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4 reasons why the body of Christ should play a role in disease eradication

• Vaccines Research Lab - CC-BY-NC-ND by Novartis AG • Part two of a three part Interview with Jeffrey Havenner

Brian Lowther: Other than prayer and funding, in what way do you think the body of Christ could play a role in eradication? Can you envision an organization like One World Health being established by a group of believers with eradication of a specific disease as their goal? Or is this an impossible dream?

Jeffrey Havenner: As far as research on diseases goes, much of that effort is associated with academia which is NOT welcoming to overt Christian participation. Most efforts to do research on disease seem to be based on humanitarian desires to do good and give back. I do believe that a lot of our drive to embrace causes of this kind arises from what might be called memories from Eden that seem to be hard wired into our brains. These appear to go back to God's design of and subsequent command to Adam and Eve to have dominion and to replenish the earth.

Science and theology have been at some odds since the Age of Reason dawned in the 18th Century. Scientists and science students who are motivated by faith in God have faced and continue to face a deep bias against them in academia in favor of humanism. A single mention of creation or "intelligent design" even casually is enough to get one blackballed from many scientific institutes. Thus Christians in the halls of academia tend to be as private about their faith as a convert to Christianity would have to be in Saudi Arabia or Afghanistan.

A Christian organization dedicated to fighting disease in God's name is definitely not impossible. Initially it might resemble the Institute for Creation Research which does actual science but gets no respect or acknowledgement from the secular scientific community.

  1. Unlike Creation Research which might seem esoteric to the average person, an overtly Christian organization in the fight against diseases that threaten humanity has the potential to have a direct impact on human well being. 
  2. Research that actually contributes to finding cures for dread diseases like cancer or AIDS/HIV will draw attention and funding if it can document promising results. 
  3. In fact such an organization might approach the issues in a more honest way, rather than from a dogmatic fashion that presumes the answers it wants. 
  4. I tend to believe that God might well bless an effort to glorify Him through such research as He blessed Joseph in a national effort to avert famine in Egypt.

Jeffrey Havenner is a retired microbiologist who worked at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research in the Department of Rickettsial Diseases.  

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