When religion is dangerous for your health

By Daniel Burke, CNN Religion Editor

CNN: The coronavirus pandemic has brought out the best and worst aspects of religion.

Faith has inspired countless acts of generosity and goodwill while helping believers get through an extraordinarily scary and difficult time.

But some believers, from Christians to Hasidic Jews, have flouted social-distancing guidelines, insisting that God will protect their congregation. And as in previous pandemics, some have gone looking for scapegoats to explain why God would allow such immense suffering.

Jeff Levin, an epidemiologist and observant Jew who comes from a long line of esteemed rabbis, has studied — and lived at — the intersection of medicine and religion for decades.

The Baylor University professor’s new book, “Religion and Medicine: A History of the Encounter Between Humanity’s Two Greatest Institutions,” is a comprehensive and fascinating look at the complex relationship between spirituality and healing.

CNN spoke to Levin this week about how religion can both heal and harm, and how we’re seeing both aspects play out during the pandemic.

CNN: The way you write about the relationship between religion and medicine — how close they were at first and how far apart they seem now — made me think of a bitter divorce.

Levin: That’s a really good analogy. You can’t really tell the history of medicine without the history of religion and vice versa. Concerns about the healing of people go back to the origins of religion, and religions have been involved in the training of healers of both body and mind. As this relationship has evolved, we’ve seen the good, the bad and the ugly.

How are we seeing that relationship play out during this pandemic?

Faith is a positive force when it motivates people to think outside of themselves and be of service. When it makes people strike out at others and look for demons to blame, it’s doing a great disservice. Honestly, we have seen both. There are terrible messages from the pulpit warning about Chinese immigrants and, on the other side, some people are acting incredibly compassionately and ethically.

Read further

shah_zia

Dr. Zia H Shah, Chief Editor of the Muslim Times

Suggested reading by Zia H Shah MD, Chief Editor of the Muslim Times

How the Fields of Neurology and Psychology Started in the 19th Century, Out of Religious Dogma

Did God Speak to the Fundamentalists of All Abrahamic Faiths Over the Weekend?

‘God is with us’: Many Muslims in Pakistan flout the coronavirus ban in mosques

When Not Going to Jumma is a Huge Blessing

Maulana Abdul Aziz, 6 others booked for violating govt order

Ultra-Orthodox Israeli town of Bnei Brak under lockdown

Virus Soars Among Ultra-Orthodox Jews as Many Flout Israel’s Rules

India confronts its first coronavirus ‘super-spreader’ — a Muslim missionary group with more than 400 members infected

Pastors sue California governor over coronavirus restrictions on church gatherings

Reading the Quran and the Bible Literally Means Demons and Jinns Will Rule Humans

The Muslim Times has the best collection on the theme of Religion & Science

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.