It is crucial for Christians to understand that underlying what seem like objective facts, there are some competing worldviews. Covid-19 has particularly revealed these competing worldviews. Let me sketch two opposing ones for you in broad detail.
One worldview is agnostic about whether there is a God, and so does not consider His hand in Covid’s existence, its prevention or its cure. It does not believe in Christ, nor in salvation, nor in the afterlife. Therefore, it believes that biological life must be preserved at all costs. For that reason, it is willing to give up, suspend, or prohibit the human aspects of life: worship, social interaction, eating together, and so forth. Put simply, its counsel is: wear a mask, stay home, don’t touch anyone, and wait till this crisis is over. On top of that, it believes that it can control this virus if everyone submits to a central authority. If everyone listens and does what they’re told, we can have the world we want. Driving this is a false view of man and sin. We can all have a utopian post-Covid world if we all toe the line. We must trust the interpretations of medical experts and politicians, because they will get us back to a normal society. This is not very far from the ideas of the utopian leftists. They believe we can have a utopia on earth if everyone submits to a centralised power who will tell everyone what to do.
The second worldview believes there is a God, believes He is in control of this disease and has allowed it. It believes in Christ we are safe from Hell and can live life joyfully in the face of death. It believes life is always worth preserving, but not at all costs. Specifically, it believes worship and gathering is required, so is human friendship, relationship, and interaction. It believes that self-protectiveness can cross the line into sinfulness. It believes the human freedoms of movement, assembling and dignity of person can only be suspended for very temporary periods, when the threat to life is severe, such as in wartime, or an extremely deadly pandemic. It believes that the human heart is sinful, and that it is not unlikely that evil people can exploit a crisis for purposes other than the improvement of the health of the population. It also keeps a special eye on what can become tyrannical abuses of power.
What is important to understand is that both worldviews will hear the same facts, but will very likely arrive at different interpretations, and different responses. That is also what creates animosity between people who are hearing the same ‘facts’. People with different worldviews assume that different responses to Covid are the wrong responses.
What then does it mean to live by truth, and not by unfiltered facts? Make sure you have a Christian worldview to filter the facts and the recommendations of medical experts. Do you believe that God is the Lord of life? Do you believe that death has lost its sting, that to live is Christ, and to die is gain? Do you believe that the body is to be protected, but not at all costs? Do you believe that sickness and health are in God’s hands? Do you believe God calls us to face risks for His name? If the advice being given contradicts a Christian approach to life, then that interpretation of life is faulty.
Related to this is how you let the Bible guide you in interpreting unfiltered facts. To live by truth is to have a Christian filter, but also to use Christian principles for evaluating what you hear and read.
Not a day goes by when I don’t see or hear about someone linking to some ridiculous article put out by people on the far left and on the far right. Christians ping-pong between cheering for vaccine herd-immunity all the way to screaming about one-world governments using vaccine mandates to chip us all. We should live by truth, and part of living by truth and having a Christian worldview means you must reason like a Christian, and think like a Christian, the way God has taught us to.
Anything you pick up or hear or read from the Internet or another source should go through a Christian process of reason. What does that look like? Here are nine principles from Scripture.
i) To be counted as truth, facts must be established by multiple sources.
One witness shall not rise against a man concerning any iniquity or any sin that he commits; by the mouth of two or three witnesses the matter shall be established. (Deuteronomy 19:15)
Where there is no counsel, the people fall; But in the multitude of counselors there is safety. (Proverbs 11:14)
Don’t believe it because one source said it. One persuasive YouTube clip is not enough to count as established truth.
ii) To be counted as truth, facts should be subjected to contradiction.
The first one to plead his cause seems right, Until his neighbor comes and examines him. (Proverbs 18:17)
How has the other side responded to these claims? What do the critics of this position say? Don’t accept something because it simply seems to confirm what you’d like to be the case.
iii) To be counted as truth, facts should be tentative when new information is forthcoming.
He who answers a matter before he hears it, It is folly and shame to him (Proverbs 18:13)
A lot of information is coming out. Don’t tout as final what may be contradicted tomorrow. Medical findings and statistics, particularly, should be held only with the kind of certainty that belongs to very early data.
iv) To be counted as truth, facts should not be divorced from the character and faithfulness of the one delivering them.
A faithful witness does not lie, But a false witness will utter lies. (Proverbs 14:5)
Even in medical matters, it matters who is delivering the message, and what he or she believes about ultimate truths.
v) Trust voices who have accumulated the most knowledge and experience.
The heart of the wise teaches his mouth, And adds learning to his lips.(Proverbs 16:23)
vi) Differentiate between someone’s expertise and his interpretations.
Now the advice of Ahithophel, which he gave in those days, was as if one had inquired at the oracle of God. So was all the advice of Ahithophel both with David and with Absalom (2 Samuel 16:23).
Ahithophel was an expert counselor, and assessed situations highly accurately. Unfortunately, his advice and application was sinful, because he was in rebellion to God and to his rightful king, David.
vii) Information from anonymous sources amounts to gossip or hearsay.
You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them.(Matthew 7:16–20)
We do not give credibility to someone we do not know. We know nothing of the heart, character, or track record, so there is no reason to listen to it. Whether they are passed-on Whatsapp clips, YouTube channels, or articles, anonymous sources are not worth your time at all.
viii) To be counted as truth, a fact must decisively prove its case and exclude all rivals. It does that by rising above possibility, plausibility, and becomes probability.
that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, (Ephesians 4:14–15)
Do not be carried about with various and strange doctrines. (Hebrews 13:9)
nor give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which cause disputes rather than godly edification which is in faith. (1 Timothy 1:4)
ix) To be counted as truth, a fact is subject to the final bar of established commands and precepts in God’s word.
There is no wisdom or understanding Or counsel against the Lord. (Prov. 21:30)
Christian presuppositions and assumptions give you your starting point, your interpretive grid, and even your final filter to weed out anti-biblical conclusions. Filter the counsel of facts through a Christian worldview.
All of this is what it means to live by revealed truth, not by unfiltered facts.