FOLLOW OUR PODCAST ON (search opentheword):
There is a small group in Britain that goes by the acronym SPI-B. It sounds like some rogue government agency from a Mission Impossible movie and even fits this profile as some allege SPI-B helped the British government implement covert strategies that would deliberately manipulate and magnify people’s fear of COVID.
Hi my name is Dean Smith and before I talk about SPI-B, I want to first discuss Romans 8:15, where the Apostle Paul makes a curious statement about fear, when he writes:
‘Do not receive a spirit, that makes us a slave again to fear, but you received the spirit of sonship.’
The Greek word for fear in this verse is ‘phobos’, from which we get our English word phobia and describes a ‘terror or dread at the anticipation of harm.’ This word is describing an emotional state far beyond worry or anxiety.
And in the initial part of this verse, Paul makes two important points.
First he writes that we can receive a spirit of fear, which also implies we can reject it.
But this also suggests that a spirit of fear can come from an outside source. But Paul adds for this to happen we must first receive it. We must embrace it. We have to believe it, in order for it to have power.
Now it could have a demonic source, but in this instance I believe Paul is more likely talking about something else a mindset, a way of thinking.
Our minds can be overwhelmed by a spirit of fear.
The second thing we notice is that Paul states this spirit of fear wants to enslave you.
It wants to make you a prisoner.
It wants to be our master. It wants to own us. It wants to dominate all aspects of your life from your family to work.
And I am concerned that in light of recent events that many of us are unknowingly serving a new master — the fear of COVID.
I say unknowingly because some of us may not even be fully aware of the extent of our fear.
I know of a single Christian woman who is so terrified of COVID, she has problems sleeping at night. Even though, she is alone, completely safe in her home, COVID is still pursuing her late into the night. And how many people have I seen driving alone in their car with their masks on. Now maybe they just forgot to take it off, but I see it all the time.
Though we instinctively blame the arrival of COVID for this fear, there may be more to it than that.
In early April 2021, there was a disturbing article published in the Daily Mail, Britain’s largest newspaper, entitled, “The Convert Tactics’ used to scare Britons on staying home.”
The article reported that the British government used a committee called SAGE made up of epidemiologists, bureaucrats and other researchers, to help manage the government’s response to COVID, including the strict lockdowns that were imposed in the country.
But according to the article, SAGE did more than that, it also recommended psychological behavioural tactics to induce such terror and fear of COVID that people would willingly comply with the lockdowns.
Of course, the government denies it did this. But let’s continue.
According to the Daily Mail, there was a smaller group that was part of SAGE, called SPI-B (an acronym for the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Behaviour) that was providing advice on how the government could psychologically influence people’s behaviour during the pandemic.
In March 2020, SPI-B presented a paper expressing concerns that the British people weren’t terrified by COVID, particularly the young and healthy who are not vulnerable to the virus.
So using experts in psychological and sociological fields familiar with behavioural modification, SPI-B recommended tactics to create a nation-wide fear that would terrorize people into complying with the lockdowns.
The Daily Mail reports what SPI-B said writing:
‘The perceived level of personal threat needs to be increased among those who are complacent, using hard-hitting emotional messaging. To be effective this must also empower people by making clear the actions they can take to reduce the threat.’
The document, seen by the Telegraph, allegedly then gave 14 options for improving compliance including ‘use media to increase sense of personal threat’, which they said would be highly effective but runs the risk of ‘negative’ side effects.
Notice how SPI-B recommended using “hard hitting emotional messaging’ and the “media to increase the sense of personal threat.”
As information came to light about these tactics, psychologists and others accused the government of using “covert psychological strategies” to terrify people into submitting to the lockdowns. The psychologists noted that these tactics fell “below the level of awareness.”
In other words, they were covert and people were not even aware that the were being manipulated and controlled as the government employed specialized behavioural messaging to create “a state of heightened anxiety.”
Even members of SAGE subsequently came forward stating that they knew the British people were being subjected to “a psychological experiment without being told what is happening.”
Incredibly, this sounds like a disturbing plot out of some dystopian movie.
Of course, the British government denied doing this or have I mentioned that already.
Perhaps not coincidentally, stories started appearing in the media of how young people were dying from COVID. Bereaving parents were telling their heartbreaking stories of how their children had been taken by COVID.
