Monday, September 9, 2013

On vaccinations and faith

OrthoCuban has a post up on vaccination entitled "Texas, vaccinations, and here we go again." Knowing many people who choose not to vaccinate their children either at all or very selectively, I don't think it's as cut-and-dry as it is presented (e.g. I don't think all vaccines are as innocuous as popularly presented), but wanted to give the post more visibility. Please do comment on it.

As you look at the video above, you will see that a whooping-cough epidemic has broken out in this country. The State of Texas has the worst of it; they are under a health alert. Already two babies have died. Medical authorities are appealing in various states for parents to vaccinate their children. More children may die because of the failure of parents to vaccinate their children.

I can only think, “Here we go again!” I have written more than one blog post dealing with the non-Christian idea that opposes faith to science. Because of the false idea that science and faith are opposed, many Christian parents have stopped vaccinating their children. When challenged they respond either with Bible verses that supposedly speak that we are to have faith, or they cobble together a series of arguments that appear to show that vaccination is worse than not vaccinating your children. In every case, there are both eisogetical and logical errors backing those very wrong conclusions. If all else fails, there is a very American ideal that gets cited. Somehow God does not want anyone to be able to speak into your family situation so that only the parents have anything to say about their children. If anyone dares to say anything, somehow they are violating God’s institution of marriage and the family. Both Holy Tradition and Scripture contradict this viewpoint.

Unfortunately for those parents, there is an empirical reality check. It is a reality check that indicates whether their thinking is correct. That reality check is that the more parents that do not vaccinate their children, the more that preventable childhood diseases return to the USA. Sadly, it is the children who pay the price for the mistaken thinking of the adults. Sadly, various Christian parents will speak of the need to have more faith or really true faith. Sadly, other Christian parents will quote discredited studies to continue to claim that it is worse to vaccinate their children. Sadly, for those parents, they will not be able to understand why their child is sick, why their ideas are ever so wrong.

Sadly, those very same parents with their unnecessarily sick children will help to contribute to the view that theologically conservative Christians are fools.

So, I have chosen to write again. I have little hope anymore that I will change minds. But, there are children who will pay the price. So, if I can even change the opinion of one parent, it will be worth it. Please vaccinate your children. It is the godly thing to do.


  1. You are missing the reason why many do not vaccinate today, and it has nothing to do with opposing science with faith, but with the mass of evidence pointing to the harm some vaccinations cause. You can read about the problems with vaccinations here:

  2. Thank you, Fr. Peter. It was my awareness of this (the result of information I was given by my home birth OB/Gyn physicians, most of whom were Christians and one of whom was Orthodox), that caused me to question the conventional wisdom of relying on vaccines for preventing disease (rather than sound nutrition, including breastfeeding and hygiene). It would never have occurred to me to question otherwise, but as it so happens on both sides of the family we had predisposing conditions that indicated our children might be more likely to suffer adverse vaccines reactions than the norm. After doing the research, we came to the conclusion that it is not primarily science guiding the public health decisions of our country, but profits. Consequently, we prayerfully chose not to vaccinate our children and rather to trust God and His provision through nature to protect our children. They are now teenagers and have been in general less prone to infection than their peers. They also don't suffer any serious conditions (like asthma--which runs on both sides of our family) as do many of their vaccinated peers. We've had several bouts of whooping cough sweep through our community--never affected our kids, but a friend's adopted infant got it even though he was fully vaccinated. Of course, like the vast majority of such whooping cough sufferers, he pulled through just fine and gained more certain immunity from the infection than is possible from the very risky vaccine.

    Many Christians object to embryonic stem cell research in the treatment of disease because of their convictions of the sanctity of human life. Many of these same Christians are unaware that several vaccines were developed by U.S. pharmaceutical companies using lines of cells from aborted fetuses, however! This is the case, even though there were other ways to develop the vaccines. For more on that, see here:

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  4. Father, Bless. +
    I wanted to say that we also choose not to vaccinate, and yes, we definitely realize that there are risks either way. For us, also (as someone mentioned above me) it is not for the reason of faith being opposed to science, which we do not subscribe to, but rather to protect our children from the dangers that vaccines do have, such as the possible (probable?) connection to autism, as well as the harmful additives. For us, it is a PERSONAL religious issue, similar to how some women wear headscarves, and some do not (I choose to, but I don't imagine that's important), meaning that just as we, as a family choose to avoid smoking or pesticides in our garden, or other similar chemicals that we have learned to be harmful to our bodies, we also want to avoid injecting them into our children, because we feel that their risk of disease is less than the risk that these chemicals would pose, given where we live, and our focus on nutrition & hygeine. We have seen the same result as the prior poster: Our children had not gotten sick for the first several years of their lives, and then they got only a brief, mild fever that passed very quickly. This, when most people around us were getting colds/flus all winter, back-to-back. Our kids are susceptible to any disease, like everyone else, but we have seen that their immune systems are very strong with natural immunity, which has really done a great job protecting them so far. Like I said, either way has risks. Vaccinating or not. But we have prayerfully come to the decision to let their bodies do the job on their own. Not because of a holier-than-thou idea that others lack faith when they vaccinate. But we do prefer to let their own God-given immunity do the job, rather than companies that may have ulterior motives.