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COVID-19, Religious Institutions and the Accommodation of Science

Abstract

The chapter examines the outbreak of COVID-19 and its effect on communal religious practices, public perceptions of the disease and attitudes of believers across Africa to the containment measures. The physical distancing rule to contain the virus was at variance with the communal practices of close contact in fellowship, shaking of hands and large gatherings for joint worship. The outbreak also coincided with two important events in the Christian and Islamic calendars: the Lent and Ramadan respectively, both periods dedicated to fasting and communal prayers, thus raising tension between science and religious beliefs, and between scientists, public administrators, religious leaders and believers. The containment measures again brought to the fore the relationship between religion and public health; religion, science and society; debates about the cultural authority of science and epistemological claims as to a conflict. Initial resistance by leaders and followers soon gave way to compliance as the need to follow scientific advice became more urgent and important. Accommodation psychology provides plausible explanations for the relationship between science and religion during this outbreak as religious leaders and followers adopted scientific findings rather than its rejection or blanket adoption.

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  • DOI: 10.1007/978-981-16-2546-6_16
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Correspondence to Bankole Falade .

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Falade, B. (2021). COVID-19, Religious Institutions and the Accommodation of Science. In: Falade, B., Murire, M. (eds) Health Communication and Disease in Africa. Palgrave Macmillan, Singapore. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-16-2546-6_16

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-16-2546-6_16

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  • Publisher Name: Palgrave Macmillan, Singapore

  • Print ISBN: 978-981-16-2545-9

  • Online ISBN: 978-981-16-2546-6

  • eBook Packages: Social SciencesSocial Sciences (R0)