Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on religion

The COVID-19 pandemic caused by coronavirus disease 2019 has impacted religion in various ways, including the cancellation of the worship services of various faiths, the closure of Sunday schools.


  • The Satan is using this opportunity as it has always done to lead us astray from our religious duties in the name of precautions, treatment and protection. Whenever a calamity strikes, Satan makes the victims of calamity commit such acts which destroy their rewards and add to their woes. This is the time to populate the mosques and to invite the ummah towards repentance. As I have already said, this is the time to make our supplications effective. This is not the time to pay heed to false remedial measures….
  • ...We will not accept the targeting of women on the pretext of such ludicrous accusations. We in Pakistan have fought hard for claiming our rights as enshrined in the Constitution of Pakistan...Simply absurd for anyone under any guise to even suggest the Covid-19 pandemic is a result of women wearing short sleeves or because of private schools/universities misleading the youth. This simply reflects either ignorance about pandemics or a misogynist mindset. Absolutely unacceptable....
  • ...The spread of a pandemic must never and under no circumstances be correlated or linked to a woman's piety or morality. It is danger to make this correlation as violent crimes against women/girls continue to take place with impunity...
  • ...The coronavirus is yet another piece of evidence that humans are all 'atheists'. People do not believe what they say they believe. People are on their own, their own hope, but they do not seem to know....Saudi Arabia is a deeply religious country. Most of the people in the Persian Gulf nation pray five times a day, 35 times a week, 140 times a month and 1,680 times a year. We don't even do that with food and sex—which sets the stage for us to begin life.....There are mosques everywhere in Saudi Arabia. Muezzins bellow the call to prayer so forcefully only people who are hard of hearing can miss it. The Saudis will drop everything to go pray once they hear the call to prayer....But they had to ban pilgrimages because they know perfectly well that if the coronavirus enters their country, Allah is not going to help them. No country is seeking Allah's help over the coronavirus. He will do and say nothing. That has been the case since time immemorial. Experience shows that leaving everything in God's hands—and that is assuming he does exist—means you are taking great risks.
    ...Qatar, like Saudi Arabia, is a deeply religious country. During the holy month of Ramadan, Qatari police arrest people who are seen eating in public. No one is supposed to eat in public until the fast is broken in the evening.
    Qatar would lead you to think that Allah is in control of everything and that it relies on him to protect its people. In theory, Qatar relies on Allah for many things. But in practice it does not. For example, every single foreigner seeking work in Qatar must go for a medical test at a government health facility, and the main reason is for the authorities to throw out people with infectious diseases such as HIV/Aids and tuberculosis. People with HIV are summarily deported.
    There is any number of examples one can cite to show that religious people and religious countries act remarkably like non-believers when they have real challenges to deal with. It is not hard to see why. I have challenged people I chat with (especially on social media) to name just one thing God has ever done for people that people themselves cannot do, and I have never had a proper answer.
  • ...Holy water is not a hand sanitizer and prayer is not a vaccine. Political decisions aimed to guarantee public safety should be based solely on scientific evidence...At a deeper level, religion, for worshipers, is the ultimate source of meaning. The most profound claim of every religion is to make sense of the whole of existence, including, and perhaps especially, circumstances marked by suffering and tribulation. Take such claims seriously enough, and even physical health, when it is devoid of greater purpose, starts to look like a hollow value....Today the threat comes from a virus that makes no distinction between believers and atheists, but the fundamental tension between religion and secular authorities is still there....In Italy,...churches are being treated as providers of nonessential services, like movie theaters and concert halls. That has sparked intense reactions among some Catholics, who see the celebrations as particularly essential at a time when an invisible and pervasive menace strikes not just bodies but also souls, spreading panic and eroding social trust. What's the difference between a handful of people gathering in a church, keeping safely at distance from one another, and groups meeting at restaurants, bars or riding the subway? The question is a practical one but hints at an underlying tension around religious freedom that the medical emergency is revamping...The tension between physical health and spiritual comfort is in some ways an irreconcilable one —... Nonetheless, there's something sad about how this time around, the tension has barely been treated as something real, to be genuinely grappled with....
  • People want to make meaning in a time of fear, uncertainty and suffering, and that's totally understandable and natural...and Passover is coming up, so people are making those comparisons. But no, I do not think God is smiting us. My theology does not involve a man in the sky with a pair of dice saying, 'It's smite-the-people o'clock.' That's not how I understand what God is.....I don't think God caused the coronavirus, but I see God's work everywhere, every single person who makes the decision to love their neighbor as themselves, in every person who's staying home even though it's not convenient, in every doctor and nurse and health care worker who are putting themselves at risk, in every grocery store worker....The proof of the holy is a lot of places.

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