Coronavirus appears to have made the transition from bats being sold for consumption in an open market in Wuhan, China, and now virtually every country on Earth is dealing with the pandemic that has killed thousands of people, most of them elderly.
Now, as we all deal with the challenges of safe distancing from one another, working from home whenever possible and following the news, here’s something to think about: Would bats not be eaten in Wuhan or elsewhere in China if the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) regime in Beijing were not actively and ruthlessly trying to suppress Christianity?
Here’s the reality: If China’s growing Christian population were instead allowed to practice their faith openly and share the Bible, including both the Old and New Testaments, with their fellow citizens, hundreds of millions of people in the world’s most populous country would know God warned the Hebrews millennia ago in Leviticus 11:19 not to eat or even touch bats because they are “unclean.”
China has long had a significant culinary demand for the killing and eating of all sorts of exotic animals, including bats, snakes, raccoons and beaver. The Wuhan market was “wet,” that is, animals were killed and skinned out in the open, then prepared for consumption.
An openly practicing Christian community would have added immense strength to the calls of others in China who recognized for their own reasons that eating bats and other exotics was a bad idea. It wouldn’t have happened overnight but it seems entirely reasonable to think it would have definitely made a huge difference.
Writing on the Apologetics Press, Kyle Butt shares some key facts about bats and the Bible:
“Bats are the only mammals that can truly fly, but it turns out that they have other unique characteristics that separate them from most (if not all) other mammals.
“In a project headed by Dr. Peng Zhou, an international research team did extensive studies on bats. Bats are hosts to 100 different viruses, many of which are harmful or even lethal to humans.
“The team wanted to discover how bats can carry so many, and such deadly, viruses without getting sick themselves. Turns out that bats have a special ability …”
What’s that special ability? Go here for the rest of Butt’s fascinating analysis of bats and Moses, thus prompting the question of whether knowing the Old Testament could have prevented the current pandemic and saved thousands of lives the world over?
UPDATE: Just to be clear, this post is not intended to suggest that Christians today should follow Old Testament dietary laws. Speaking as somebody who can never get enough fried shrimp, I have culinary, to say nothing of theological, issues with any suggestion that those laws remain applicable to followers of Christ.
In addition, the post was not intended to suggest that a freely evangelizing Christian presence in China would by definition have prevented human consumption of bats. Rather, the effect over time of a wide-spread recognition born in part of such freedom would have encouraged the recognition of solid health-related reasons to avoid consuming biblically unclean animals like bats. Sorry for the confusion, for which I take the entire responsibility.
Finally, for those pointing to the passage at Acts 10:9-29 in which the Lord instructs Peter about eating with Gentiles and “unclean” creatures, the creatures on the blanket are described as “all kinds of four-footed animals, as well as reptiles of the Earth and birds of the air.”
UPDATE II: Boy, some days you get the bear and some days the bear gets you. This one has been the latter for yours truly. It’s been pointed out to me that the ancient Israelites considered bats to be birds, so my reading of the Acts passage was in error, as was my reading of the Leviticus passage. Well, at least I did spell bats and China correctly. My apologies to my readers.
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