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Local religious leaders say 'stay positive and have faith' amid COVID-19 pandemic

Local religious leaders say now is not the time to panic over fears of the coronavirus. Instead, they are sending a message of positivity and faith.

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — With COVID-19 continuing to spread both at home and on a global scale, it's causing some people to panic.

Those thoughts are fueled by "end of days" warnings circulating on social media.

It's been a rough few months around the world overwhelmed by wildfires, flooding, stock market dips and now the spread of a deadly virus.

So-called "doomsday prophets" point to these examples as a sign that "judgment day" is near.

Local religious leaders from different denominations say that's not the case.

"God wants us to remain positive. God wants us to remain hopeful," said Mendel Greisman, Rabbi with Chabad of Northwest Arkansas.

While many religions believe that there will come a time when the world will end, leaders agree there's no predicting when that will happen.

"Matthew says in Chapter 24 that no man knows the time or the hour, nor the angels, nor the son of God know the time or the hour when the end of the world will happen," said Brian Dunaway, Director of Communications for Cross Church.

Many of them also say what's happening now is all a part of "God's plan."

Historically, what's happening now is nothing new. The world has been plagued before by illness, world wars, and other natural disasters.

"The real bottom line is to always been prepared not just when there are cataclysmic signs, but even when everything is calm and peaceful, we should be ready for the Lord to return and come into our lives," said Father John Antony, with Immaculate Conception Church in Fort Smith.

They all say now is a time of spiritual reflection.

"Hopefully, it will be a reminder for all of us to go back to our Creator. Get closer to him, our Lord Allah, then fearing the worst to come," said Imam Hammed Alalamat, President of the Bentonville Islamic Center.

The overall message is, don't panic, stay positive, and have faith.

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