It may be news to some that computers can get viruses, but it is true. Computer viruses are programs created by computer hackers up to no good. They can do a great deal of damage. If you import files from other computers via computer disks or over the Internet, your computer is susceptible. Computer viruses are much like biological viruses. Their main activity is replication. If not stopped they will take over their host.
Fortunately, computers can be inoculated pretty much as people can. When a person is inoculated they are given a vaccine which contains dead or weakened versions of the virus. This on the surface does not seem logical. You save people from a viral disease by injecting them with the virus? But it works. The vaccine enables the person to develop an immunity to the disease. What is true for computers and biological life can also be true of spiritual life, sometimes in not so good ways. It has been remarked that some people have just enough religion to keep them from getting the real thing. They have been "inoculated." No doubt, this is true.
There can also be good spiritual inoculations. Mark Heim has suggested that the cross might be viewed as something like a vaccine. He writes: "It may even appear to run counter to the natural wisdom of those it can help, for inoculation is done with the very agent which is causing sickness and death...It is a shock to our system, even as it works through our system and restores it to health. It cannot save without conversion."
May we all be inoculated with that vaccine.
©1996 C. David Hess