The human world can be divided into those who strongly believe in God, those who only weakly believe and those who do not believe.
Those who do not believe are very few in number and generally they are those who in childhood had some form of an absurd manmade religion rammed down their throats. Without any spiritual experience, they therefore, quite naturally after such an experience, insist that they do not believe in the God they were forced to believe in. Their only sad belief is in fallible and mortal man. Their only (tragic) hope is this life, this world, and the possibility that they may have long lives.
Those who strongly believe in God are also a minority, though a far larger minority than those who do not believe. This is because they believe because of a positive spiritual experience. Indeed, it is not so much that they believe in God, but that they know God. They are those who are conscious that God is and that without Him, we cannot exist. They do not believe in man (especially after the mass inhumanity towards man shown by the militant atheist ideologies of the twentieth century), they believe in infallible and immortal God. They know that they will die and they know that death will come when God wills (which is why we do not seek death of our own will).
The middle group are the majority. They are those who believe only weakly. We see them at church every Sunday. They are the ones who reappear after a year or two or more of absence because they have had some problem and need help. These are people who may live quite sinfully but when a difficulty appears, they turn back to God, Who, as they know, underpins reality and is always here, despite their sinful ways. Such people are often superstitious, they may believe in God as in a sort of magic, a kind of primitive animism. ‘Make the sign of the cross for good luck’. ‘Drink some holy water and the cancer will go away’.
On the negative side, such people often use God to justify any sort of evil and personal sin. (Obviously you would not use a base cause to justify base acts – use something noble, the noblest cause of all – God). For example in the First World War German soldiers wore a belt with the inscription ‘Gott mit uns’, ‘God is with us’, though they at the same time sang ‘Deutschland ueber alles’, ‘Germany above everything’, i. e, Germany is above God. And the English boasted that ‘God is an Englishman’. (Lately a Georgian priest told me that God only speaks Georgian, though I have heard similar nonsense from weak-faithed, flag-waving Greeks and Russians). This is just like contemporary Ukrainian fanatics, for whom ‘Ukraine is above all’. Such people can also use the concept of God to justify their personal fanatical beliefs or psychological perversions. Such was George Bush whom ‘God told’ to invade Iraq, leading to the deaths and mutilations of hundreds of thousands. Such also are Muslim terrorists. The concept of God is always used by sinners to justify their sins. This is, of course, not the work of God, but the work of man. Never believe those who claim that, ‘God told me’.
On the positive side, those who only weakly believe are also those whose lives may be changed by the present crisis. Bullied and intimidated by the atheist media, they have fallen into hysteria and panic as a result of a weak faith. This is the opportunity for them to pray and repent, as it is for all. This is the spiritual meaning of the present crisis.
Sadly, it now seems that there will be no public services at Easter. At best services will be livestreamed. This will be like Easter in the Soviet Union. With nearly all churches closed, people prayed at home.
At present this tragic epidemic has killed nearly 50,000 people worldwide (95% of them aged over 70). This is about 10% of the death toll caused by swine flu eleven years ago. However, this time it is Western countries which have been the most affected for the time being. Nobody knows what the coming weeks and months will bring. All we know is that this will end and that all is in God’s hands. Have faith.