One thing that impacts an apologetic program like ours is the attitude that evidence doesn’t count. We have seen that with COVID-19 during the past year. Some people are selective in whether they will accept the evidence or if they will ignore the evidence.
Nearly everybody in this country has, for many years, trusted the medical establishment. When we break a bone or have cancer, we go to a doctor or hospital. Most of us go to the medical establishment for problems such as arthritis, gastrointestinal issues, tetanus shots, and any number of pain issues. When the coronavirus pandemic began, many people chose to ignore the evidence presented by the medical establishment. As people started to die from the virus and hospitals were overrun, some people believed the whole pandemic was a hoax. Now that there are vaccines, people choose not to trust them.
This attitude of choosing to ignore the evidence if it inconveniences us has caused many people to reject God. I remember vividly when a young man came up to me after a lectureship at Purdue University. He said, “I can’t argue with anything you presented in your lecture, and I know the evidence for the existence of God is huge, but I’m not about to quit sleeping with my girlfriend.” That attitude has produced a society that promotes “survival of the fittest” and refuses to consider any possibility they should follow the Christian lifestyle.
The sad thing is the result of all this. I have friends who have lost a child, a parent, or a close friend and who stand there weeping as they say, “Why did this have to happen?” It didn’t have to happen!! How many of us are going to say as we stand in judgment before God and say, “Why do I have to spend eternity separated from God and everything good?” It doesn’t have to happen!! In Matthew 25:41-46, Jesus paints a picture of that very situation, and He simply reminds those who are lost that they refused to accept the evidence for God in the things they saw around them during their life.
Many years ago, the daughter of a friend of mine had a severe reaction to a vaccination that left her brain-damaged and physically incapacitated. Many of the family’s friends refused to have their children vaccinated because of this. Several of the children contracted diseases that vaccines have could have prevented. In 1998 there was great concern about whether the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine produced autism. Now with the drive to create a COVID-19 vaccine, people are saying they will refuse to use it. Refusing to use vaccines is bad science.
Many people who oppose vaccinations do so by saying that God designed the human body, and adding materials such as vaccines suggests that God’s work is not adequate. If we carry that idea to its logical conclusion, you would never use an antibiotic or any immune therapy. Parents have even refused to give insulin to a diabetic child with tragic results.
The starting point of rejecting vaccinations was a 1998 study by Dr. Andrew Wakefield. He claimed to prove that the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine had caused autism in children. Wakefield managed to get his research into a peer-reviewed medical journal. He appeared before congress and did a 60 Minutes TV show as well as several British TV shows. It turned out the Wakefield’s claimed study was a scam.
Special interests had paid Wakefield a large amount of money to find evidence they could use in a suit against vaccine manufacturers. The claimed autism evidence was faked. The problem was that the medical community did not follow scientific rules in analyzing Wakefield’s claims. Wakefield was stripped of his medical license because his research did not follow scientific methods and used none of the required safeguards for research of this kind.
Refusing to use vaccines is bad science. Vaccines stimulate the body to produce an immune response to defeat a selected virus. There is no substitute for what the body has built into it. Most of us take an aspirin or a vitamin pill to stimulate the body to solve a perceived problem. My old doctor used to say he never cured anyone of anything. He simply found ways to make the body solve a problem itself.
I have had a severe reaction to bee stings and hay fever reactions to alfalfa. I can take medications to stop those reactions, and without those medications, a bee could kill me. When I was a child, I had severe reactions to sulfa drugs, which threatened my life on one occasion. Any of us can react to a medication or a natural substance, and sometimes this reaction can kill us. My friends eventually lost their child to the reaction she had to the vaccine. It was a tragedy and brought great pain to them. Such an incident is rare, but it does happen.
We raised an adopted child whose biological mother had measles during her pregnancy. He is mentally challenged, blind from cerebral palsy, and wheelchair-bound. If his mother had taken the vaccine that killed my friend’s child, my son Tim would have had none of his problems. Refusing to use vaccines is bad science, and it can have dire consequences. I don’t know all the answers, but God has allowed us to have medical tools, and refusing to use them is not a solution.