The Crucible of the Grand Inquisitor

The Sunday discussion of this week’s Adult Bible Study Guide begins with this quote:

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at
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Wow…no wonder John Gielgud was knighted. I recommend watching the video…it is unnerving.

Since I don’t have the “quarterly” I have little idea why this vignette was introduced since nothing of its import has been discussed, only mentioned obliquely. Except for the video, of course.

The Spanish Inquisition is obviously a “Catholic” atrocity; however, the “Great Inquisitor” brings it all the way home, even to the doorstep of the Protestant church, as it speaks to the human condition that plagues us all - the need for certainty - a guarantee from God to meet our every human need for miracle, mystery, and authority. All three were rejected by Jesus in the wilderness, of course. The church stepped in to fill the void created by earthly (tempolar) uncertainty a lack of earthly bread; safety; community that’s offered by the church, organized. All void of the freedom offered in Christ.

I remember reading the grand inquisitor several years ago. It is one of the classic and greatest descriptions of a certain type of religious thinking.

I take issue however with your take on certainty. The most certain people today have been those that have suppressed views that are country to theirs such as those who imposed lockdowns and suppressed different views from their‘s on the pandemic. And this was done all in the name of science.

The faithful can be certain about their Lord‘s presence in their life, but perhaps not so certain about actions required to follow him. However contemplation on scripture and the lives of great Christians can help in this regard.

How about a seven day creation? Can we be certain about that? Can the evolutionists be certain that they are correct? I believe everyone should stand for what he believes until he is convinced otherwise. That does not mean that he condemns his fellow men because they disagree with him, such as the Covid suppressors did. And I don’t think that the Adventist church has taken the position of the grand inquisitor. I haven’t heard the GC killing anyone because of their disbelief. Jumping to the possibleity of such conclusions is ridiculous.

i’m not sure it was ever a question of condemning anti-vaxxers for being anti-vax so much as it was keeping them out of places where they could infect innocent people…we really did have a communicable disease that vulnerable people were dying from, and it was the case that people who weren’t vaxxed were a danger to themselves and others, in addition to being a huge drain on the healthcare system…

whatever anyone wanted to believe about the vaccines was always their own business until it started having the potential to adversely affect others…i don’t see that the government had much choice…


The lockdowns were hugely detrimental, and did not help keep the disease from spreading. Masks had no effect whatsoever, unless you wore an N 95. The government shut down the economy, probably to harm Trump, but harmed the whole nation. If you compare the great Barrington Proposal with the Snowden letter, you would find that the Barrington proposal which was rejected was actually what should’ve been done. That is, sequester the vulnerable and allow the rest of the nation to continue living as they did before. The CDC did a great disservice to the country and they lost much credibility.

The anti-VAX or‘s mainly harmed them selves. Such as smokers do when they’re kept away from indoors smoking. Their contribution was small compared to the detriment that the people promoting shut downs and mask mandates did. To mention anti-VAX or‘s and not mention the terrible consequences of shut downs and the fear mongers that promoted masks is to ignore the bigger issue.


Here in the UK, our government followed a similar path with locking down the country (as did most countries around the world as recommended by Who) and its estimated to have saved around 400,000 lives so far. Some argue that our lockdown didn’t happen quick enough or deep enough (not drastic enough) and off course there was a significant minority that refused to take the advice that caused a second lockdown and stretched medical facilities almost to breaking point.

There is off course some concerns now about the long term effects of the lockdown but ultimately governments have a responsibility to protects its citizens and individuals who ignore public health advice are just being selfish, plain and simple.

