Lockdown: where does it come from?

I realise that what I have written today may well be controversial, but it has been weighing heavily on my mind and heart for some months now and so I venture to make it public. It is not my intention to upset or offend anyone. You may, of course, disagree with me, but that is something I am prepared to risk.

For the past several months, governments around the world have been engaged in what is effectively, though not necessarily intentionally, a massive social engineering experiment, depriving their citizens of various freedoms in the avowed intention of preventing the spread of Covid-19. There is, of course, no way of confirming or denying that their actions have been successful in achieving this aim. It is, to say the least, remarkable that governments of all descriptions have employed the same strategy and that it was done with such rapidity. And having enjoyed such a heady draught of absolute power, how reluctant will governments be to relinquish it, even in so-called democracies? Now we are beginning to hear calls for world government in order to tackle such pandemics (and climate change, and soon, I dare say, racism as well). According to the WHO, greater control is needed. It is not my intention to propound a conspiracy theory nor to accuse governments of deliberate evil. Neither do I wish to make light of the effects – mental or physical – on people who have suffered as a result of the virus or the lockdowns. Rather my contention is that these lockdowns themselves are evil, both in origin and in effects.

How can I make such a claim? Consider first the words of the Lord in Genesis 1:26: Let us make man in our image, according to our likeness. So all human beings bear something of the image of God, marred and spoiled by sin but still his image. What does that mean?

I will begin with the fact that there is one God, yet three Persons. Within the Godhead those Persons – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – relate to one another. God is a relational God; made in his image, we too are created to relate to others. Lockdown prevents this – or, as my non-Christian neighbour remarked to me, we are forced to behave in ways which are contrary to how human beings are made.

God is a compassionate God. We too are intended to show compassion to others. Lockdown prevents this. I know the slogan commanded us to ‘Stay home, Save lives, Protect the NHS’ which might, just possibly, sound compassionate. One could, I suppose, say there was some success in this strategy, since the NHS was not by any means overwhelmed – at the height of admissions to hospital for Covid-19 the NHS was operating, I understand, at around 40% of normal capacity. But at what cost? How much compassion was shown by the policy of sending elderly people with Covid-19 to care homes where they would inevitably infect the very group we were, quite accurately, told was most vulnerable to the infection? How much compassion was (is) there in denying medical treatment – indeed, even an appointment with one’s GP – to many thousands of non-Covid patients? Even the Government’s own figures show that for every three people who died of Covid-19 up to the beginning of May, two died as a result of being denied medical care. As the virus weakens (as viruses usually do), and hospitals and doctors continue to work at less than normal capacity, the balance can only be tipped towards far higher numbers of non-Covid deaths caused by lockdown. What of the practice of having a Covid ward in virtually every hospital in the land so that the infection could be spread to anyone who needed to be hospitalised for whatever reason? (Some 40% of patients dying of Covid-19 in hospital caught it while in hospital for some other reason. I knew two such people personally.) What is compassionate about denying dental care? Or in terrifying elderly people into near-starvation, so afraid were they of leaving their homes? Or causing untold stress, anxiety and depression to thousands of people? Or driving them to suicide or making them the victims of domestic abuse? The list is endless, and that is only in the UK. In other countries, day labourers have been unable to work, making death from starvation the most likely consequence. Street children and slum-dwellers, without legal papers as most of them are, have not qualified for government help even where it was available – and in some places have been blamed for the pandemic. Christians in particular have often been targeted. If you do not already have access to such information, may I suggest that you look at the websites of some Christian charities – www.globalcare.org or www.cbmuk.org.uk or www.barnabasfund.org or www.mercyships.org.uk orhttp://rlprayerbulletin.blogspot.com for example.

God is a God who works; he completed his work of creation in six days, but he still works to sustain his creation and to bring about his purposes for the universe. Man, too, is created to be a worker (this is why unemployment is so demoralising). Lockdown prevents this. People who would like to work or need to work can’t, with harmful long-term consequences for themselves, their families, and the country the most likely result. With extra spare time, on-line gambling and viewing of pornography increased during lockdown.

God is a God who communicates, directly and personally. Lockdown prevents us communicating in this way. Even the enforced wearing of masks, small a matter as this seems, prevents proper communication between human beings – we, uniquely, communicate with our faces as well as with our voices. (This is why people on the autistic spectrum have such difficulty in forming relationships and in communicating – they cannot read faces very well. Masks also make life difficult for those who are hard of hearing.) Since the Christian is a new creation, should not he have, as it were, a ‘converted’ face? Covering one’s face renders one as expressionless as the animals evolutionists say we are. It is also questionable that wearing masks is likely to stop the spread of the virus, so tiny are virus particles; indeed since masks reduce oxygen supplies to the body and tend to force the re-breathing of waste products (waste from the body is breathed out as well as being removed in other ways) including additional carbon dioxide, it is more likely that they will cause harm. Figures from countries which enforced the wearing of masks from the beginning of the pandemic do not show lower infection rates in consequence.

