Musings on the Mask

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Taylor Sexton

Puritan Board Junior
Certainly Nero viewed himself in a godlike way - was Paul "worshipping" him when he said to submit? I don't believe you think this, of course, but it points to the potential dangers of your comment. Obeying the government - whether a king, a tyrant, a governor, or a president - is our duty as Christians. It's as simple as that. Disagree, dissuade regarding the rationale, but do not disobey (provided obedience does not require disobedience to God).
“Potential dangers” only if taken absolutely, I suppose. But I never said obedience to the government per se is state worship. Of course it’s not. My comment has a context, brother; please read it accordingly. You can’t tell me the way many people have been behaving since February—treating the government and health organizations as practically infallible saviors, with “science” as their holy book, waiting eagerly for their commandments and pining after their blessing in granting salvation in the form of “phases”—isn’t worship.
 

kainos01

Puritan Board Senior
“Potential dangers” only if taken absolutely, I suppose. But I never said obedience to the government per se is state worship. Of course it’s not. My comment has a context, brother; please read it accordingly. You can’t tell me the way many people have been behaving since February—treating the government and health organizations as practically infallible saviors, with “science” as their holy book, waiting eagerly for their commandments and pining after their blessing in granting salvation in the form of “phases”—isn’t worship.
My only intended interaction was with that aspect of your comment that referred to "compliance" as if that is a bad thing. Certainly, other elements of people's behavior may well rise to the level of false "worship"; however, obedience (or, "compliance") is consistent with true worship of God who commands such obedience.
 

Joshua

Administrator
Staff member
. . . is consistent with true worship of God who commands such obedience.
Brother Steve, isn't this the very principle being discussed? i.e. - may the magistrate command this matter, especially according to state and federal laws on the books? The emergency powers that are being employed seem quite a stretch and -even with the most charitable interpretation- are based on very specious and contradictory grounds, even amongst "experts." Even if Doctors were fully agreed, they are not our elected magistrates, and should not be able to drive legislation or "emergency powers." There is more to "living" than protecting the life of every person without exception from one single threat. Starvation is an issue. Suicide is an issue. Other diseases are an issue. Commerce is an issue. So on, so forth.
 

retroGRAD3

Puritan Board Freshman
That's true as a general principle - God has done that and, no doubt, will do so in the future. But, is it true in every single instance? Put another way, is there warrant for absolutizing Romans 1.18 and similar passages? Seems like you're not leaving God any wiggle room to apply His principles to specific instances or not, depending on His sovereign decision. Don't forget Acts 17.30, where Paul states that God had "overlooked the times of ignorance" (CSB). So, there have been times when God, for His own perfect reasons, was willing to not apply Romans 1.18 in all places and at all times.
I don't think that Acts passage works here. Keep reading...
 

Tom Hart

Puritan Board Senior
In South Korea, one of the countries first affected as the coronavirus pandemic spread out from China, transmission of the virus has been relatively low. The number of dead is also considerably lower than in other countries, though that is due, I think, to a combination of factors (ie. efficient (if rather invasive) patient tracking, hospitals up to the task, the experience with the MERS outbreak, etc.).

Masks were common before the current outbreak; now they are ubiquitous. Perhaps the low virus transmission rates are coincidental.

Quite early on, however, it was acknowledged that the virus spreads via saliva. Saliva, after all, comes from the mouth, and one would think that covering that mouth might just do something to stop saliva spraying all over the place.

Maybe not, though. After all, the experts have changed their tune haven't they? Canada's chief medical official, Theresa Tam, recommended against mask-wearing in the early days of the pandemic, even saying that masks would be likely to make things worse. Then, a month or so later, she and her crew did an about face, with no acknowledgment of error.

Well, the science around here hasn't changed. We've been urged (not required) to wear masks from the start.

Some here are asking why we should wear masks if we don't even feel sick. I had thought the answer rather obvious, but here it is. This virus is said to spread even from people who are asymptomatic. If you don't want to wear a mask, I don't think anyone can force you to, but please don't act as though it's unreasonable to wear one.

But do masks even work? Some say yes, some say no. I recognize that we can't trust the so-called experts or media. But I'd prefer to err on the side of caution. Again, it seems most sensible to expect that masks will help prevent the spread of the virus through saliva.

But most cases are mild anyway, aren't they? Well, plenty of people are dying, and by now I've heard enough unpleasant cases that I'd rather be careful. Better safe than sorry. I don't know about you, but I have family and friends that I'd rather not see get this sickness. If by wearing a mask there's a chance, however slim, of reducing their exposure to sickness, I'll gladly wear one.