What is annoying is when we Christians (including SDA’s) prefer to harm our friends and neighbours in the name of own rights of conscience. Talk about a religious oxymoron!!!


i think you may be forgetting recent history…when governments imposed lockdowns, their choice wasn’t lockdowns vs. normal, pleasant life…their choice was lockdowns vs. out-of-control infection rates, overwhelmed hospitals, and sky high death rates…for the most part, lockdowns were instituted before the availability of vaccines…lockdowns and mask mandates were really the only tools available…these weren’t imposed in order to shut the economy down so that Trump could look bad (he was doing that on his own steam), but because lives needed to be saved and protected…governments all over the world were acting to fulfill their first duty, which was their responsibility to protect the lives of their citizens…

and the lockdowns worked…here in Canada, every time a province instituted a lockdown, covid numbers crashed, and eventually hospital numbers eased, and there was a dramatic drop in deaths…of course lockdowns stifled the economy, and so they were never allowed to last long, however effective they were…but every time a lockdown was lifted, covid infections increased, and hospital numbers and death rates increased…there were never any exceptions…

things started to improve dramatically when 80% and more of the population were vaccinated…this is when vaccine passports were put in place, and so complete lockdowns for the entire population was avoided…vaccine passports enabled the vast majority of people to resume living somewhat normal lives, yet it was still the case, at least initially, that hospitals were overwhelmed with unvaxxed individuals, who also represented the vast majority of covid deaths…this particular fact, consistent across the country, is why the public lost all sympathy for anti-vaxxers…

as of now, we don’t have lockdowns or mask mandates (we still have mask mandates at Canadian airports and on airplanes), and we don’t have high hospital and death numbers, but this is because of the combination of near universal vaccinations and the fact that the variants circulating now, while highly infectious, aren’t as virulent…

and the economy is slowly improving…inflation is high in all developed countries because governments doled out so much cash to save businesses from crashing…but now that these businesses are able to make it on their own, inflation is slowly easing…of course the war in Ukraine and persistent trade bottlenecks aren’t helping the situation, but the fundamentals in most first-world economies - easing inflation, low unemployment - are sound…we will eventually return to pre-pandemic conditions…

but the point is that lockdowns were never part of some grand design by governments to kill off the population or turn the world communist…honestly, this portrayal by extreme elements in the GOP, including Magaventists, is completely false…in fact lockdowns were instituted to save lives and ultimately our capitalist democracies at a time when there truly was no other choice…now that they’re no longer needed, governments aren’t instituting them, which they would be if their goal was to kill off the population and turn the world communist…


No, there was a choice to allow the less vulnerable to be allowed to liver freely, and the vulnerable to be “locked down”, that is the proposal of the Great Barrington declaration. Now, at the beginning, it wa not clear, but became clear shortly. The lockdowns should have ceased. The media condemned the so called “Let her rip” strategy as dangerous, but the lockdowns caused great harm, with little if any benefit.

Where did you get that number? And just because WHO said it was good, does not mean it was so.

I had done much reading in the past about masks, reading the studies on them. But now, going to Google, and trying to find papers discussing the inadequacy of masks, they are not there. I was surprised at the suppression of data showing the down side.

The best studies of such strategies are randomized trials. There were two, a Danish study and a study out of Bangladesh. The Danish study was smaller, and showed no benefit.

The larger Bangladesh study showed slight benefit that diminished over time.

The raw numbers for the Bangladesh study (350,000 were included in the study) showed that out of 100 who did not wear masks, 8.7 or so developed symptoms, and out of 100 who did, 7.6 developed synptoms. Seropositivity was way less, and one comment I saw, said that the difference was 20 cases in mask wears out of about 175,000 was the only difference. That is insignificant.

The study showed that cloth masks were useless (these are the ones that all the children wear) and that overtime use of any masks decreased in effectiveness. The study lasted for 6 to 8 weeks. This was the best study.

The unwillingness to give up mask mandates that are useless is astounding. And on airplanes with a huge air exchange rate?? follow the science, and it has not been done here.

But if you read the media coverage cited on Google, you would think that there a real great benefit, and that there were no problems with masks. I was shocked at its bias. I read Realcelarpolitics for news, and they do cover the negative comments about the study and others as well, and the uselessness of lockdowns.

No such benefit wa shown elsewhere. Italy where they were really locked down had no benefit, while Sweden, who did not lock down had a medium death rate. I saw a study comparing Sweden with Norway (Norway had a quite low number of per capita deaths), this study seeming to show the detrimental effect of sequestration of the vulnerable strategy, but you have to look more broadly than just two countries. There was little match with lockdowns and per capita mortality.