God created us to live in families; lockdown attacks the family. It prevents family members from getting together for mutual support. It also forbade marriage, though the emergency legislation provided for DIY abortions (with continuing pressure for these to made permanent) and Parliament found time to vote in favour of no-fault, speedy divorce. Very timely, one might (cynically) say – Co-op Legal Services reports that requests to start divorce proceedings increased by 40% during lockdown.

The lockdown was imposed and controlled by fear, engendered deliberately by government and the media, and the fear remains in many people’s minds. Indeed, it seems to be a good example of the use of technology to control and manipulate people’s behaviour by ‘brain-hacking’. But God does not work by a spirit of fear. (2 Timothy 1:7)

The constant changes in advice and the changing diktats from government have engendered a sense of confusion (which adds to the fear). God is not a God of confusion but of order. Many of the statistics about numbers of deaths have been shown on more than one occasion to be untrue, even to the extent of reporting negative numbers of deaths in order to fit the data. God is a God of truth; he is not a man that he should lie.

Guided by science?

Looking at the situation from a different angle, the lockdown, we were told, was ‘guided by science’. In other words, Science has become God. Actually, a moment’s reflection should have been enough to make anyone realise that there had not been time for any proper observation or evaluation – no real science, in fact. Instead, ‘science’ was only prediction based on modelling. Joseph Weizenbaum, a pioneer of artificial intelligence and mathematical modelling, wrote in the 1980s of two dangers he had even then observed: firstly, those who relied on modelling tended to confuse models with reality; secondly, they despised common sense. Have we not seen this in recent days? Common sense, for example, would have put all infected patients in one place. It is also the case that modern hospitals, with multiple storeys necessitating lift shafts, as well as air-conditioning and lack of opening windows, are perfect for spreading infection. Research within the past twenty years has shown that infections will spread throughout such hospitals within days – research which has been discounted in favour of modelling. Isolation hospitals, hospitals for infectious diseases, fever hospitals, call them what you will, historically it was the infected who were isolated, not the healthy. That is seen biblically too, in Leviticus 13. Common sense would also have encouraged people to try to build strong immune systems – God’s provision to enable us to deal with infections – as soon as a new, infectious disease came along. The immune system is weakened by stress, anxiety, and lack of sleep; it is strengthened by fighting infections (just as faith is strengthened by being exercised!) not by being isolated, terrified, and kept from infections. It can also be supported by natural means, but that involves vitamins and supplements based on herbal remedies, not drugs, so it isn’t ‘scientific’ (despite the fact that many studies exist which show the success of these things). Of course, it would not produce so much money for vested interests either, presumably the reason why even ‘old’ drugs which showed good results in treating Covid-19 patients were not used either, as their patents had expired making them available much more cheaply. The mantra that a vaccine will be the answer is based on the false view that we are only machines to be tinkered with – and was articulated in 2019 at a WHO conference called to work out how to deal with the inevitable coronavirus pandemic (not ‘if’, but ‘when’). According to some reports, the world, said Bill Gates (a major sponsor of the WHO, the conference, Imperial College, much medical research and many drug companies), will only be safe when everyone has been vaccinated, and also ‘chipped’ so that checks can be kept on them, their whereabouts, and whether their vaccinations were up-to-date. I don’t know whether he actually said that, but on his website he warns that this crisis is nothing compared with the next (climate) one which is coming very soon.

Observation of the behaviour of viruses suggests that they generally attenuate, so any ‘second wave’ would be less virulent, and the probability of ‘exponential growth’ very small – unless, of course, you are an evolutionist who cannot admit that evidence is overwhelmingly against the idea that mutations benefit the organism. Nowhere has the actual progress of the virus supported the idea of exponential growth of infections. In a variety of countries, including the UK, and with lockdowns of varying severity, it has been shown that the infection rates were declining before the imposition of the lockdown, and the lockdowns made no difference to the rate of decline. Evidence supports the view that this virus is becoming less virulent. Even a BBC reporter said recently that although there are more positive test results now, people are not visiting doctors or hospitals so they are clearly less unwell. I wonder whether he has kept his job – shortly after the imposition of lockdown in the UK, I understand that Ofcom ordered all news media to report only what supported the government’s position, however eminent or well-qualified the researcher, scientist or statistician who dared to disagree.

Modern man, in his arrogance, his conviction that he knows better than his ancestors, and his slavish devotion to ‘science’, would do well to heed Bildad’s advice: For inquire, please, of the former age, and consider the things discovered by their fathers; for we are but of yesterday, and know nothing, for our days on earth are but a shadow. Will they not teach you and tell you, and utter words from their heart? (Job 8:8-10) Has there been any such humility in the imposition of lockdown and the way the infection has been dealt with generally? I should, in fairness to SAGE, the UK government’s experts, record that the minutes of their last meeting before lockdown was imposed show that they were unanimous in their opposition to the idea. So despite the rhetoric, it would seem to have been a political decision.

So what can we say in response to the imposition of lockdowns, around the world and by governments of all types?

