As the COVID pandemic rages on, it is easy to get discouraged. We are weary of the restrictions and the debates. It is easy to check out. Yet right now COVID is the leading cause of death for people ages 35 to 54 and the second leading cause of death for people ages 25-34. The best and fastest way to prevent these deaths and end the pandemic is through vaccination. Yet despite the vaccine being available for months, many have not yet taken even the first dose. It is easy to become resigned, figuring that people won’t change their minds at this point.
Sadly, white evangelical Christians are the least likely to be vaccinated. As a Christian, I grieve that so many of my fellow believers have not taken advantage of the vaccine. As of August, only 57% of white evangelicals were vaccinated, compared to 90% of atheists. One of the saddest stories I heard in the last few months was from a hospital nurse, telling how her COVID patients—those about to be put on a ventilator—begged her for the vaccine. She had to explain to them that it was too late.
Yet it is not too late for millions of others. If you haven’t been vaccinated yet, now is an excellent time! Maybe you have been concerned about the rapid development of the vaccine or about the side effects, and you wanted to wait and see. Good news—the Pfizer vaccine has been fully approved by the FDA, which means it has met the highest standards for demonstrating safety and effectiveness. Moreover, all of the vaccines have proven abundantly effective in the real world: of those now hospitalized and dying, the vast majority are unvaccinated. The vaccine does have some risks—you’ll likely be tired and sore for a day or two and there is a small risk you’ll have more severe side effects. But the risks of COVID are much worse. Even for pregnant women and nursing moms, vaccination is far less risky than getting COVID. Most of all, the vaccine is an answer to our prayers to end the pandemic, a way that God has provided for us to protect us from this disease. We should never trust science instead of God, but we can trust science as a gift from God.
To find a location near you to get your free vaccine, visit vaccines.gov (no health insurance is required).
If you’ve already been vaccinated, you probably have loved ones, fellow church members, or extended family who haven’t been vaccinated. Thankfully, research shows that many vaccine-hesitant people are willing to change their minds! People don’t change their minds from hearing one magic-bullet argument. Rather, people change their minds when they hear good information and compelling stories, repeatedly, from multiple sources, especially from sources they trust. That means we can all help. As Christians, we all have networks into communities of fellow believers who have resisted vaccination. Someone who would resist hearing about vaccines from a secular scientist or a government mandate may be open to hearing it from a fellow believer they trust, who can explain about vaccines in Christian terms. And sometimes someone just needs a ride to a pharmacy or a friend to watch the kids while they get the shot.
We should never trust science instead of God, but we can trust science as a gift from God.
BioLogos has developed several resources to help you share accurate information on vaccination, from a fully Christian perspective. Here are two great ones to start with:
- “Should Christians get vaccinated?” Our Common Question on vaccination has already been viewed 350,000 times. I encourage you to read it (or read it again) to remind yourself of the best arguments you can make, and to share the link with others.
- “Love your Neighbor: A Christian Statement on Science for Pandemic Times.” Our statement has now been signed by over 8000 people, including many prominent Christian leaders. Signers come from different denominations, different parts of the country, and different political parties, yet agree that masks and vaccination are ways to love our neighbors. When you share this with someone, point to the signers they know and trust.
Most of all, share stories. Many times, what changes hearts and minds is a story rather than scientific information. Tell them why you decided to get vaccinated. Were you hesitant, and if so, what changed your mind? Why did you do it as a Christian? Maybe you got the shot so you could celebrate a birthday with a grandparent without fear of giving them the disease. Maybe you overcame your fear of needles because you wanted to avoid the Long Covid “brain fog.” Maybe you didn’t want to spread COVID to the children in your congregation who can’t be vaccinated yet. Maybe you did it for a nurse from your church, so that her hospital would not be overwhelmed with more COVID cases.
Let us not lose heart. God has heard our prayers for relief from the pandemic and provided safe vaccines that work. Because of our faith in Jesus Christ, let us love our neighbors by getting the shot and wearing masks in public places, and encouraging others to do the same. Let us follow Christ by speaking the truth and countering misinformation. And let us follow Christ in compassion, working for justice and caring for the sick, sacrificing ourselves for the sake of others.
Dear BioLogos reader ...
In the escalating vitriol in our culture, “science” and “faith” have found each other on opposite sides of a polarized divide. Truth and community are under attack.
If there is one thing the pandemic has shown us, it is what science can and cannot do. Scientists and doctors have done amazing things during the pandemic—identified the virus, treated the disease, and developed safe vaccines that work.
But in these polarized times, science can’t reduce anger, forgive sins, build mutual respect, or fill us with compassion for others.
Science alone can’t give us hope. Faith can. Join BioLogos today in reaching a world desperate for hope. Your tax-deductible donation will be the difference between someone encountering misinformation, or a thoughtful, truthful, and hopeful Christian perspective that shows faith and science working hand in hand.
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At BioLogos, “gracious dialogue” means demonstrating the grace of Christ as we dialogue together about the tough issues of science and faith.