The declining influence of religion

the decling influence of religionThe covid-19 pandemic has exposed how much religion has declined as a major influence in our lives.  In Mediaeval Europe, religion would have been at the centre of the response to the disease. People would have crowded into Church to pray for their loved ones. Priests would have organised special masses for those afflicted. The outbreak would have been blamed on God’s righteous punishment for human sins. There would have been a sense of resignation, inshallah, nothing happens unless God wills it. However, it was OK, those that had not sinned could still get to heaven (as long as they paid priests to get them through purgatory).

Now the attitude is quite different. The disease is understood as a virus that can be overcome. People believe that, in time, medical science will come up with a cure. The churches, temples and mosques are empty. Doctors have said it is not safe to gather together. Few believe that God will look after his flock better than a doctor. This is true of all religions: Muslims, Christians, Hindus, Sikhs and Jews are all foregoing to gather in places of worship. Burials and cremations are perfunctory affairs. Relatives and friends are denied a proper chance to say goodbye to the dead.

Meanwhile archbishops, popes, and imams mouth platitudes to empty churches and mosques, and hope that someone is listening on zoom.

For more read Yuval Noah Harari about the change in human attitudes to disease.

Roger Heppleston

Author Roger Heppleston

More posts by Roger Heppleston