John Stonestreet is President of the Colson Center for Christian Worldview, and radio host of BreakPoint, a daily national radio program providing thought-provoking commentaries on current events and life issues from a biblical worldview. John holds degrees from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (IL) and Bryan College (TN), and is the co-author of Making Sense of Your World: A Biblical Worldview. The views expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent those of BCNN1.
As I argued yesterday on BreakPoint, the spread of the coronavirus is a brutal reminder of just how fragile humans are, a direct and uncomfortable challenge to our collective illusion of control. As it spreads, not only are individual lives threatened, but also the intricate and fragile web of global connections that fuel national and international economies. To ask God’s help in all of this shouldn’t be controversial at all.
That’s exactly what Vice-President Mike Pence decided to do. An official White House photo from February 26 captured the Vice-President and the Coronavirus Task Force opening their meeting with heads bowed in prayer. The photo, as they say nowadays, blew up the Internet, unleashing a tidal wave of “prayer shaming,” a term coined a couple of years ago to describe ridiculing people who dare offer their “thoughts and prayers” for the victims of tragedies like mass shootings.
One secular research website headlined the photo with this take: “Symbolic of the moral and intellectual decay at the White House, a photo shows Vice President Mike Pence and his team trying to pray away the coronavirus.” Pence and his team were “wallowing in ignorant superstition and willful ignorance,” the site continued, suggesting that Pence prays because he’s a “religious extremist.”
Another slant, this one from an out-and-proud atheist: “It’s not a joke when people say these Republicans are trying to stop a virus with prayer. What else did anyone expect? Science? Reason? Something sensible?”
One of the most viral tweets of the photo had this caption: “Mike Pence and his coronavirus emergency team praying for a solution. We are so [blanked].”
Never mind that every session of Congress begins with a prayer, as do thousands of public meetings across the country every day. Prayer is, for many today, politically unacceptable, seen as an affront to science, an obstacle to governance, and worst of all, a shameful admission that we are not in control of our own destinies.
Of course, that’s precisely the point of prayer. We are not in control. We think we are. We’ve made remarkable medical, scientific, and technological breakthroughs that have allowed us be less the victims of nature than societies in the past, but we do not control the world. The idea that we do, ironically, reveals the central belief of a technocratic worldview, one every bit as much an article of faith as any held by those who pray.
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Source: Christian Headlines