We are quickly discovering that the beliefs of Francis Collins, one of the world’s leading geneticists, scientists and professing Christians, are more thoroughly compromised than we imagined (including his views of Pride Month and LGBTQ) Collins is the Director of the National Institute of Health (NIH) and the founder of BioLogos, the self-described “Christian organization” that seeks to bridge the bible and evolution while insisting that humans evolved from apes 200,000 years ago and that Adam and Eve never actually existed.
In an interview with Ed Stetzer, who tried to smuggle him in as an authoritative voice Christians should be listening to, Collins informs Stetzer that it’s more important that kids have in-person school than adults and kids have in-person church.
Stetzer: If kids need in-person school, and we don’t have any clear end to this pandemic, do people need in-person church? Are there ways to do this more safely?
Collins: The consequences of missing out on that personal interaction for educational progress, for social interactions, just for human development as a child are really significant. Those of us who are adults that are missing our church gathering, we’re suffering too. But if I have to make a priority, it’s getting those kids in school is even higher in my list...
…It troubles me greatly, that somehow we’ve gotten in this big political debate about whether masks need to be worn in school for kids under 12, who can’t be vaccinated, who could therefore get infected and could then spread it to others. If we don’t have mask wearing in school, it’s guaranteed we’re going to have outbreaks and then the kids will be back home again, doing the virtual thing that we were trying to avoid. Really too bad that it’s turned into such a strange argument that’s going on… In special circumstances, especially if your church can meet outside, well, take advantage of that because we know it’s safer. Otherwise, if there was an absolutely critical need, keep that physical distance and insist that everybody wear masks.
Stetzer: What I’m not sure I’m on the same place as the esteemed Dr. Francis Collins is, if kids need in-person school and we can take appropriate mitigations, why don’t we also say that we need in-person church? You’ve been a Christian a long time, you know, they’re gonna have to quote the verses to you, but people want me to quote the verses to you. But you know the verses. Church is not just about electrons and avatars, it’s about feet and faces. If we can have kids sitting in desks and follow mitigations, can we do that in church?
Collins: We can do it. And again, the question is, what’s the risk? And how strongly do we feel that that risk is worth taking? If Christ’s strongest recommendation to us; how love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind, we’re supposed to use our mind about this. And of course, the next is the commandment love your neighbor as yourself. This is a ‘love your neighbor’ circumstance.
Because if you are gathering in person, in a church, even being careful about it, there may be somebody sitting there who’s got an immune deficiency, maybe they know it, maybe they don’t. And then that individual, despite thinking they were protected, turns out to get COVID, ends up in the ICU and maybe loses their life.
So how do we balance that risk, which is not zero, against the deep desire that we all have to gather together? What is God calling us to do in that circumstance? I guess I come back to love your neighbor. And if I’m doing something that I think might be putting my neighbor at risk, then I’m worried about moving in that direction.
Collins concludes by explaining that if he were the ‘king of evangelicals” overseeing the churches who insist on meeting in person, he would “certainly continuing to insist on mask-wearing for everybody vaccinated or unvaccinated physical distancing, trying to maintain that six-foot distance” and explains that the most dangerous part of a service is afterward, where everyone wants to stop and greet and hug each other.
h/t to @wokepreachertv
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