9 November 2022

A Christian View of Risk

Written by Joel Upton

The following article was first featured in the Affinity Social Issues Bulletin (Issue 51 – November 2022). Download the whole issue for free.

Risk is biblical

We live between two great truths: God is sovereign and has determined all things; man, made in his image, has responsibility to discern and act in accordance with his will and purpose. Our lives, bounded by these truths, are characterised by limited knowledge and uncertainty. And uncertainty gives rise to risk.

Risk is the likelihood, or probability, of some specified event or consequence occurring. Risk is associated with hazards, loss and harm, something detrimental (we tend to talk of the likelihood of positive consequences as just that: for example, the likelihood of sunny weather over the next three days is 80%). Your death is nearly 100% certain, but not quite so. Not all the sons of Adam have seen death and the possibility of the Lord’s return further reduces the likelihood.

Risks are very high when the specified consequences are great and the probability of them arising are high. Risks are very low when the consequences and their associated probabilities are low. Everything between these positions is a trade-off between consequence and likelihood.

Christians handle uncertainties and risks by walking through them hand in hand with God. If you want a breath-taking example of what a high-risk walk with God looks like, then consider 2 Corinthians 11:24-28 (ESV):

Five times I received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I was adrift at sea; on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers; in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. And, apart from other things, there is the daily pressure on me of my anxiety for all the churches.

Paul repeatedly experienced, welcomed and expected the high consequences of high-risk Christian work; risks in the form of physical dangers, deprivations and mental anxiety. Some risks arise for Christians because they are Christians. Risk is real, and risk is right.[1]

Social science literature, notably Beck[2] and Giddens[3], labels modern society as the ‘Risk Society’. It is characterised by increasing numbers of new risks generated by modern industrial society: risks arising from supplying our comforts and needs (power and heating generated via, for example, nuclear power); risks arising from workplace activities (manufacturing and construction); risks from negotiating our high street roads and from our national and international travel systems. More insidiously, tech gadgets bring benefits and risks which we are only beginning to understand and manage. Society expends considerable effort on understanding and mitigating these risks and much of this is good and worth striving for.

Amy Donovan, in her excellent Cambridge Paper Finding security in the ‘risk society’, quotes Beck: ‘Risk makes its appearance on the world stage when God leaves it’ and ‘Whoever believes in God is a risk atheist’.[4] While a biblical view of risk doesn’t appear to support this degree of antithesis between belief in God and risk, it nevertheless serves to remind us that we need to avoid being drawn into pursuing a low-risk, safe way of life which impacts on our work for Christ. 

Introducing his book Why Join a Small Church, John Benton points out:

To join a big and thriving church is not always wrong, but it is frequently the easy option. To join a little, needy congregation is not a decision to be taken lightly. It will probably require far more guts, love, resilience and spiritual exertion. But how the devil would love to herd Christians into a few big city centre churches, getting them to travel miles from their communities, and leaving vast tracts of our country with no viable witness for the gospel.[5]

Another term for ‘easy option’ is ‘low-risk option’. 

Risk has been and always will be a feature of this life. We can’t and shouldn’t seek to eliminate it because it is part of the God-given environment in which we are to outwork our relationship of trust, faith and dependence on him. It is clear, though, from Scripture that we are to seek to reduce the risks that we face. We see this, particularly in situations where the risks are highest.

War is frequently a high-risk venture where knowledge and understanding, experience, planning, preparation and organisation are key to reducing high-consequence risks. In Numbers 13, God instructs Moses to send men to spy or scout out the land he had promised them. This was an intelligence-gathering exercise, designed to help them prepare to take the land promised to them from the current inhabitants. It may also have been a test. Even though the land was promised to them and their conquest of it certain had they trusted God, they were nevertheless instructed to gather information which could be used to execute a takeover of the land, minimising (or at least reducing) the risks from conflict.

This exercise was a failure, with only Joshua and Caleb remembering and acting on the fact that God keeps his promises even when the odds appear to oppose this. Fast forward 40 years and Joshua, faithful Joshua, sends out spies. This was not an indication of a lack of trust, but the act of a godly man working with his God to minimise the uncertainties and help smooth the path to achieving God’s will. 

