A lot of people are upset with all of the different churches continuing to congregate, despite all of the warnings and orders for them to stop. I'm not though. In fact, I encourage it. As long as they are quarantining afterward with whatever family they went to church with. Oh, and they can't take kids, but in reality, they shouldn't be indoctrinating children anyhow.
It's kind of like a Darwinian wet dream, in a way, but with disastrous aftermath. Survival of the fittest is a way of weeding out the weaker of the species, for sure but it isn't just the physical aspect. I think that if people are aptly warned by almost the entire medical and scientific community to stay away from each other and isolate themselves but they would rather believe in church science, then let them go and take their chances with the holy medicine of God.
The only problem with that is that they then go home, to work, or another large gathering of idiots that think this is just the flu and Jesus will not allow them to get sick.
The Catholic church is smart. They are telling folks to stay home and encouraging video worship. The thing I don't get is the church leaders that encourage people to come to church with 1000 of their friends and family. If you lead your flock to death's door, how will you keep the pews filled when this is all over? Do you think that religion's numbers are doing so well these days that you can afford to lose any of your members?
Guess who I think the smartest religious leader is. Yep, Joel Osteen. I don't think he believes in a god but I do know he believes in the prosperity bible and he knows that having dead parishioners isn't going to get him a new jet. He shut things down at Lakewood early in March. Don't worry though, you can still give at his online sermons.
The ones who are dying are mostly older than 45 and from what I understand, that is the majority of church members with the younger generations becoming less and less involved in any sort of organized religion. According to studies, anyhow. I wouldn't know from experience.
Given that church membership, and religiosity in general, is greater among older adults, the emergence of an increasingly secular generation to replace far more religious older generations suggests the decline in U.S. church membership overall will continue.
What I glean from researching for this article is pure speculation and it does go against a lot of my previous beliefs about most church leaders. I'm happy to know I can challenge my own perceptions just as I expect others to do. I had always thought that most leaders of religious congregations were just in it for the money and really didn't believe in a god. I mean, how could they, right?
Where my ideas break down here is the fact that you probably wouldn't knowingly lead your team of horses to a poisoned well. Especially if they were your main, or only, source of income. You see, this is where religion becomes different than government right now.
My government knows that losing even one percent of its constituents means astronomical loss, fiscally. Our healthcare system is funded by the government in one form or another so it is in their best interest to keep us as safe as possible, seeing as we are their only form of income. Us folks are the only reason we have a government that is able to sell our resources to the highest bidder so they aren't going to let us all just perish if they can help it at all.
So when I see religious leaders giving their followers advice that directly puts them in harm's way I have to wonder. Logically it makes no sense as they are the only reason the church is able to stay afloat and if they die then there is one less tithe that will be helping to keep the lights on. Tax-free status doesn't help when there is no income to tax.
This is what makes me think that I have been wrong all along and many of these people honestly believe that their god is up there looking out for them. This is huge. I'm not saying they should believe that but it makes me feel better to know that they aren't just evil people looking to get rich on the backs of the disillusioned masses that are paying their wages. I know that many of them still are evil but it's heartening to know that some are doing it from what they feel is a good place.
Some of them tell their followers that God will protect them from Covid-19 or that it is all blown out of proportion. Like this Bishop in Virginia who, if you read the article, did provide sanitizer and masks and tried to promote social distancing but still died from the virus:
Bishop Glenn held a church service on March 22 despite warnings about social distancing. During the sermon, he preached about not being afraid of death, telling the congregation, “I firmly believe that God is larger than this dreaded virus,” according to CBS affiliate WTVR.
(from this article)
Or the story about Pastor Landon Spradlin, who went to Mardi Gras to preach to people he felt needed it, despite the fact that everyone in the world was being warned about large gatherings of people. He died after spending eight days in intensive care.
Pastor Spradlin's son, Landon Isaac, 32, told me that he and his father had talked and agreed about what they felt was an irrational frenzy and fear mongering about the virus, perhaps because it was an election year. (from this article)
While I am not happy to know that anyone is losing their life, I do look at the facts of the matter when I can to deduce whether it was preventable or not and what measures were taken. If someone deliberately walks into danger after being warned of it, I have a hard time feeling bad for them. If they put their trust in an all-powerful being instead of an expert on the subject then they have gambled with their lives and I can't be upset with the result.
Church Of God In Christ (COGIC) has lost several of its Bishops and many more of the congregation. They are an international church with over six million members and dropping. You can read more about it here.
The COGIC story is particularly horrific because many lives were, and still are being, tragically lost. On the upside, it may have positive repercussions in the future. Not for the church, mind you, but for secular humanity as a whole.
I look at this from the perspective of an atheist who has no personal ties to any people that are breaking orders so that they can gather and worship. I'm sure you all have your own view and I hope to hear it. My thoughts are that with the dropping numbers of people in the churches and the ones that are still there dying off, as well as many of the leaders, we will see more churches closing down and merging together.
I also think that it isn't going to help when surviving members look back and see that their god did not protect the dead parishioners from a painful death and either didn't care enough to help or didn't want them
to live. I feel that there will be a lot of faith shaken by what is happening here, right now and that makes me feel sad but happy at the same time.
Happy because I feel that it will advance secular education and policy. It will probably free so many people that are faced with a choice between believing and being beaten, jailed or killed. There are also a lot of people that just don't want to disappoint their friends and family so I hope they get some peace as well.
Sad because that has to be a crushing feeling to find out what you believed for so many years was pointless. Their prayers have just as much chance of being heard or answered as my wish to ride a dragon into Narnia. I know many believers and they are faithful for the right reasons. They actually think their loved ones will be safe in heaven and that some loving, kind being is listening to their prayers. Well, after so many unanswered prayers, I can't imagine what it's like to finally come to grips that nobody is there to help you with them.
In the end, I have no clue whether any of this "prophecy" will come true but in my head, it seems right so I will run with it. Let me know what you think and sorry about the length of this. I know that not many people have eight minutes to use up reading my silly thoughts and I do appreciate you making it this far.