse. And so I then took to Chrome with a search of, “how do people die from COVID?” in order to be sure I wasn’t too far off the beaten path.
You should try to find the answer yourself. That’s my first recommendation. It’s actually a tricky “search” to process. Most results are about “how many people die of COVID?” and not our question pertaining to particulars. In any case, see for yourself. Learning facts is important. We’re all altering our entire life over an acronym and we should at least know what the trouble actually is.
Truth be told, before I searched for this question, I searched for “how do people die of AIDS?” The savvy reader may see what my mind was doing. I was taking one acronym and clarifying how “it” (AIDS) was used in our vocabulary and killing people, and then seeing if the answer would help me here.
Short answer: AIDS kills indirectly. Just as we all always have known. You don’t run out of breath from AIDS, you run out of breath from some other disease that was able to take such drastic effect in your defenseless body because AIDS had removed your body’s defenses. And of course with AIDS we’re not just talking breathing problems.
Is COVID the same? In short: no. COVID kills someone by an oxygen problem. Given the many ways the body/blood interact with oxygen and need oxygen, the death may be any number of things. Maybe you can’t breathe, maybe your heart stops, or many any number of other organ failures occur. (This is a very general, but accurate, summary.) So let’s go back to Bible times.
Any available pool of men from which to choose to write the books that became the Bible didn’t know—couldn’t possibly have known—how air is something that can be further subdivided. There was air, there was no air, and then there was probably “bad air”.
(Stick with me. I’m driving it home soon.)
So the authors of our text could not have said, “It’s a lack of oxygen” that killed him. It’s not that the Hebrew/Greek didn’t have a word for oxygen, it’s that that level of knowledge of life on earth and the physical atmosphere was years off from being discovered. Nobody, not in any language, had a word for the particular element we mean by the word oxygen.
I imagine if they were around death a lot, they could tell the difference between what we may call “couldn’t breathe” and “heart attack”, because the obvious symptoms are considerably different. But they certainly couldn’t see (certainly couldn’t communicate) that a “heart attack” driven by lack of “oxygen” was different from a “heart attack” driven by a blockage that a two-thousand year later “cath lab” could’ve cleared right up.
Reader, pay attention here. My post’s question has altered at this point. It’s not, “How would the Bible’s authors describe COVID deaths?” (Answer: they couldn’t do it), it’s now, “Would the Bible’s authors have thought we were in the midst of a pandemic (plague-type situation)?”
And this question need not be answered by me here. My belief is that it need be answered by you, faithful breather.
What to do?
Take away the acronym. It’s certainly uninspired, and it definitely contributes to inhumane living conditions. It may even be obscuring the truth. But that’s for you to decide; that’s for us to decide as oxygen needing people. (Or do we just need air?)
(Let us pray.)