More generally, Proverbs 24:6 tells us that war is to be waged by wise guidance with the aid of many counsellors. That is knowledge from a variety of sources and perspectives, wisely considered and applied.

John Piper, in his book Risk is Right concludes, ‘Evidently God intends for us to live and act in ignorance and in uncertainty about many of the outcomes of our actions.’[6] As the subtitle indicates, a key point in Piper’s book is that though outcomes may be uncertain, the uncertainties should not prevent action after suitable consideration – Christian lives can be wasted waiting for a clarity of view that never comes. We need balance; not gung-ho but not risk averse. Joshua and Caleb’s contemporaries on their first excursion into the promised land were too risk averse and allowed the perceived risks to blind them to God’s promise. Joshua was neither gung-ho nor risk averse; he properly valued God’s promise, acted wisely and, 40 years later, triumphed.

We need and it is right to take risks, but it is also important that we apply knowledge and wisdom where we can to minimise them.

Risk in everyday life

How does the Risk Society deal with risks? Interestingly, not a great deal differently from a biblical approach. Developed nations, in particular, expend much effort to improve their knowledge of risks and collect data on seemingly random events to better identify patterns of risk and ways to control them.

For instance, both in the world of work and the home, deaths, serious injury and lesser consequences are commonplace and are usually labelled accidents. Accidents, by definition, are random events. However, despite occurring randomly we can, by collecting data over many accidents, identify patterns and grow knowledge. For instance, there are around 6,000 accidents a year in our homes in the UK which result in death.[7] Although these are random events, the number of accidents and deaths each year is a fairly stable figure. By collecting and analysing data of such events we can begin to understand the extent of a problem (its frequency) and also possible ways of reducing the associated consequences and the likelihood of occurrence.

Statistics can give us a glimpse of the truth lying within random events that are not intuitively obvious. Most of us will consider rock climbing a high-risk activity, but what about table tennis? Statistics from Germany and the UK show that the risk of dying from playing table tennis is 80% of the risk of dying from rock climbing.[8] Would you have imagined that horse riding is twice as risky as rock climbing and that swimming is six times as likely to result in death as rock climbing? 

Statistics give us the what, but we must dig deeper to find the why. In the sports above, the explanation for the (perhaps surprising) statistics lies in the higher threshold of competence and fitness required for mountain climbing compared to the more everyday and accessible activities. They suggest that a cardiovascular check-up might be beneficial before embarking on a vigorous swimming regime! Indeed, seek to join a gym and you’ll need evidence of medical fitness. 

It’s also important to understand the context of these risks. The comments of the organisation compiling these statistics on sporting activities point out that, ‘There will be accidents, like folk drowning on holidays, or being involved in road traffic accidents while cycling, but by and large it is safer than most of us would probably have thought.’[9]

If we cannot and should not seek to reduce risks to negligible proportions, how do we balance risks and risk reduction? An approach practised in the UK and other countries, primarily concerning workplace activities but also with a wider application (including biblical scenarios, as we shall see in a moment) is summarised by the acronym SFAIRP – so far as is reasonably practicable, or ALARP – as low as reasonably practicable.[10] The two terms mean essentially the same thing and at their core is the concept of ‘reasonably practicable’; this involves weighing a risk against the trouble, time and money (summarised as cost) needed to control it. 

This approach recognises the biblical position that it is not desirable – reasonable or practicable – to reduce risks completely, but that efforts should be made to reduce risks to a reasonable and practicable minimum. 

Although largely a trade-off between risk and cost, there is in the workplace an absolute backstop. Some risks are considered so great as to be intolerable; at this point, either the risk-generating activity should cease or, if it must continue, the costs to reduce the risk to a tolerable level may rise to normally unreasonable heights. 

