Theological Devotion to Untruth


A while back I started blogging about truth. I really had no idea where this would go. After all I was just meandering. I had no idea how every day something crazy happens that I could blog about. Every day!

A friend pointed out a story going viral online as a result of a very frustrated nurse from South Dakota posting about her experience in an emergency room. What does that have to do with truth? A lot!

It seems impossible but sometimes reality just seems impossible. Especially in a pandemic. That’s what happens when people have a theological devotion to untruth.  By that I mean a belief so strong no one could be convinced out of it. For example no Christian or no Muslim can be convinced that their beliefs are wrong.

According to Kathryn Krawczyk of Yahoo News,

“South Dakota has the highest COVID-19 mortality rate of almost anywhere in the world — only North Dakota and the entire countries of Belgium and the Czech Republic rank higher. Without a mask mandate and with low rates of mask wearing, the Dakotas have seen coronavirus cases spike over the past few months.


No wonder the nursing staff is run ragged in the hospitals. But it is not just the overwhelming work that gets to them. It’s the denial of reality that overpowers. Remember that South Dakota was the site of 2 big Trump rallies earlier in the year that some have labelled 2 super spreader events, at Sturgis and Mount Rushmore South Dakota about an hour apart. Those events may have resulted in as many as 250,000 Covid cases being spread around the country all in the name of paying obeisance to Donald Trump. The people wanted to rally with their leader, Trump, and would not consider the possibility that such events were unsafe even though experts said they would be. Often Trump supporters don’t support experts.

Recently the frustrated tweets from that South Dakota emergency room nurse, Jodi Doering, went viral. This is one case where that is exactly what should happen. She was upset because every day she has another case of a patient who “a magical answer” rather than the truth. They prefer magic to truth.

Doering  described what she called “a horror show that never ends.” She was talking about patients that were coming to the hospital in deadly denial. People did not believe they were suffering from Covid-19 even though they came to an “overrun hospital,” they were “gasping for air”, with all the symptoms, and after having tested positive for Covid-19, yet believed—firmly believed, that they did not have Covid. They refused to believe what the medical staff told them, namely, that they were suffering from Covid-19. They need so much oxygen there is no other rational explanation but these patients did not accept that.

Instead, as Doering said,

“They tell you there must be another reason they are sick. They call you names and ask why you have to wear all that ‘stuff’ because they don’t have COVID because it’s not real. Yes. This really happens.” When told to connect one last time with their absent families by zoom, the patients continue to deny their status. It just can’t be. The patients are “filled with rage and hatred.”

As Krawczyk reported, “some COVID-19 patients spend their last moments refusing to call family and friends because they’re convinced they’re going to be fine, Doering said. “Their last dying words are, ‘This can’t be happening. It’s not real.'”

Even as they are dying in their hospital beds they can’t face reality. Instead they continue to believe their fantasies instead. Some even seem to prefer thinking they have lung cancer. Their entire identity is tied up with the belief that Covid-19 just is not real.

The price for abandoning truth can be extremely high. And someone has to pay it.


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