Earthly pandemics, divine questions: will faith increase for the coronavirus?

The uneasiness that society suffers in the face of this supervening pandemic that is bringing so much suffering and death is the ideal breeding ground for spiritual concerns and searching in religion for answers to existential uncertainty, experts and religious have explained to Efe.

But will faith and the number of believers increase as a result of the coronavirus?

According to the Sociological Research Center (SIC), more atheists, agnostics or non-believers already reside in Spain than practicing Catholics (29.1% vs. 22.7%). However, on March 27, when the pope showed himself in front of the great Saint Peter's Square in the Vatican, completely empty to bless the world in the face of suffering from the expansion of the coronavirus, more than a million faithful in Spain saw him from his television.

"The importance of religion in these crisis cases is effective in psychological and social terms, rather than to stop the virus. But that social and psychological effectiveness is as necessary as the medical one," says Elisenda Ardèvol, PhD in Anthropology and professor of the Arts and Humanities Studies of the Open University of Catalonia (UOC).

The reason is that it helps us in situations that we are not able to control, as explained by the doctor in Sociology Francesc Núñez, also a professor of Arts and Humanities Studies at the same remote university and of whom the Minister of Studies was director of studies. Universities, Manuel Castells.

"Religion is, to a large extent, a series of contingency domination practices. It is a set of ways, of ways of doing something to control that which is in nobody's hands, which is precisely what we modernists hate: the accident, the chance ", Nuñez has pointed out.

And he added: "Now that the whole of humanity is subjected to a phenomenon that not even the modern gods of science can control, we resort to what we know from religious training or experience, asking for intermediation. And since the catastrophe is much bigger, the reaction is also bigger. "

For his part, the rector of the San Paciano University Athenaeum in Tarragona, Arman Puig, an expert in the Bible and author of a biography of Jesus, has explained to Efe that religions have a "role to play" in how we rethink a world " that even before the coronavirus showed signs of exhaustion. "

"Speaking in biblical terms, the world has mostly sinned in arrogance and individualism as habitual ways of life, as well as in abuse of the use of goods by a few," he noted.

Puig has highlighted how successful Pope Francis was when he referred to the history of the Tower of Babel.

"The men decided to build a tower that would reach the sky because then they would achieve everlasting fame. It seems like an anecdote but it is a paradigm of our time because it turns out that maybe we wanted to build a civilization that believed itself without limits, but COVID-19 has taught that we do have them, "he said.

For Puig, the Christian religion, like the rest, should become, in this context, "a cohesion factor for a new world where love and solidarity prevail", principles that, he stressed, are raw materials for all the creeds that they have not been perverted by "absurd confrontations".

For his part, the leader of the Evangelical Consell of Catalonia, Guillem Correa, has pointed out that "these days it can be intuited that this situation is going to lead many people to rethink various aspects of their lives and many who until now had not considered it , we are sure, they will reevaluate their spiritual dimension and will seek a faith response to find meaning and purpose in their existence. "

From Judaism, Fernando Rosentgberg, institutional director of the Israeli community in Barcelona, ​​has told Efe that this crisis makes us realize "how fragile everything is", what has motivated "that many people have turned to religion to look for answers. "

"But it is a subjective analysis. It is true that there are more people connecting to the videoconferences of religious services, but it is also true that people do not leave home and have more free time," he added.

Lara Malvesí


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