Today I have an article featured on the Life section of Provoketive Magazine online. Provoketive is a great site that takes an unconventional look at issues of faith.
My piece addresses the under-reported medical fact that HIV doesn’t actually kill people – it merely allows other bacteria, viruses or infections to do the actual killing. That pattern is ironically similar to sin.
Here’s an excerpt from How Sin Mirrors HIV:
Death Lives Within Us
We all know there are bacteria and other microscopic organisms within our bodies right now that could kill us. As long as each of those simple, yet potentially harmful, life forms stay in the region of the body they’re supposed to, they’re not a threat.
However, if they spread or move out of their “designated area” – that’s where the trouble begins. For instance if the e-coli bacteria in your lower intestines was somehow introduced farther up your digestive track there is a strong likelihood that you would get very sick and even die. That potential for death abides in all of us right now, that’s how we were created.
In addition, there are dozens of more common microorganisms and viruses all around and inside the body that could kill if it wasn’t for something else we were created with – that “something else” is our immune system. The immune system is one of the best defenses we have against sickness and disease.
Our Immune System Protects Against Current and Future Illness
There are many facets and aspects of the immune system, which are very complex – but basically it has three primary functions:
1. To keep potential pathogens that exist within your body in check;
2. Fight against the attack of other harmful pathogens from outside the body that somehow invade the closed physical system;
3. It also prepares itself against future invasions.
Point number three is the basis for vaccine technology. Basically a vaccine is a nonlethal dose of some dangerous virus or bacteria that’s introduced into the physical system, to allow the body to build up a resistance against that specific threat.
That’s in fact, exactly how the influenza, measles, mumps and rubella fever vaccines all operate.
But it’s our immune system that does the actual work – it’s the immune system that God created in us that enables our body to stay healthy against those viral and bacterial invaders.
A Weakened Immune System Can Be Deadly
But what happens if the human immune system is compromised? Once the immune system is compromised – it’s very difficult for the body to successfully fight and defend against one of these unfriendly, ever-present organisms and the results tend to be fatal.
For the point of this illustration let’s consider the HIV pathogen, which stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus — meaning a virus that causes the immune system to become weak.
Viruses, including HIV, cannot replicate on their own – this is an important point. To survive, HIV must invade a healthy cell within someone’s body. Specifically, HIV likes to invade CD4 cells — special ”bug-fighting” cells that help the body’s immune system protect against germs and viruses that can make a person sick.
What HIV does is that it uses different enzymes – which are proteins responsible for a variety of cell functions – to “unlock” and enter the healthy CD4 cell, invading its command-and-control center which is called the nucleus….
If you’d like, you can finish the article over at Provoketive.