What intolerable risks reveal 

The idea of intolerability can help clarify our thinking. For example, during the periods of Covid restrictions, Christians arrived at quite different views on the legitimacy of governments banning meetings in churches. Were views derived from biblical principles, implicit risk assessments, a desire to resist, or some combination of these? We can start to answer this question by asking how transmittable and potent the Covid virus would have to have been before we considered it untenable to continue meetings in our churches. Would there be an attrition rate amongst those gathering at which we would have welcomed state intervention, rather than resisted it? 

If, say, we met as churches and within minutes people became ill and some died, surely we would consider this intolerable and stop meetings until the risks to health and life were reduced to some level of acceptability. If we agree, then what is taking place is a trade between the benefits of resisting government interference and the benefits of working with the state to save lives. We usually resolve these questions by undertaking an implicit, often unspoken, risk calculation – a lesser of the two evils approach. For Covid, was the real but unquantifiable reduction in the risks to lives, and to lives lost, brought about by our contribution to government measures? Was the benefit of affirming the value and sanctity of life worth the cost of the unspecified benefits and downsides that an illegal protest would bring? More simply, what would you give up to save a life (in this very specific Covid context)? That was the question that lay before our consciences.

Risk and prayer

Having suggested that our biblical decision-making may be more risk-based than we might think, let’s consider how risk features in the core Christian activity of prayer.

It seems unlikely that many of us have thought of prayer in terms of risk. Rightly so, it’s arising from a personal relationship with God as we seek to know and do his will, not a consideration of statistical risk and the need to apply ALARP. However, if we step back for a moment and consider our prayer life – what we pray most earnestly and most often for and what we pray less earnestly and less often for – we can see from our understanding of risk that it follows a risk-based pattern. 

For example, perhaps the worst consequence we can conceive of is that someone – a relative, friend, or contact – will die without knowing the Lord. And if they do die without knowing the Lord, then there is no possibility of a reconciliation with God. Their eternal future is eternal separation from God. Surely our most earnest and heartfelt prayers are for these people. As they get older and the probability of death increases, do we pray more or less for them? I suspect we pray more. 

What is the chief purpose of our existence? To glorify God and enjoy him forever. Surely we pray earnestly for this; the spread of his kingdom, that his name would be glorified in all we do and all that is done in his name; that sin would not reign in our bodies.

Ingrowing toenails can be painful and needy of treatment, but we wouldn’t expect our prayers for these and similar ailments to dominate the church prayer meeting. In terms of our needs, we naturally pray most earnestly where the risks – detrimental consequences and likelihoods – are highest and where the threats to God’s glory as we experience them are highest and imminent. We direct our prayers where the power of individuals and the wider church at its best is utterly weak. We pray for kings and all who are in high positions; our boss, our company heads, our local authorities, our government, our monarchy, the Whitehouse, the Kremlin, and all peoples and nations.

God tells us to pray for situations where the consequences are incalculably large and where the probabilities of them occurring, by any effort of ours, are immeasurably small. While we can show our prayer life from one perspective is risk-based, 1 Timothy 2:1-2 shows that it is not to be risk bound. 

Risk and investment

In his paper, Investing as a Christian, Paul Mills discusses the biblical position on a wide range of common investment routes.[11] A key point made by Mills is that, for example, ‘harvesting where you have not sown’ (Matthew 25:24) is a prohibition on making money through taking an interest. Rather than Christians placing their investments in bank deposits, he contends the money should be used in a business venture or the like, which combines the elements of risk-taking and unpresumed profit. For context, he rates nine investment routes against five biblical criteria; personal stewardship, knowledge of use, equity/rent v. interest, non-hoarding and non-speculation. Employee share ownership schemes and owner-occupied housing come out best (most biblical) in the ratings and bank deposits and cash come off worst (less biblical). 

The relevance to us in the context of this article is that, should you accept Mills’ arguments, the Bible is advocating actively investing our money where, in general, the risks are highest (where we may or may not receive a profit share) and avoiding the safer, lower risk options such as bank deposits, pension funds and unit trusts. This moves us from a position where we acknowledge the uncertainties and risks in the world and seek to minimise them to one where we actively pursue higher-risk options. 