As far as the government trying to kill the people or other conspiracies, my thoughts are speculation, something liberals do rather, well, liberally. But lockdowns were not helpful, and have harmed many people.

The stats I got came from the official report from the DHSC - heading shown below so is devoid of political interference and press bias.

Direct and Indirect Impacts of COVID-19 on Excess Deaths and Morbidity: Executive Summary

Department of Health and Social Care, Office for National Statistics, Government Actuary’s Department and Home Office

The paragraph on the executive summary states the following:

We estimate that from the 32,000 COVID-19 deaths registered between 21st March and 1st May, 25,000 were “excess deaths” in that they would not have occurred otherwise within 1-year. Under the COVID-19 Static Scenario (CSS), it is estimated there would be an additional 53,000 COVID-19 deaths to March 2021, 42,000 of which would be “excess deaths”. In total this equates to 530,000 lost Quality Adjusted Life Years (QALYs) and 700,000 Years of Life Lost (YLL) over the 12 month period (21st March 2020 to 19th March 2021).

For people who contract COVID-19 and survive, there are likely to be morbidity impacts particularly amongst those hospitalised and needing critical care, including cognitive, physical and mental health impairments. We estimate these equate to 40,000 lost QALYs within 1-year. The long-term health impacts are unknown.

The number I quoted was actually referencing a QALYs number which is used to standardise how the mortality numbers are arrived at. I could explain further if you wish but the point was primarily how the UK measured the effect of lockdown compared to the base mortality. This particular report didn’t detail the effect of mask wearing versus non-mask wearing but getting accurate measurements on that would probably be very difficult.

Thank you for your post.

Here is the problem. The stats are estimates of lives saved by shutdowns, but do not reflect what would have happened if there had been a different strategy. I understand what the stats for excess deaths are, which is the best measure of actual covid effects. But different strategies had very differnt death rates. In Europe, different strategies were tried with way different results. Sweden was the one county that did not shut down. And it had per capital death rate in the middle of the group, some very shut down.

Yes, so it is not known what the rate would have been if only the vulnerable were sequestered, and the rest were allowed to live their lies normally. So inspite of being locked down, there was excess mortality, and the only way to tell is to compare those that did not lock down with those that die, and compute the excess death rat in each country. The whole experiment was not controlled so we do not know, but comparisons show terrible economic harm with little benefit from lockdowns.

I have cited the two maask studies with control, They showed no real benefit from masks. So your study did not measure marks effect. So? Others have and have shown that they did not work. I have cited the best studies on masks, yet you do not acknowledge that, or cit other data that may seem to support your positions. Why not discuss that?

And school closures were not done in Europe but in America, where leaning was inhibited.

I didn’t see the two reports that you sited showing no difference in wearing/non-wearing of mask. Would be good to have a read and get an understanding of sample size and in general their methodology.

Here in the UK, the few reports on mask wearing were self reporting and was very subjective so difficult to come to any conclusions but happy to see any other reports that might do the subject justice.

I try to follow where the data leads rather than commentaries but off course I’m fully aware that data can be read to support whatever views are being pushed.

There seems to be a narrative right now to condemn the lockdown implemented by various governments around the world and I’m my opinion, the vaccines/boosters have done the trick so far and governments cannot justify another lockdown but the originals ones were justified.

Sorry for replying os late. 44 min to go.

I sense you have a grasp of the covid situation, but I am surprised you are not aware of the two random control trials on masks. They are the Danish study, and the Bangladesh study. The danish one was a smaller group, and the Bangladeshi something like 350,000. They were not perfect, but the only ones that had a control group. Just google Banglidish study and Danish story on masks. You can check them yourself.

As far as lockdowns, I can see the logic for doing so at the beginning, but after a few months it was clear they had little effect. To check if they were successful,compare the countries and states that did them, and those that did not. The results are a scattergram. Also, to compare islands and more continental countries does not give an accurate comparison.

I don’t think they saved 400K lives. And I don’t think that can be proven scientifically. The other problem is the counties that post results. China says that they only had 4 deaths per 100,000 which seem quite unlikely.

Again sorry for the late post.

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