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Background on the Conscience, Part 3

Posted by Matt Postiff January 1, 2022 on Matt Postiff's Blog under Theology  Society 

Round 3 of background on the conscience-based COVID-19 vaccine exemption letter that I posted on December 29, 2021.

  1. The conscience can be "forced into a corner" by difficult dilemmas. "If you say you believe in Jesus, I will shoot you in the head;" or "If you do not take this vaccine, you will lose your job." Those dilemmas should be avoided by authorities if possible. Reasonable accommodation must be offered to avoid impingement on free religious exercise.
  2. The reasons for conscience objections to the COVID vaccine are varied. Some are: (1) The vaccine is made and/or tested with fetal cell lines resulting from abortion, and abortion is an abominable act that is clearly rejected in Christian teaching; (2) The vaccine is mandated with severe economic penalties such as loss of livelihood, inability to purchase food at restaurants, etc., which set precedent for future Christian and Jewish persecution predicted in the Bible. Not that the vaccine is exactly this, but here is the idea: "No one can buy or sell unless he has the vaccine," which sounds eerily similar to the mark of the beast (Revelation 13:17). It sets precedent for that future terrible event. (3) The vaccine is mandated, which runs counter to God-given natural rights which are recognized the United States Constitution and Bill of Rights. (4) There are health risks to the vaccine which, if experienced, may impact one's ability to live productively and serve God. (5) The vaccine is an artificial chemical to which some Christians object because they prefer to trust God's design of the body to fight infection. (6) If one has been naturally immunized by a prior COVID infection, the unnecessary additional risks of taking a vaccine (such as myocarditis) are simply too costly to outweigh the vanishingly small incremental benefit (if any) that might be obtained over natural immunity. The religious principle in this case has to do with stewardship of one’s body: Christians are taught not to do things to their bodies which may reduce their ability to live for and serve God. (7) Children are at extremely low risk of complications from COVID-19, therefore giving them a vaccine that has potentially long-lasting side effects even in a small percentage of cases seems to be putting the Lord to the test. That is too much for the conscience of some. (8) The risk of becoming ill and dying prematurely pushes the conscience of others to really desire the vaccine to reduce their own human suffering. (9) The risk of spreading illness to others encourages the conscience of some to take the vaccine to provide whatever protection is available, even if imperfect.
  3. Importantly, remember that the conscience is not informed only by "purely" religious factors. All information—even scientific—has some religious connection because of the information itself, where it comes from, the motivations behind it, the manner in which it is conveyed, etc. It is the view of many Christians that science is a discipline under the dominion of God, not man. Inasmuch as it has ignored God, it has run amok.
  4. A person’s conscience may be fully convinced that if God permitted her to be infected with COVID and survive, He has provided through His creative design all the natural immunity that is required going forward, and in fact that immunity is very likely far better than artificial immunity from a vaccine. This weighs in decision-making regarding the risks-versus-benefits of the vaccine. The risks are entirely unnecessary in this case, and subjecting oneself to the vaccine would be putting God to the test.

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