Perhaps a more general point we can extract from this brief foray into financial investment is to consider that money is one of the things God has gifted us to use for his service. God has given us other gifts and therefore these also should be used for his service in such a way that maximises the benefits for his kingdom. Where we risk more, the potential benefits are higher. That takes us back to Why Join a Small Church and other enterprises which demand more of us and our talents. They are riskier, but in turn they offer higher and more fruitful returns.

A New Testament lesson on dealing with risk

The use of knowledge and yes, the application of the modern-day concept of ALARP in a risky situation, is neatly demonstrated in Acts 27. There is a discussion between Paul and the centurion taking him to Rome on the relative risks of staying put at the current location of the ship or pushing on through likely bad weather to a more suitable winter harbour. There were two distinct sets of risks under consideration: one set is identified with and articulated by Paul; the other set is articulated by the centurion (as decision-maker) informed by the pilot of the ship and the owner. The other travellers and crew on the boat have some sway on the decision, but their concerns and reasoning are less clear.

Paul believed both the likelihood and consequences of a shipwreck – total loss of ship, cargo and potentially hundreds of lives – were sufficiently high to justify spending the winter in their current location and that the losses associated with a more suitable haven was a cost well worth paying. We can assume that Paul’s greatest concern would be for the potential loss of life, but nevertheless, he displays concern for the loss of the ship and cargo because this was likely a key consideration of the pilot and owner of the ship. The other group seemed to think that the probability of pushing on without incurring these losses was sufficiently high to justify the journey (‘…the chance that somehow they could reach Phoenix…’ Acts 27:12 ESV). In other words, the loss of ship, cargo and many lives was a risk worth taking. The risks everyone else seemed to be focusing on were those of the potential deterioration of the cargo (an unsuitable harbour) with the accompanying lack of income; the possible benefit of having a better and more agreeable town to winter in and, perhaps, the relatively short travelling time and exposure to the risks of only a day or so, if all went well.

This tension between very high consequence, high probability risk (as Paul saw it) and lower consequence but higher probability risk (which the majority of the ship seemed to embrace) has been replicated innumerable times throughout history and is commonplace today in industry, commerce and home. In the home, for example, you leave something on the stairs intending to take it up later. In the meantime someone comes down the stairs, steps on the object, slips and ends up dead – one of the 700 or so people who die every year in England from stair-related accidents – or hospitalised, one of 43,000.[12] The ALARP solution is, in this case, extremely low cost: take the object to its destination, or at least off the stairs. 

In the majority of these types of risk situations, it isn’t practical or possible to calculate relative probabilities of the two sets of risks with reasonable accuracy, any more than trying to do so in the context of an object on the stairs, although it is necessary to have some sense of their magnitude. The best and more robust approach to dealing with the uncertainties of probabilities is to identify what can be done to reduce the risks and implement them whenever possible; to do otherwise is often indistinguishable from gambling. 

We cannot be sure that Paul’s perception of the probability of a catastrophic shipwreck was more accurate than the view of the centurion and the others; it may or may not have been. More importantly, it seems, he recognised that given the imminence of the risk (they were close to the period when sailing in those waters was considered impossible), avoiding the consequences was worth the cost of a poorer winter harbour.

Paul’s solution was to stay put because the value of anywhere between 200 and 300 lives to him far exceeded the small cost of an unsuitable winter haven. His ALARP solution would be a modern-day no-brainer for someone who valued the lives of others.

Seeing and perception

Paul exemplified another feature of these types of scenarios. People who have never experienced or been brought close to a relatively low probability, very high consequence event − an event that can lead to death or worse, multiple deaths − often perceive the probability of occurrence as so low as not to be worth even a small sacrifice or cost. Paul had experienced three shipwrecks and had spent a night and a day adrift at sea. He knew first-hand the imminence of these dangers and the threat to life they posed. Most of us drive more carefully after a car accident or near miss simply because we are more aware of how quickly we can bring others and ourselves close to the point of death or serious injury and because we are brought to realise that even simple precautions can greatly reduce the risks. 

