Effects of AIDS on Religion

Jenny Trinitapoli and Alexander Weinreb

in Religion and AIDS in Africa

Published in print August 2012 | ISBN: 9780195335941
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199979080 | DOI:
Effects of AIDS on Religion

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Chapters 1 through 9 focus on how religion in Africa shapes the popular understanding of the AIDS epidemic, modes of prevention, and mitigation of effects. This chapter flips the direction of the relationship and asks how, if at all, AIDS is changing religious belief and practice in sub-Saharan Africa over and above broader determinants of religious change. Historical precedents of epidemics effecting religious change are reviewed. Contrasts between those cases and AIDS are clarified. Using data from sermons and from religious life histories collected in Malawi, the chapter then points to signs of AIDS’s role in increasing religiosity, encouraging denominational shifts to congregations with stricter moral codes and more extensive social support, and more generally affecting patterns of religious expression—in particular through the infusion of more and sharper messages about sexual morality and caregiving in religious teachings.

Keywords: religious change; epidemics; caregiving; Malawi; religious life histories; moral codes; social support

Chapter.  5981 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Religious Studies

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