Today is World AIDS Day. In the Unites States right now, it is estimated that over 1 million people have AIDS (Often referred to as HIV/AIDS). AIDS is a terribly tragic viral disease which breaks down the body’s immune system, therefore providing no defense against diseases. Those who have AIDS eventually succumb to this lack of immunity and die.
As stated earlier, recent statistics (2008) tell us that an estimated 1 million people in the United States currently have HIV/AIDS (http://www.avert.org/usa-statistics.htm; http://www.avert.org/usa-transmission-gender.htm).
Consider these U.S. statistics:
– Over half (63%) of adult and teenage males who have become infected with HIV/AIDS contracted the disease through homosexual sexual contact.
– 17% of males were infected through intravenous drug use.
– 12% were infected through heterosexual sex.
– About two-thirds (73%) of women and female teens contracted the disease through heterosexual contact, including sexual and intravenous drug users.
Then, there are the even sadder statistics in which over 9,000 children received HIV/AIDS through mother-to-child transmission.
As a Christian, I understand AIDS to be a result of the Fall. It was from Adam’s disobedience that sin entered into the world and began to adversely affect the entire creation. One of the results of the Fall was the introduction of a multitude of diseases, AIDS being one of them. In addition to the genetic and spiritual effects of sin, it has also progressively warped and perverted God’s once perfect creation, and brought about new and more deadly diseases and plagues throughout history.
I see the spreading of AIDS as the result of sin. Let me be clear: I am not a raving, “Bible-thumping” fundamentalist. I would never suppose that AIDS is a curse sent by God to punish certain people. I don’t have the authority to presume for God, nor would I be that callous and unloving to make such a claim. I am at odds with the people who do.
If we look at the bare statistics, the majority of AIDS cases stem from illicit sexual contact, particularly of the homosexual variety. I don’t have the numbers in front of me, but I am willing to wager that the majority of AIDS transmissions also occurred outside the safe confines of a biblical marriage.
This issue goes much deeper and is not limited to any social group. AIDS affects us all, because we are all sinners by nature and by choice.
AIDS is not a minor issue, but it is not the major issue. Sin is the major issue. The question of what will we do about that sin is the most major of all issues.
Yes, AIDS is a terrible disease. But, today, on World AIDS Day, we, as the church, should pause to think about an even bigger issue: That Jesus shouldered the sins of adulterers, homosexuals, pornographers, drug addicts, child abusers, and you and me.
Jesus came to save us, not merely from AIDS, but from the dreadful and deadly underlying sin that results in diseases like AIDS. It is a horrid thing that a person would die from AIDS. It is a much more horrific thing that a person would die in their sins.
For all the awareness World AIDS Day may bring to this dreadful disease and to those affected by it, the fallacy of World AIDS Day is it seeks to bring attention only to the results of sin, and not the sin itself. It focuses on the temporal cure, and not the eternal cure.
_Roger Upton 12/01/11