This is a feature of perception: it is built on personal experience. It is also influenced by scale. You can’t see a chair or a human being by focusing down on the dynamic quantum fields from which both are built (there are no particles). You have to step back and see the big picture. You can’t see, for instance, Covid risks by a peripheral scan of your local social group, particularly when serious consequences within that group are below the threshold of what you might consider as intolerable. Presence yourself in a hospital intensive care unit during peak Covid though and you would probably have seen the risks differently. A hospital can scale up your experience of Covid consequences by many thousands of times. 

But which perception do you act on? Let’s say the one which compels you most to identify and follow the best approaches to reducing the likelihood of the worst-case consequences.

The centurion and others rejected Paul’s advice, but God was good to them and although they lost both ship and cargo, the lives of all those onboard were spared. We shouldn’t see God’s graciousness in this situation as justification for the position the centurion and the others took on the risks to their lives, any more than when God brings good from our own bad decision-making.

Paul’s summary position seems to be that he recognised the huge consequences of sea travel at that time of year in that part of the world (primarily, the loss of life of others, not his own). Importantly, he put great weight on those consequences and assessed their imminence as sufficiently high to justify staying put, seemingly informed by his own direct experiences of sea travel and associated disasters.

In most situations, if faced with great consequences, our best approach to dealing with the risks is to assume something around a worst-case probability of their occurrence and then focus on what we can do to reduce them. This puts the emphasis on doing something obviously useful rather than debating contentious probabilities and consequences. It’s always possible to revisit the worst-case assumptions if the cost of any remedial effort is disproportionately costly and/or impracticable, but it rarely is.

Some Applications to the COVID-19 Pandemic

Face Masks

The wearing of face masks during Covid wasn’t particularly contentious, even when mandated by the government. Several extensive studies showed the wearing of masks was beneficial in preventing the spread of the virus to others and protecting the wearer.[13] No significant downsides were identified and mandatory wearing took account of those who might have medical reasons for not wearing masks. Reviews of the 1918 Spanish flu epidemic also indicated that regions and communities suffered less where masks and protective procedures were actively adopted, even though they were probably less effective than our Covid arrangements.[14] There was also an indication that the relatively enthusiastic attitude to take up these preventive measures in some regions led to (or were driven by) overall beneficial behaviours which, in unspecified ways, contributed to reduced suffering and death. 

Looking at the risks, the preventive efficacies and cost benefits were uncertain and so it was appropriate to apply the basic heuristic rule to risk reduction by asking; on balance, were masks beneficial in reducing the spread of Covid and associated death and serious health problems? The answer is yes. Were masks reasonably practicable, clearly yes – relatively cheap with some inconvenience, but tolerable for most people. Should we adopt masks? Yes, they were an easy, low-cost way of helping to save lives and reduce health risks.

However, it wasn’t uncommon for Christians to challenge the efficacy of mask-wearing and in some cases dismiss them as just rags. Disconcertingly, these views didn’t seem to consider any substantive evidence for or against them. For other Christians, masks were a sign of the Devil and therefore, with conscience firmly persuaded, there appeared to be no study, data or knowledge (biblical or otherwise), that could challenge this position. One key feature of conspiracy theorists is their unwillingness to consider alternative views and counter-evidence. For Christians adopting this approach, it leaves deep questions about how we are to reach a common mind on these and other matters. If we deliberately block access to the information and knowledge that would reasonably inform our minds and consciences (information and knowledge that is not offensive to God), how are these not-open-to-discussion, ring-fenced topics determined (that is, how do we decide what a no-go area for discussion is, and why) and how do we learn, change and grow?