If you think your rights are being trampled by being required to wear a mask in public, I would be inclined to side with you (although I do think that a requirement to wear a mask on public transit is entirely within reason).

I do not believe that governments have a right to shutter places of Christian worship. Nor is it their business to mandate mask-wearing. I think they should only be offering recommendations. I am not sure about fines and arrests. That seems to me to have the potential to go too far. Certainly, Western goverments are overreaching.

I also think that opening megachurches where no one wears a mask is just inviting trouble.

I will continue to wear a mask as a reasonable and responsible course of action, and, even though it is uncomfortable a lot of the time (it's well over 30°C every day, and the humidity is quite difficult to bear even without a mask). I do it also out of respect for my neighbours. Along with keeping my hands clean, it's really the least I can do.
 

Logan

Puritan Board Junior
Some here are asking why we should wear masks if we don't even feel sick. I had thought the answer rather obvious, but here it is. This virus is said to spread even from people who are asymptomatic. If you don't want to wear a mask, I don't think anyone can force you to, but please don't act as though it's unreasonable to wear one.
Hey Tom, I think the reason being given is quite clear to everyone: some people may be asymptomatic (last estimate I saw was somewhere around 16%) so if you can't ensure you know all the people who are sick, you treat them all as sick.

The problem many have, is that we never do this for anything other sickness. Never do we ask apparently healthy people to act as though they are sick, even if it is possible they could be. And as of last estimate, only about 1 in 1,000 are sick at any given time, in a population of ~330M. So, for example, in the US say there are possibly 50,000 people across the US who are asymptomatic. To combat that, we are talking about mandating that 329,950,000 people should wear masks, with evidence that the masks we are recommending are as bad as 5% effective. Seems inefficient to say the least.

But on top of that, in the States it has become a highly politicized topic, unfortunately, so there are very heated discussions, with this becoming more of an ideological statement (on either side) than an informed one. It's gotten to the point where many people will wear a completely ineffective mask (e.g., knitted scarf, with valves, or a single-layer stretchy gaiter), yet feel superior while doing it. It's gone very irrational.

I wear a mask in public too because I'm not convinced of the evidence one way or the other...but I'm in complete sympathy both with those who do, and with those who don't.
 

alexandermsmith

Puritan Board Junior
From the Article:

The campaign to eliminate this current disease, and others, plays upon this deceit and desire on the part of fallen man for an illicit peace and security in this life, apart from a Savior, or another savior in place of the true. In the push to eradicate a disease (placing the best construction on the actions of our civil and health officials) we have trusted in means, made false promises, overreached in the exercise of civil power, and all apart from a sound reliance upon the Lord, calling upon His Name, in national repentance from sins. Truly, our response, in the main, has been to rest upon even these overreaching and excessive means in the quest to eradicate a disease that the Lord has brought upon us for our sins, rather than humbly to submit to His Word and His Law, and cry out to Him in repentance for civil, societal, and national sins, seeking relief from the only One who is able to give it.​

Read the full article here, if so inclined: https://www.christcovenantrpc.org/resources/articles/musings-on-the-mask/
A really excellent article on the current situation. Thanks for posting.
 

Joshua

Administrator
Staff member
I can appreciate, as with Brother Tom above, that folks wear it out of respect for neighbours, etc. He is in a unique position wherein masks were already "a thing," and such would only be heightened by much of the hype surrounding COVID19. The point of the paper above is with regard to the magistrates' sphere, the propriety of compulsion of wearing masks according to 6th Commandment duties in coronabacle context, and the propriety of folks expecting such in a worship service in the coronabacle context. None of this is a command in the opposite direction for folks who desire to wear masks whether they may do so or not. Christians have a duty not to judge the a person for wearing a mask, imputing to them unnecessarily "sheep"ness without some kind of clear evidence with regard thereto. That knife of no-judgment, however, cuts both ways.
 

alexandermsmith

Puritan Board Junior
All this is true. I guess my larger point was that God is more subtle in the way He works than we give Him credit for, sometimes. It is He who determines how His judgments are carried out, and where, when, and upon whom. Romans 1.18, etc. provide the general principle. How God carries out that principle is His prerogative and, for His own reasons, He often mixes mercy with the judgment.
It's certainly true we have Scriptural warning against assuming a link between very specific tragedies and specific sins of the particular persons affected by said tragedies. But as has already been mentioned: the nature of the current situation, which has affected even the public worship of God, would seem by all Scriptural and logical analysis to be a judgment on the unrighteousness of the nations (and of the visible church). And it is also consistent with how the church has interpreted plagues throughout its history to see it as such.
 
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