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The “Spiritualisation” of the Pandemic among Responses in Different African Settings

There’s been particular interest in the influence of prominent Pentecostal pastors on public health messaging. Some have expressed concern about the possible consequences of their invocations of spiritual warfare. Researchers have examined how idioms of (spiritual) warfare have been deployed in response to the coronavirus pandemic and wish to bring a broader perspective to recent debates about these dynamics. The study considers examples from Tanzania and Zimbabwe, drawing on their ongoing research in these settings. Many Pentecostal Christians, in Africa as well as other continents, portray the coronavirus as a “spiritual force of evil” rather than as a biomedical disease. Rather, we suggest as anthropologists and scholars of religion, this warfaring rhetoric might stem from a shared discomfort among Africans and Europeans alike at the prospect of an adversary without discernible self-will or conscience.

SOURCE: THE CONVERSATION