I suspect many religious people are wondering where God is amid the current pandemic. Theodicy (explaining the suffering of the innocent while defending the goodness of the Divine) has always been the bête noire of monotheistic belief systems. (Polytheism has the advantage of always being able to blame another god.) People have been pointing articles out to me that show the religious implications of a crisis. I’m not at all surprised by the irrationality of the subjects. The first article was an opinion piece in the New York Times. It makes a good case that the religious right paved the way for the COVID-19 contagion in the United States. The religious right is anti-science because they (wrongly) believe the Bible is a science book. Even a small dose of seminary could cure that ill. Katherine Stewart nevertheless makes a strong argument that the survivors of all of this will know whom to blame. Science denial is not the same as authentic religion.
The other news stories that arise are of evangelical leaders defying government bans or guidance, even when delivered by messiah Trump, to large gatherings. One of the main reasons for this is that said messiah kept saying the coronavirus was nothing to worry about. Only when re-election seemed unlikely with all the uneducated dead did he finally start issuing warnings to avoid such idiotic congregating. In the midst of it all, Jerry Falwell Junior (why did all these evangelists have to propagate?) decided to reopen Liberty University. No doubt confident that God will keep them from any harm, the university officials decided it would be good to gather students from all over the country and put them together in dorms again. If you’ve ever lived in a dorm I’m sure you can see why the decision is anything but wise.
It’s sad that evangelicalism has decided to pander to the uneducated. You can believe in Jesus (many mainstream Christians do) without parking your rationality in the farthest parking spot from the door. Many of us, huddled in our houses, not having seen other living people for days, are trying to isolate this thing and drive it to extinction. Meanwhile, those who trust their own version of the supernatural are doing whatever they can to ensure the virus continues to spread. Why? They have long been taught that science isn’t real. Never mind that their cell phones work and they get the news of open dorms through the internet, the science behind it all is bunk. An entire executive branch administration that doesn’t believe in science is as sure a road to apocalypse as any.