Fatalism vs. Panicking

A journalist interviewed someone on a busy street during the current coronavirus crisis asking him why he was not observing the government curfew. He answered analogous that he doesn’t believe in these government measurements thinking it is simply fate if someone gets infected by the virus or not. This viewpoint reveals some fatalism: Believing that life circumstances are ultimately in God’s hands and human kind has little or no influence over them.

I truly believe that fatalism is a wrong worldview because the creator of this world and of mankind created humans with a sense for responsibility. In spite of human limitations mankind has the ability to act responsibly and, therefore, to change things with his behavior. Leaving all responsibility to God neglects the fact that mankind can act responsible for himself and is ultimately accountable to Him for what he has done.

So fatalism is surely not the right response to the current coronavirus crisis. Having said this, one must point out that panicking is also not the right way to react to such a crisis. It shows the limitations of a secular worldview in a life-threatening crisis: When people don’t believe in God and the hereafter, every situation threatening one’s life becomes a threat against all he has. People will defend their well-being with all possible means. Not realizing that by panicking the overall situation and the emotional status quo is just getting worse.

For a believer instead – that is for someone who knows life will continue after death and who is sure of heaven – fighting for your life by all means should not be the one and only goal. Glorifying God in every situation is a higher aim even than protection one’s own life. The knowledge that one’s life will eventually continue in the presence of God can bring peace and calmness into a crisis like this that many secular people seemingly are not able to gain. It not only helps to deal with a crisis effectively but is also the right antidote to both panicking and fatalism.