Paul gives us an explanation:...though they knew God, they did not honour him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their senseless minds were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools… And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind and to things that should not be done. (Romans 1:21,22,28)

A world that will not have God to reign over it is eventually left to its own devices. Perhaps what we have seen recently is an indication of what will take place before the Lord Jesus returns, when the man of sin is revealed and things will surely be even worse than this time.

But lest that should lead us to despair, let us remember that God is sovereign and is working out his purposes even in this situation, and let us trust that in his grace there will be some of his elect people brought to him through it. “Let us then admire the wonderful ways of Providence, in bringing about events through the freedom and the sins of human actions. He works his own will by the counsels of demons as well as through the agency of the angels of his presence.” (Alexander Carson: God’s Providence unfolded in Esther. Emphasis original.)  Surely we should look up, for now is our salvation nearer than when we first believed!

But what of the Church? We were created as worshipping beings; the lockdown closed places of worship but there appeared to be few protests from church leaders. At the beginning of the lockdown, Charles Moore, writing in The Daily Telegraph, commented that he was ‘amazed at the alacrity with which churches closed their doors’, some of them even before they were forced to do so. Indeed, some of them seem reluctant to open them again, being apparently quite content to operate a kind of virtual church. Whilst grateful for what was possible through the internet, one wonders whether we have forgotten what a local church is, and what it is for, and also whether a virtual church leads to pick and mix, virtual worship of a virtual God.

I wonder. Are we here in the West so focused on identifying ourselves with the ‘woke’ culture around us, so indoctrinated by ‘science’, so shaped by the media, so taken up with technology, that our worship is an abomination and a trouble to the Lord? (See, for example, Isaiah 1:10-20 or Malachi 1:6-14)  Perhaps we have – in practice – forgotten that the Lord’s return is a reality and are, like the wise virgins, asleep? Do we also look down on our forefathers, according the new and the contemporary greater prominence for no other reason than that it is new, and thinking that we are somehow superior?

Christians are called to trust God by caring, not cowering; Christian leaders all the more so: ‘those who are engaged in a spiritual ministry such as preachers and pastors must likewise remain steadfast before the peril of death.’ It is the ‘bitter, knavish devil’ who ‘not only tries to slay and kill but takes delight in making us deathly afraid’ so that ‘under the stormy and dark sky of fear and anxiety’ we ‘forget and lose Christ, our light and life, and desert our neighbour in his troubles.’ “  (from an article by William Philip in Evangelical Times July 2020. Quotes from Luther)

For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine, but having itching ears, they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own ideas, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander away to myths. (2 Timothy 4:3-4)

Thus says the Lord: Stand at the crossroads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way lies; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls.

But they said, ‘We will not walk in it.’ (Jeremiah 6:16)

Have we truly been salt and light in our generation?  Have we not failed to stand up for God’s truth in so many areas of morality? I remember the words of Francis Schaeffer, writing in The Christian Manifesto, a work completed shortly before before his death in the 1980s, warning that the church had ‘gone soft’ on divorce, and that this would result in gay marriage. (At the time, I was puzzled by the term ‘gay marriage’ and wondered what Schaeffer could possibly mean!) Little protest has been made over the fact that British embassies promote this in countries around the world. Little protest either has been made over abortion, either here in the UK or as one of the chief ‘exports’ of the International Aid Budget. And now we have the Social Justice/ Critical Theory (of race, sex, and gender) movement sweeping in, even through evangelical churches and organisations.

What would be a real blessing to our nation at this time?  It would be to repent of the fear of man that renders us so spiritually impotent and irrelevant to this generation, unable to truly proclaim Christ, and confront sin and stand up for real justice, and then to call the nation to come back to God through Jesus Christ, in whom alone there is life.” (from an article by Dave Brennan in Evangelical Times July 2020)

If nothing else, I pray that the pandemic and the lockdown will serve as a wake-up call to the church, a call to discover from God’s word what really matters, a call to humble ourselves and seek his face in repentance, a call to heed his words to the church in Sardis, lest, like Ephesus, our lampstand is also removed.

How long,” wrote Alexander Carson, “will the children of God neglect the laws of his kingdom?  When will they return to the order and the ordinances of his house?”

And to the angel of the church in Sardis write, ‘These things says he who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars: “I know your works, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead. Be watchful, and strengthen the things that remain, that are ready to die, for I have not found your works perfect before God. Remember therefore how you have received and heard; hold fast and repent. Therefore if you will not watch, I will come upon you as a thief, and you will not know what hour I will come upon you.”’ (Revelation 3:1-3)

Or will God’s words through Jeremiah be true of us?

An astonishing and horrible thing has been committed in the land:

The prophets prophesy falsely and the priests rule by their own power; and my people love to have it so.

But what will you do in the end?

(Jeremiah 5:30-31)

When the Son of Man comes, will he really find faith on the earth? (Luke 18:8)

God grant that we shall not be ashamed at his coming!