COVID-19 word cloud

We’re starting a new series looking at the phenomenon of Covid-19, this strange disease that has spread to virtually every part of the world’s population over the last 18 months or so and is attributed with the deaths of more than 3 million people so far.  This basically biotic event is having wide-ranging effects on human societies and cultures, and can thus be said to be making history.  As such, it raises lots of important questions that we ought to be interested in from a Christian perspective.  FiSch is particularly concerned with insights we might gain from a multi-disciplinary approach that eschews reductionism and is cognizant of the role of ideology and religious perspective.  We might take the suite of aspects proposed in Reformational philosophy to guide our coverage, asking such questions as:

  • What might be the biotic origin and evolution of the SARS-CoV-2 species as a human pathogen, and what is at stake, ideologically and religiously, in the various hypotheses in circulation?
  • How are our responses to Covid-19 feeding back into the biology of the situation?
  • What is it like to suffer from Covid-19?  What personal factors influence and shape different people’s experiences, in the short and longer term?
  • Have statistics and scientific analyses played appropriate roles in this pandemic?  Has Covid brought a reality check for post-truth societies?
  • How does the (presumably purposeless) evolution of a virus come to shape history, and what do our cultural responses reveal about the world’s ideologies at the start of the 2020s?
  • What role are our media playing in the shaping of this pandemic?  How does the spread of the virus, in its various forms, relate to the spread of information about it, with varying degrees of truthfulness?
  • How is the pandemic affecting social norms and dynamics in the world’s diverse cultures?
  • What has the pandemic revealed of our economic frameworks and priorities?  How should we balance health and economic concerns?
  • What has the pandemic revealed about our need for art, play and sport?  In a crisis of global proportions, is beauty an extravagance? 
  • How does one balance individual versus collective concerns during a pandemic?  Why do (or don’t) “unprecedented” times call for special government powers? 
  • To what extent do people today perceive and work for the same common good?
  • How has Covid-19 revealed the religious orientation of our lives (individually or collectively)?

These are just some starter questions, thrown together by a number of the FiSch blogging team.  We’re not promising to address all of these in the coming weeks, but we may manage a few of them!  If you’re a reader of the blog who would like to offer thoughts on one of these, or another question, please do get in touch.

Richard Gunton
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Richard Gunton

Richard is the Director of Faith-in-Scholarship at Thinking Faith Network. He also teaches statistics at the University of Winchester. His current passions include Reformational philosophy, history of sciences, ordination (the statistical sort), and wildlife gardening. He worships, and occasionally preaches, at St Mary's Church in Portchester. [Views expressed here are his own.]