24’I am the God of your Father Abraham,’ he said; ‘I am with you, so do not be afraid’
Genesis 26:24 – REB
4My heart is torn with anguish and the terrors of death bear down on me. 5Fear and trembling assail me and my whole frame shudders.
Psalms 55:4-5 – REB
48Who can live and not see death?
Psalms 89:48 – REB
‘I can’t stand injustice.’
Dr Mike Yeadon, October 2020 (see link below)
I wrote in my last post about our need for human relationships and the hope that the government would take full account of that, as they considered the next steps in the COVID national story. As it seems that we’re headed almost inexorably into more ‘lockdown’ (whatever you might call it), I think it’s worth considering the impact on people of the current situation.
I’m disturbed to hear and see people in the public domain who are showing signs of genuine anguish and fear. We’re beginning to hear more about the potential impact on our mental health of the current situation, but what exactly is causing that? There’s no doubt that fear for job and financial security is an important factor for many, but maybe even more so is the fear of death?
We’ve come a long way as a society, but in our rush for progress, I fear that we may have lost some valuable beliefs that our ancestors would have taken for granted.
On my bookshelves, I have a large and beautiful family Bible. Inside the front cover is the inscription I’ve shown above:
Walker and Eliza Blott
A gift from our Beloved Parents
John and Elizabeth Beale
on our Marriage Day, May 21st, 1861
A few short pages later, under ‘Deaths’ it’s recorded that Eliza Blott died on 17th December 1862. The Bible also records the seemingly endless list of family deaths over the next few years: Herbert Walker Blott, aged 2 months and 6 days, William Blott on the day of his birth, Eleanor Blott aged 8 months and 4 days, Sophia Fanny Blott, (my Great Grandmother and Walker’s second wife), aged 37 in 1872, and so on.
Like for many families at that time, death was a constant companion.
What, I find myself wondering now, would they have made of the fact that death has almost become a failure of politics, or if not that, a failure of medicine? What, I find myself wondering, would they have made of the savaging of our economy, due to approximately 45,000 deaths out of a population of 67 million (0.07%), particularly in view of the fact that the average age of those who’ve died in England and Wales so far is 82.4 years; exactly one year above the average life expectancy of 81.4 years? It was announced this week that the additional national deficit resulting from COVID to the end of June 2020, was £246 billion; £3,800 for every man, woman and child in the UK and £2.8 million for every COVID death.
How did we manage to lose the quite normal, generations-old belief that death is a natural part of life? I would like to avoid sounding as if I have no compassion, but I do worry when we act, as a country, as if we feel that we’ve conquered death. I’m not quite 70 yet, but I feel that I’ve had a good life and I would have no complaints if disease took me now. Have we got so few people now who feel that death is an end to everything? Personally, I don’t; it’s a crucial part of my faith.
This blogsite is a place for theological reflection, but on this occasion, I feel the need to use it to paste up a link; it’s an interview of Dr Mike Yeadon, whom I’ve quoted above. He’s an almost uniquely qualified retired scientist, (he gives his qualifications right at the start of the interview) who’s joined the public discussion simply because he’s worried that the decisions that are being made by the government, on the advice of the SAGE committee, are wrong and he wants to explain why, on simple scientific grounds.
The interview can be found here:
It’s hugely important, which is why I want to make a plea to all my readers here to take the time to listen to his arguments and share them with your friends and contacts. He covers virtually every single issue that you might ever wish to know about the science, but in a way that’s very easy to understand. He makes clear that he’s absolutely not a conspiracy theorist; he simply refutes the claims that you will have been hearing, almost every time you’ve listened to the news over the last few months.
The interview is powerful stuff. Most of you who follow me here have met me at some time and will know that I have hated injustice since I was a small boy. I’m sending you this because I care for your health, but also for your mental health and I feel that everyone should hear this evidence before making their own minds up about one of the most important issues of my life. And I believe that facts go a long way to removing fear, engendering justice and preparing people to consider that they are, whether they like it or not, mortal. Those of you who know me, also know that I feel deeply for those who’ve lost relatives and friends, and for those whose lives have been blighted by this virus.
The recording is 1 hour 48 minutes long. I know! But please do try to find the time to listen, maybe you can listen to bits as you go about your daily life and finish it over a period of days? I’m sorry that I can’t point you to a short section that sums it all up – every minute of it is extremely important.
You may disagree with some or all of it. Whether you do or not, please do comment on this site; it would be useful to get a discussion going on this subject, which I don’t think I’m alone in feeling is not receiving a fair, balanced depiction in our media.