Iain McGilchrist, in his books The Master and His Emissary[15] (around 600 pages) and The Matter with Things[16] (around 1,500 pages) establishes that our right brain hemisphere is perfectly capable of holding two contradictory views, or apparently contradictory views, but the left brain hemisphere is not. It wants certainty and if it doesn’t find it, it will create it. This and other left and right brain hemisphere characteristics have been established by a great deal of medical research. Once the left hemisphere has created its view, it will doggedly hang on to it, whatever the evidence. A primary theme in his books is that our current culture, illustrated (for example) by the woke agenda, is behaving as though driven by left-hemisphere thinking; creating certainty where it doesn’t exist and denying, or not even ‘seeing’, long-established truth and facts if they contradict its take on the world. An inevitably simplified warning for us that can be extracted from the 2,000 pages or so McGilchrist spends discussing this topic, is that we need to be careful not to jump to opinions because it eases the mental frustration of reconciling biblical tensions and viewpoints or because it takes too much time and effort to build a view. Nor should we just become fixated on a particular position. The left hemisphere is also adept at cherry picking information to support its precast view and will angrily resist challenges to that view.


In early 2021 John Piper was advising Christians to be wary of Covid vaccinations because of concerns over their genesis from aborted embryos,[17] but by October 2021 was promoting their take up.[18] This was because his earlier concerns had been shown, to his satisfaction, to be largely unfounded. His October 2021 position was also supported by risk data on the effectiveness and potential detrimental side effects of vaccinations. He also suggested the following risk-based approach as a means of directing the conscience.[19]

You have:

  • considered the risk of COVID as you watch hundreds of thousands of people die
  • considered the short- and long-term risks of the vaccines as you watch millions get the shots
  • compared the frequency of hospitalisations and deaths of those with and without vaccines
  • thought hard about the implications of foetal cell lines in the production and testing of the vaccines
  • rejoiced at the increasing evidence that natural immunity, developed after recovering from COVID, is as effective as vaccination immunity
  • pondered the likelihood and unlikelihood of conspiratorial conjectures. 

A similarly commendable rethink took place when Dave Brennan used 1 Corinthians 10:23-33 to argue against not taking the Covid vaccine,[20] again because of concerns over the history of its genesis and, for him, the associations with the prevailing abortion culture. Following his very clear call to challenge that view, he received challenges and graciously modified some of his views in light of them. 

Both of these examples illustrate how we can help avoid trapping our thinking and our consciences in a pool of self-referencing and self-supporting thoughts (an approach sectors of social media promote by presenting us with views we are most likely to agree with). Piper and Brennan do this by showing the value of critical review – from ourselves and by inviting others to challenge our thinking. Piper, in particular, illustrates the benefits of doing the hard work on reviewing the relative risks, selecting those which generate the most consequential benefits( in this case lives), and reviewing the likelihoods of alternative viewpoints as we seek to do what is right. All of this contrasts with the spirit of age where opinion (particularly incisive opinion), and slogans are rated more highly than careful reasoning and group thinking is valued more than free thinking.

Final considerations: risk and anxiety

Risk arises from uncertainty, but uncertainty also generates anxiety. Clinically, anxiety can be a debilitating, complex problem which significantly impairs our ability to function from day to day. Here, however, we are looking at this at a level that all of us have experienced to some degree and which, although it may impact our daily lives, isn’t unduly restrictive. Anxiety at this level is often related to either (or a combination of) concerns and worries about uncertain future events, or future events which are likely or very likely to happen, but which we’d rather not face. 

At the outset, it is worth pointing out that some feelings of anxiety can be addressed by rising every morning at a similar time and having a breakfast rich in fat and protein.[21] With this done, we can move on to another practical help. Since anxiety can be specifically linked with running backwards from future problems, it does help if we make a sensible plan for dealing with those problems.[22] That is, we acknowledge problems and walk towards them in a planned way. In making a plan we begin to take control; we can often avoid some uncertainties and, most importantly, we begin looking for ways to deal with the uncertain outcomes. It should be clear from earlier in this article that this is what the Bible encourages us to do. Recognise the problem, gather information and make a plan using, where possible, the wisdom and knowledge of others. Sometimes (for fairly high-probability events), it is also really helpful to consider the worst-case outcome and plan for it.

There are around 18 or so verses in the Bible which advise us on how to deal with anxiety. They range from an appropriate ‘good word’ in Proverbs 12:25 to one of the most comprehensive yet concentrated commands in the whole of Scripture:

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7)

The centrepiece of verse 6 is giving thanks to God because we recognise his sovereignty over all things, including the uncertainties of the life in this world which he has ordained for us. We cannot see and precisely plan for the future, but he has determined the future. We, therefore, stop being anxious when we trust the one who has determined our future. And we grow and deepen this trust through prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving. 

