Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: one of the results of previous pandemics throughout history was an increased interest in our eternal destiny (heaven, hell and judgement). I pointed out in my book it’s important for churches to address these questions now. Focus more of your preaching and teaching on these topics to meet the needs of the post-pandemic population.
Here’s a reminder from some recent research that the topic of the afterlife is increasingly important to people in a post pandemic period.
As COVID-19 Death Tolls Rise, More Americans Want Religious Funerals
The trend toward secular memorials reverses for the first time in a decade.
by DANIEL SILLIMAN|CHRISTIANITY TODAY, DECEMBER 13, 2021.
Death abounded in America in 2020 and 2021. According to preliminary data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 570,000 more people died in 2020 than in 2019, with about 350,000 of those attributable to COVID-19. Another 350,000 people died from the coronavirus by the fall of 2021, bringing the death total to 700,000—and counting.
When roughly that number died over the four years of the Civil War, it had a widespread impact on American culture. Historians such as Drew Gilpin Faust, author of This Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War, say changesincluded increased attention to cemeteries, the rise in the importance of family photographs, and rapid growth in the popularity of practices of spiritualism, a new religious movement that claimed to help people communicate with the dead.
What impact today’s pandemic deaths will have on American culture remains to be seen. But one shift is notable now: The percentage of people age 40 and older who say that religion is “very important” in the funeral of a loved one has gone up for the first time in a decade.