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TIE GHANA

Opinion: Where Is God In The Face Of The Onslaught Of The COVID-19 Pandemic?  

 A RELIGIO-SOCIO-PHILOSOPHICAL REFLECTION ON THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC
By: JAMES KWAME DUNYO (A SOCIAL COMMENTATOR AND PROLIFIC WRITER)
March 20, 2020
Somewhere in December last year (2019), the world woke up to the devastating news of the advent of a novel disease, the Coronavirus (COVID-19), precisely in a sub-provincial city in central China, Wuhan, capital of Hubei Province.
Since that time till now, dozens have lost their lives while thousands battle with the disease in centres where they are being quarantined and isolated from further contacts with the yet unaffected masses.
Quite surprisingly, things took a nosedive when the novel virus overstepped its supposed ‘boundaries‘, with other countries, besides China, confirming fresh cases by the day.
Fear has gripped all humanity as the intelligentsia of society, technology gurus and heavyweights, science bigwigs, health magnates, and magnificent economies keep kowtowing to the virus.
For the meantime, and rightly so, many drastic measures have been put in place to arrest and forestall the further spread of the disease, with the health mogul, World Health Organization (WHO), declaring it a pandemic, to wit, a worldwide tragedy!
While prayers are being offered again and again for diverse Coronavirus-related petitions and intentions, we reflect on what this pandemic attack holds for us, as common humanity, a people of God, and a rational, intelligent race and specie.
From a structural-functionalist perspective (of Sociology), we can say this pandemic is functional.
It has made us cower into our shells. Those of us who think we are mighty, intelligent, indispensable, and immortal, now know that money, wealth, fame, intelligence, and beauty are nothing before one ‘simple’ ‘virus’.
The pandemic reminds all and sundry that science and technology has limits! It also reminds us of the Ubuntu African Philosophy which postulates that we are all connected in one way or another: a Chinese problem becomes an international headache all of a sudden! We are social beings.
We cannot do without one another. We are woven together and intertwined. We must always put communal interest over and above individual parochial interests.
From a religious perspective, we are sure to affirm God’s existence by this. Quite bizarrely, some who contracted the disease have recovered while others have not (forget the ‘weak and strong immune system argument’).
This shows that there is an Upper Hand, higher than Science (Medicine) that does whatever It wills, in obvious defiance of the very laws of Science. That is God. As to why he chose to heal some and leave the others, we leave it to Him, because Sacred Scripture repeats time and again that His ways and plans are not human ways and plans, and vice versa.
Reflecting on the etymology of ‘coronavirus’, one realizes that the term ‘corona’ is the Italian (Latin) and Spanish word for ‘crown’. Little wonder, because of the crown-like projections on the surface of this virus, it has been christened ‘corona-virus’. Interestingly, the Italian word for Rosary (a string of beads used by some Christians in prayer) is the same ‘corona’ (crown).
Accruing from the above, one sure way of fighting the ‘Corona’ (virus) is by using the ‘Corona’ (Holy Rosary) or any other form of religious prayer. Orthodox Christians should take up their rosaries.
Muslims should take up their misbahas (prayer beads). Adherents of Buddhism, Hinduism, Shintoism, Jainism, and Sikhism should take up their malas (prayer beads). All these are ‘corona’s and are a sure means of ceasing the power of the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Adherents of the Rastafari Movement can identify with their messiah, Emperor Haile Selassie, who said, “Throughout history, it has been the inaction of those who should have acted, the indifference of those who should have known better and the silence of the voice of justice when it mattered most that have made it possible for evil to triumph… And when that happens, as Prophets we stand answerable before God.”
Yes, the monarch is right! We are answerable to God, not vice versa. God owes us no explanations whatsoever. Some schools of thought have it that the coronavirus, like other viruses, was created by humans (the Conspiracy Theory), obviously in the sight of other humans who kept silent. If that is anything to go by, and truth be told, our wicked silence in the face of evil is what is catching up with us, using the COVID-19 disaster as a conduit.
In Cosmology (Philosophy), all humans are always advised against destroying nature with our modern technological advancements. All these fell on deaf ears, and the rippling effect is coming in this pandemic. Maybe God wants us to see how painful it is to Him when we too destroy animal and plant life without pity and with impunity.
These are the hard lessons we will have to learn. Our evil has caught up with us, and we will have to jerk our knees in prayer asking the Author of All Things to temper justice with mercy.
Some philosophers will make us believe evil is a privation of the good. To wit, nothing evil (not even the Corona-Evil) was created by God who declared all creation good, at the very beginning.
This means, intelligent human beings created in the Good God’s image and likeness, and endowed with free will and reason, have abused these privileges of God. We have used the freedom and rationality to destroy even ourselves.
As to why an all-knowing God gave frail humans freedom and reason when He knew they would exploit it, it is simple! God knew but wanted to give us the chance to prove otherwise. He would have curtailed our freedom, making us robots, but out of love, he chose otherwise!
As for the ones who have died, are dying, or will die via this devilish epidemic, we can only commit their souls to God. How and why He created them, we do not know. How then can we know why He has taken them back? He is free to do whatever He wills. We can only say, “God, please, we have learnt our lesson. Forgive us and spare our lives.”
Source: Dunyo Kwame James.
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