We live between two great truths: God is sovereign and has determined all things; man, made in his image, has responsibility to discern and act in accordance with his will and purpose. Our lives, bounded by these truths, are characterised by limited knowledge and uncertainty, and uncertainty gives rise to risk. We seek to minimise risk where we can, but not to be bound by it. We actively pursue risk in order to best use the gifts God has given us for his service. Risk is right. We are called to deal with the risks we face but ultimately peace, the true peace of God, is found by trusting him alone. 

I end with a challenge from Donovan:

Furthermore, the contentment that Christians find in their relationships is much deeper than any relief from anxiety and uncertainty that risk management can provide. The prevalence of fear in the modern world – hidden though it sometimes is behind the complex risk mitigation technologies that surround us – is an immense opportunity for Christians both to engage with the issues that drive the fear and to demonstrate that we live with a fundamentally different and eternal perspective.[23]

The above article was submitted by an independent, bona fide contributor, who, for professional reasons, has asked to remain anonymous. We are happy to agree to this request.

[1] See: John Piper, Risk Is Right: Better to Lose Your Life Than to Waste It (Crossway, 2013)

[2] See: Ulrich Beck, Risk Society: Towards a new modernity (London: Sage, 1992)

[3] See: Anthony Giddens, Runaway World: How globalization is reshaping our lives (London: Profile Books, 1999)

[4] See: Amy Donovan, Finding security in the ‘risk society’ (Cambridge Papers, 2015). Accessed online 4 November 2022: https://www.cambridgepapers.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/24-4-Finding-security-in-the-risk-society.pdf

[5] John Benton, Why Join a Small Church (Christian Focus, 2008)

[6] John Piper, Risk Is Right: Better to Lose Your Life Than to Waste It (Crossway, 2013). 19.

[7] https://www.rospa.com/home-safety/uk/scotland/research/statistics

[8] http://www.bandolier.org.uk/booth/Risk/sports.html

[9] Ibid

[10] For the UK see: https://www.hse.gov.uk/managing/theory/alarpglance.htm

[11] See Paul Mills’ chapter titled Investing as a Christian: Michael Schluter, Christianity in a Changing World: Biblical Insight on Contemporary Issues (Cambridge Papers Group, 2000) 204-215.

[12] https://www.simpsonmillar.co.uk/media/personal-injury/how-common-are-stair-related-accidents/#:~:text=But%20sadly%2C%20over%20700%20people,down%20stairs%20is%20even%20greater

[13] https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/science/science-briefs/masking-science-sars-cov2.html;

[14] https://www.history.com/news/1918-spanish-flu-mask-wearing-resistance

[15] See: Iain McGilchrist, The Master and His Emissary: The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World (Yale University Press, 2012)

[16] See: Iain McGilchrist, The Matter with Things; Our Brains, Our Delusions and the Unmaking of the World (Perspectiva, 2021)

[17] https://www.desiringgod.org/interviews/can-i-take-a-vaccine-made-from-aborted-babies

[18] https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/a-reason-to-be-vaccinated-freedom

[19] Ibid

[20] https://www.brephos.org/post/my-response-to-the-ea-s-webinar-on-the-ethics-of-covid-19-vaccines-part-4

[21] See: Jordan B. Peterson, 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos (Allen Lane, 2018 [Kindle Edition]) 17.

[22] See: Ibid, 350.

[23] Amy Donovan, Finding security in the ‘risk society’ (Cambridge Papers, 2015) 6. Accessed online 4 November 2022: https://www.cambridgepapers.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/24-4-Finding-security-in-the-risk-society.pdf

Written by
Joel Upton
Joel manages the day-to-day administration of Affinity working behind the scenes on anything from answering emails and producing our resources to managing our finances. Joel is a member of Christ Church Haywards Heath. He is married to Alexa and has four children.

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