This contribution discusses the question whether there is a general interlinking between the fundamentalist perception and practice of Abrahamic religions by some believers or groups and their (in-)ability to cope with pandemics such as Covid-19, or if this assumption is misleading. With the help of selected examples from fundamentalist groups of the Abrahamic religions, it will be shown that some fundamentalist actors see Covid-19 as a divine punishment and make use of the pandemic for radical mobilization of their members, while other religious groups and leaders concentrate on the resilience and healing aspects of their followers during the pandemic. The different responses of coping lead to the question whether monotheistic religions might be more susceptible to fundamentalist reactions to pandemics than other religions.
Defining psychological resilience while taking into account all of its different facets has proven to be a difficult task, requiring an interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary approach. This article will present some of the theologically relevant current findings of the new research group on “Resilience in Religion and Spirituality” (DFG-FOR 2686) working in cooperation between theology, philosophy, psychosomatic medicine, palliative care, and spiritual care (chapter 1). Even though our project builds on factors and mechanisms of resilience already intensively discussed (chapter 2), we will add some further aspects on resilience as a multidimensional and dynamic process of adaption (chapter 3) and on the integration of negative experiences, of endurance, of the formation of powerlessness and of the mediopassive (chapter 4). This will allow for some prospective considerations on understanding challenges and problems of the current SARS-CoV-2 pandemic (chapter 5).
The contributions of this issue show an understanding of disease(s) and religion in a multifaceted way. Covering traditions of Christianity, Islam, Taoism, indigenous Indonesian people, fundamentalism, and secularism discourses allow for an approach to liminal situations related to diseases and healing and resilience towards the challenges these situations mean. Philosophical reflections, empirical research, theological discussions, studying ideas on sciences, and theoretical reflections on practical dimensions of resilience contribute to a stimulating mosaic of ideas.
This article discusses how Tillich’s psychologically informed re-interpretation of dogmatic and biblical narratives may offer ways to cope with complex experiences of adversity that are characterized by a pressing need for resilience, along with extreme difficulties in communicating meaningfully. In tandem with the focus on the practical applications of Tillich’s theology, the source material comprises Tillich’s sermons (cf. The Shaking of the Foundations ; The New Being ; The Eternal Now ). The analysis concentrates on three aspects of Tillich’s treatise on healing, namely (a) Tillich’s discussion of the healer’s capability to heal “in spite of”; (b) his understanding of “in spite of” and the connected semantics of fighting; (c) his (implicit) approach to re-examining the idea of healing as narratively mediated, which allows to further the discourse on resilience in regard to semantic representations and narrations.
The article discusses the first reactions of many distinguished commentators to the impact that the CoViD-19 pandemic had on people’s religious life globally. Such across-the-board response is investigated against the background of Peter Sloterdijk’s exemplary reinterpretation of the religious vertical impulse in terms of anthropotechnics and is found defective. A more nuanced and ambivalent account of secularization is offered in the end as a viable alternative to the standard thesis of the disenchantment of the world.
Indigenous peoples of the world, including those of Indonesia, were more potentially at risk for Covid-19, due to their being marginalized and thus their lack of access to necessary information resources. Despite being marginalized and vulnerably impacted by the pandemic, indigenous people of Indonesia had re-contextualized their indigenous strategies that enabled them to survive and even offer lessons worth considering: indigenous ecocentrism. Data on their ideas and responses to the pandemic were collected through weekly webinars, featuring representatives of indigenous people as the main speakers, personal calls, and supported by a series of fieldwork, including data on the situation before the pandemic. Their responses to the pandemic were commonly based on ecocentrism; that Covid-19 was an ecological disaster caused by human’s misconducts against humanity and human-nature relations. In response, they took responsibilities to perform eco-centric rituals, and called for a re-establishment of ecological human-nature relations to deal with Covid-19.
Traditional Chinese medicine originated from Taoist thought in the pre-Qin period of China, especially the classic “Yellow Emperor’s Internal Classic of Chinese medicine”, while Chinese Taoism also originated from pre-Qin Taoist thought. The representative figure of pre-Qin Taoist thought is Lao Tzu, and his work “Tao Te Ching” is used as a reference Representative, as a Chinese religion pursuing cultivation to become a god, Chinese Taoism respects Lao Tzu as the supreme old monarch and regards him as the leader, and uses Lao Tzu’s “Tao Te Ching” as a classic. Therefore, Traditional Chinese medicine and Taoism share the same origin. Taoism believes that in order to become immortal, diseases must be eliminated. Therefore, Taoism in turn uses Traditional Chinese medicine to form a unique Taoist medicine, which is recorded in the Taoist classic “Tao Zang”. There are many prescriptions derived from Taoism and Traditional Chinese medicine.
This article starts from the observation that current debates about race and racism are often couched in soteriological terms such as guilt and forgiveness, or confession and exoneration, and it argues that this overlap calls for theological analysis. Using the debate about Achille Mbembe’s disinvitation from the German art festival ‘Ruhrtriennale’ 2020 as a case that is typical of a specifically Western European discourse on race, it first sketches a brief genealogy of the modern/colonial history of religio-racialisation and its intersections with Christian tradition, in which racial categories were forged in soteriological discourses, and in which, in turn, soteriological categories were shaped by racist discourses. It proposes that in this process, Christianity, Whiteness and salvation were conflated in a way that has sponsored White supremacy, disguised as innocence. Engaging with performative race theory, the article concludes by making a constructive proposal for a performative theology of race that can account for the profound intersections between racism and soteriology, but also opens trajectories for transforming hegemonic discourses of race and their theological underpinnings.