[ by Charles Cameron — setting the records straight ]
That DoubleQuote (above) neatly illustrates the twin poles of this post.
I believe it was news of the Japanese sect [or new religious movement] known as Shincheonji being responsible for South Korea’s coronavirus outbreak that first prompted me to make post # 1 in this series — Coronavirus meets religion #1 — but somehow, although I remembered to post about the Pope on video, and the Kaaba empty of pilgtims, and even Lord Shiva’s statue in Banares wearing a surgical mask — I quite forgot to feature Shincheonji!
Let’s set that straight.
Dr Massimo Introvigne of CESNUR is the primary author for the white paper on Shincheonji. In 32 pages, it debunks the rumors — initially widespread, and hate-driven — that linked the new religious movement with the spread of the virus, and illuminates the ways in which scapegoating can lead of witch-hunts against minority religious groups who are taking converts away from larger, more established groups with potentially tragic consequences — scapegoats are sacrificed or expelled into the desert to fend for themselves, witches are burnt at the stake, eh?
The very day I began this post, news arrived of preacher Kenneth Copeland and his bovel theory connecting coronavirus to, let’s be honest, Democrats.
Fortunately, we have Dr Russell Moore of the Southern Baptist Convention, a man who has proven himself speaking truth to power, and huis column today, The Prosperity Gospel in a Time of Plague, offers this warning shot across the bows of those who “preach”solutions to the coronavirus for financial gain at the expense of naive audiences — whose health may also suffer:
As the entire world faces a public health and economic challenge the likes of which none of us has ever seen, we can, sadly, see the hucksters and grifters of the “prosperity gospel” movement, and their enablers, taking every opportunity, once again, to destroy lives and enrich themselves. This ought to matter to every disciple of Jesus Christ, with urgency like never before.
Read Dr Moore on the so-called Silver Solution and its claim to cure coronaviruses, as pushed on the Jim Bakker show, and more..
Finally, today the Washington Post chimed in with a post titled This is not the end of the world, according to Christians who study the end of the world. That’s a relief! In more detail:
It sure might feel apocalyptic. But not if you ask Christian writers and pastors who have spent years focusing their message on the Book of Revelation — the New Testament’s final book. It lays out a lurid, poetic vision of the End Times, in which many evangelical leaders interpret it to mean that Jesus will return to Earth, believers will be raptured to heaven and those left behind will suffer seven dreadful years of calamities. Most of these Revelation-focused prophesiers don’t see coronavirus as heralding the Second Coming and the end of life on Earth as we know it.
I’ll keep you informed!