Now that we’ve looked at some things that Christians ought not to do, let’s turn to what we can do to argue against vaccine passports and mandates.
Listen to the Experts
Generally, don’t use an argument that runs contrary to the general consensus of experts. We might not like what they are saying, but if 95% of the engineers say a bridge is unsafe to use, it’s probably unsafe to use, no matter how much I want to use it. You can always find another expert who disagrees with the general consensus. Where the interpretation of the data is more contentious, you can make one side or the other our own, but don’t declare it to be Truth–admit that there is still disagreement among the experts. Read articles from more neutral sources that offer both sides of the issue. If, after time and more data, your position eventually ends up going against the consensus of the experts, let it go.
Don’t get your information about anything from articles in your social media feeds.
Be honest with your use of statistics
In their argument against restrictions imposed on the unvaccinated, a group of Christian students used statistics to argue that the vaccines are more deadly than Covid-19.
This is of course a ridiculous assertion, but they were convinced of the veracity of this claim and offered the following statistics.
- There have been Canadian 67 deaths from Covid-19 among 20-29 year-olds between March 2020 and August 20, 2021.
- There have been 48 deaths among “university-age students” between December 2020-July 16, 2021. This data came from “Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) from December 2020-July 16, 2021 which [also] records: 620 cases of myocarditis and pericarditis (heart inflammation), 88 heart attacks, 263 reports of blood clotting disorders.”
It doesn’t take a degree in statistical analysis to see the problems with these statistics offered by the students. First, they compare the Covid deaths across 5 months with vaccine deaths is across 8 months. The time frame needs to be the same for a fair comparison. Second, the Covid-19 deaths involve victims falling within a ten-year age range, but supposed vaccination deaths involve the ambiguous “university-age students” which, in my mind is only a 4 or 5-year range. As bad as these errors are, this is just the beginning, The numbers for Covid-19 deaths come from Canada, the vaccine deaths from the USA. Given that the USA has a population 10 times the size of Canada, all things being equal, their numbers are probably off by a factor of 10.
But there’s an even bigger problem here. The VAERS is set up to help the CDC in the US to monitor any possible adverse side effects from all vaccines. Anyone and everyone is encouraged to report everything to the CDC. Doctors are required to report. So, if someone got vaccinated and three days later they drowned in a lake, the family doctor is required to report it to the VAERS. If someone has a heart attack, the doctor must report it to the VAERS. This does not mean that the drowning death or heart attack was caused by the vaccination. The CDC wants this data as a tool to uncover side effects. Anything that might be statistically significant is tested to see if there is a connection with the vaccine. This is exactly how the blood clotting questions came out. This reporting gave out numbers that prompted the testing of one of the vaccines and discovered that clotting occurs more frequently in those who catch covid than those who are vaccinated. The system worked.
The numbers from the VAERS do not indicate vaccination events. The numbers in the VAERS data, as used above, suggests drowning deaths as Covid deaths. They suggest all heart attacks after vaccination was caused by vaccination. I’m sure the students didn’t intend to claim this, but they inadvertently did. Use stats. But remember, like the Bible, they can be made to say anything you want.
Anticipate the Biblical arguments of the Christians you disagree with
Assume that Christians with whom you disagree have come to their position, not because they are suddenly in league with the devil, but because they have considered what scripture says and they believe that their conclusions are faithful to our Lord’s wishes.
On social media we find people using what is called the “strawman argument.” It’s when one presents the opposing argument in its weakest or most ridiculous form. This and similar approaches are off-limits for Christians. We need to contend for the truth with integrity.
To argue with integrity you need to honestly present the position of the opposition in its strongest form and then counter it with your superior argument. For instance: Christian leaders may be grounding their compliance with government rules on Romans 13:3-7 and 1 Peter 2:13-14. You need to explain the strength of this argument and then argue why these verses do not apply in the current situation. (I will do just this in the next section.)
It’s a bad idea to ignore this argument and it’s even worse to demean it.
Appeal to God’s Law is a higher law.
Having said all that, this is my main point. It is the one instance in which we can directly ignore or challenge the riles and restrictions of earthly authorities, the one instance in which we can demand our Christian leaders to take another way.
We are commanded to obey earthly authorities. That’s the bad news.
But the good news is that there are four exceptions found in the Bible:
You can defy those in authority over us if
- they instruct you not to pray (Daniel 6).
- they instruct you to stop sharing the gospel (Acts 4:17-20; 5:27-29; 5:40-42).
- they instruct you to kill someone (Exodus 1:15-21).
- they instruct you to engage in the worship of idols (Daniel 3).
If the authorities demand you stop praying, pray anyway. If they demand you to stop sharing the gospel, keep on sharing. If the authorities tell you to kill someone, just don’t. In these three situations, there is no need for public protests, or petitions, or even nasty emails.
However, for the last exception, there might be a possible legitimate reason for a public expression of indignation and disobedience. As discussed earlier, idol worship is common in our society. If we can show that government policies and restrictions are grounded in the worship of an idol, we can legitimately resist and disobey. Idol worship degrades the creatures made in God’s image as a good thing takes a higher position than the human being. If we are being asked to bow down to an idol, as we see in Daniel 3, we have a justification for our protests and petitions.
So, in the case of vaccine passports, etc., are we being asked to bow down to an idol?
If the answer is yes, we are on the right track. If the answer is no, we should either get the vaccine or decline the vaccination and accept the consequences.
Is the government saying that Freedom or Rights are more important than human lives in the case of vaccine passports? Is the government saying that the Economy is more important than human lives when they restrict unvaccinated students’ full participation in campus life? Is Pleasure more important than people? If the answer to these, or any question like them, is yes, then we can resist.
A big problem in making a case for this exception is that we are in the middle of a pandemic in which human lives are threatened. Asking, “Is the health of human beings being placed above human beings?” does not reveal an idol. The greatest of all dehumanizers is death so the case can be made that loving our neighbour means doing whatever we can to prevent them from catching the virus, even if that means we might have to make sacrifices. Sacrifices like getting vaccinated, or if not, like giving up our right to live in the dorms, go to a movie, or participate in sports.
Still, there might be something here to justify defiance, but unless there is an idol involved, it’s possible that we are being called to risk our lives (or, temporarily, our access to movies, restaurants, and student housing) out of love for other people.
If the vaccine passports and related restrictions don’t turn out to be unbiblical, don’t fret. There are plenty of other directions toward which we can direct our passions in fighting against injustices that may actually be idolatrous. The abortion issue has some possibilities. Perhaps helping fearful expectant mothers who feel they have no realistic alternatives to abortion. Racism is idolatrous at its core–we could direct our energy there. We could help people understand that the system where I get to buy a $10 t-shirt is propped up by a lot of people working for low wages under terrible conditions. If you are American, you can easily point out the dehumanization that has resulted in such high incarceration rates, or the idols that make it so difficult to put any limits on firearms.
These and causes like them, lack some of the natural appeals of affecting us directly, but channeling our passions and energies toward these has the advantage of not making us look so self-serving.