These are very sad stories, but it is important that we keep them in perspective. I remember reading an article on CNN describing the death of a 20-year-old man from COVID. This is very rare and you had to read to the tenth paragraph to find out he had very serious underlying medical issues that made him extremely vulnerable to the virus.
How many people, though, make it to the tenth paragraph?
An article about the Canadian province of British Columbia revealed that nearly two-thirds of their COVID deaths are from nursing homes. And how many of the remaining third were over the age of 70 and living at home.
Though this is again heartbreaking for the families involved, we need to keep this in perspective.
Other tactics included exaggerating the projected death counts from COVID. At one point, the British government ominously warned of 4,000 deaths a day from COVID if people did not comply with the lockdown. Those in charge knew these nightmarish projections were the absolutely worst case scenarios and would never take place. They were also claiming that hospitals and ICUs would be overrun.
According to the Daily Mail, in November 2020, a member of SAGE, expressed regret over ‘frightening’ people with those statistics.
As the British people were subjected to these behavioural modification tactics, it had a negative psychological impact on people as they developed an irrational fear of COVID.
Critics noted that this heightened sense of terror resulted in people becoming “to frightened to attend hospital.”
People with severe medical conditions such as heart issues, and cancer, were so terrified of COVID, they were too scared to even go to the hospital or even to their doctors to seek help.
But it was not just Britain. In July last year, USA Today was reporting that about a third of Americans were missing cancer screenings because they were too terrified of COVID to seek medical attention.
As similar tactics were employed around the world, this is exactly what the Apostle Paul was warning about — don’t receive a spirit of fear.
And perhaps one of the best indicators of the effectiveness of these covert tactics, are the polls that expose how terrified people are of COVID that has been transformed in our minds into a far larger monster than it actually is.
In an article entitled, “Unjustified fears’ published in a major Canadian newspaper, the National Post, columnist Tristin Hopper discussed several polls that revealed how people believe COVID is far more dangerous than it actually is.
A Dutch survey revealed that people believe COVID is as dangerous as ebola that has a 50% mortality rate. Depending on your age COVID’s survival rate ranges from 99.5% to 99.99%.
A French survey showed that people believed one in six people who caught COVID died. If this was the case, then over one million people would have died of COVID in that country instead of the 107,000 who actually did.
In America, another survey revealed that people believed 40% of the COVID deaths involved people under the age of 55. In fact, it is only 7.3%, and showed their fear of COVID was six times larger than it actually once.
In an interview with the National Post, Arvis Lavranos an ER doctor from Canada stated:
“Unjustified fears of COVID are very, very real. It’s almost maddening trying to change the public perception.”
In other words, though the world is returning to normal, people have been so terrorized by government, health officials and the media they are still enslaved to their fear of Covid.
We need to respect COVID, but we should not be terrorized by it.
In a recent Ted Talks, David Eberhard, a leading Swedish psychiatrist warned that people need to overcome the fear that has overtaken society because of COVID.
He told his audience:
“If you are afraid, you will be very easy to control.”
Like Paul said we become a slave to fear.
Eberhard went on to explain that even though the death rate from COVID is only 0.2%, because we are being inundated daily by the media of people dying of COIVD, many believe that anyone who catches COVID will die.
He says many countries have been over come with what he calls National Panic Syndrome. A spirit of fear has rested on whole countries.
We need to overcome our fear and start living our lives.
Eberhard went on to say:
“Whatever you do, remember that life is not about living the longest, but the best. If you live in fear and isolation, there is no point in living. Don’t lock yourself in and don’t let others do it to you.
So what is the answer? The Apostle Paul says first we must not receive the spirt of fear and then secondly we must understand our identity in Christ.
He says we must put embrace the spirit of sonship.
But noticed how Paul words this, he says that you have already received the spirit of sonship, that is the past tense.
When you became a Christian you were adopted into the Kingdom of God.
It involves an identity shift and we need to start believing and living like we are a child of God and coheirs with Christ.
Reject fear, embrace Christ.
READ: The ‘covert tactics’ used to scare Britons into staying at home: How SAGE document called for increase in ‘perceived threat’ of Covid using ‘hard hitting emotional messages’ AND Unjustified fears: When COVID anxiety stops making sense AND: Psychiatrist urges people not to live in fear of COVID: ‘If you are afraid you will be very easy to control’ AND People ‘afraid to go to doctors’: A third of Americans miss cancer screenings, survey suggests