We signed up to be doctors, but now we are sent into the battlefield. This means that young doctors like me need to grow in the virtues essential to all physicians, especially fortitude and prudence.
Pillar: The Human Person
The first pillar of a decent society is respect for the human person, which recognizes that all individual human beings have dignity simply because of the kind of being they are: animals whose rational faculties allow them to know, love, reason, and communicate. It also recognizes that human beings are persons, members of the human family who flourish in a community that respects their fundamental rights and who long to discover transcendent truths about the nature of reality.
The Passover Haggadah reminds Jews and Christians that G-d’s promise of redemption was perennial, with elements of painful oppression and beatific salvation. Egypt is not a relic of ancient history, but a transhistorical reality that we are encountering again in COVID-19.
I am astonished by how many people think a deadly pandemic is the right time to foment the spirit of rebellion and pick a fight with the government over what many will inevitably see as our right to infect others. That’s what it looks like to our neighbors. They do not see this as a testimony of our unshakable faith, but as evidence of callous unconcern for their lives and the lives of the police, grocery workers, mailmen, health workers, and garbage men with whom we all interact.
My prayer for all of you—for all of us—is that God would not only intervene dramatically to kill this virus, but also that, in the course of doing so, God might strengthen us in our faith and trust, and in our understanding of our ultimate dependence on Him for all of life.
We Christians must suffer through our Lents, however short or long they are. Sometimes they can be stormy seasons, or ages spent in empty wastes. But we are Easter people, with our faces turned toward the springtime sun that we love, and toward the Son who taught us how to love.
Easter is the victory of life over death, our deliverance and liberation in the resurrection of God’s Son. But if our Easter joy this year is mixed with a taste of Good Friday’s myrrh and loss, and a hunger for the Eucharist we can’t satisfy, we should accept it as a gift. It’s a reminder of the precious things we too easily take for granted.
We must indeed make policies and trade-offs in peace or war, sickness or health. But whatever goes into our policymaking, and however many comfortable years we hope to eke out by human interventions, we must remain focused on the true hope of everlasting life.
This is a fundamental human experience that we're having. Plagues have been described for a very long time. It's just that we ourselves are not used to having it. I would happily stay at home for three months if it meant that my neighbors are not going to die.
This interview is adapted from the Webinar conversation “Pandemic! What Do and Don’t We Know? Robert P. George in Conversation with Nicholas A. Christakis.”
As we prepare for the worst and hope for the best, we have daily opportunities to make meaningful impacts on each other and on our communities. We have come together in a new way, and I suspect this will ultimately reshape the future landscapes of our medical practice and our health-care system.
In the next few weeks, as the pandemic perhaps reaches its zenith, we will have the opportunity to decide once again what sort of society we intend to be. We should eschew all invidious discrimination and recommit ourselves to treating all who are ill as bearers of profound, inherent, and equal worth and dignity.
In fighting Coronavirus, the precautionary principle is reasonable: we need to act so as to bring as close to zero the probability of the most extreme results. However, the precautionary principle does not point in only one direction. Closing down an entire society for a prolonged period of time is uncharted territory, with many perils. We must also bear in mind the pre-eminent importance of the common good to avoid a catastrophic social collapse.
My home is my battlefield, and maintaining peace and joy for my family is my fight. I cannot treat those infected by Covid-19, but I can help flatten the curve. This is my time to keep our homefires burning with gusto, as if each meal I set before my family were a punch in the teeth to the chaos caused by this deadly illness. We may be stuck at home for weeks or months, but by God we’ll have fresh sourdough bread and afternoon tea every day.
The Good Place finale was hilarious, thought provoking, and profoundly moving. However, in failing to find our highest good and identifying the means to achieve it, the show could do little more than put a happy face on our current cultural despair. This article contains spoilers.
A crisis like a pandemic forces citizens to confront what they hold in common. But the coronavirus has revealed that many, whether boomer or millennial, do not even see themselves as citizens—as participating in and being partially responsible for the common good.
A friend is more than a form of entertainment. The utilitarian way app designers would have us pick friends off a menu reflects quite the opposite approach. Friendships are viewed as more comfortable and more disposable than Allan Bloom, C.S. Lewis, and the Talmud suggest they ought to be.
Schools are closed. Sports and music lessons are cancelled. Everyone is at home. What are you going to do? Instead of allowing coronavirus to control your life, why not plan for leisure? We can make this evil an occasion for despair, or we can choose to see it as a “severe mercy” for our benefit, our joy, and ultimately our sanctification.
No one can say with precision how many people this virus will infect or kill. Predictions are difficult. But we know some things about ourselves, so we can venture to say what this unusual moment will reveal about us.
When our conception of relationships and relationship-building is based on a vision of the human person as an atomized choice maker who forms bonds for his or her benefit, we should not wonder why institutions decay. Our institutions are in crisis because we are in an identity crisis.
We are all faced with a choice. Is meaning a futile attempt to mask the banal absurdity pervading everything? Or could there be divine purpose embedded within human existence?
Physician-assisted suicide pithily and precisely names the act of a doctor prescribing a lethal drug at his terminally ill patient’s request. However, its advocates reject this name and propose euphemisms in its place, such as “death with dignity” and “end of life option.” These amount to advertisements for the disputed practice and ought to be rejected as imprecise, inaccurate, and jargonistic.
American pro-abortion supporters, Western embassies and international human-rights bodies have taken part in the war against El Salvador’s full ban on elective abortion by supporting a fraudulent campaign that promotes impunity for infanticide in that country.
The story of Cerian Williams affirms the intrinsic value of the unborn, handicapped, dying, and all who do not fit the standards of a culture that insists on strength, not weakness, for admission to its elitist country club.
All ideological fads eventually fade and collapse into disrepute, because they have no foundation in truth. “Pro-choice” ideology had its rise, which was based on the crude, reductionist falsehood that a human being in the womb is an anonymous, generic “bunch of cells.” Now, its central lie has been unmasked, and Roe is ripe for reversal.
The unstated mythology of therapeutic “abortion care” is that pregnancies come in only two types: wanted pregnancies, all of which children are delivered, and unwanted pregnancies, all of which children are aborted. But that’s not true. At least one in seven abortions in the U.S. are of children that the mother reports were wanted. I recently found that the risk of depression, suicidality or anxiety disorders from such abortions was almost four times higher than for women who had aborted a child in an unwanted pregnancy. Mine is the first empirical study ever to examine these more distressing, invisible abortions.
Active Christians exhibit greater current life satisfaction and are more likely to report that they are thriving. In addition, active Christians have higher levels of subjective well-being throughout the entire business cycle—not just in booms, but in the busts as well. Our results suggest that religion and religious communities will continue to play a driving role in helping people cope with change by keeping their eyes pointed towards the eternal even as storms surge around them.