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< Back to question How will coronavirus affect religion? Show more Show less

Lockdown makes no exceptions for belief. In March 2020 the now iconic image of Pope Francis praying to an empty St. Peter's Square hit the headlines. For the religious, it soon became emblematic of solidarity in isolation. Mass gatherings are now out. Places of worship, prayer groups, pilgrimages, weekly rituals and door-to-door evangelism have now been outlawed in many countries. It may be many months before Covid-19 ceases to be a threat. When it does, how will it have impacted religion?

It will strengthen religious beliefs Show more Show less

In times of crisis, faith is often the sole source of solace a person may have.
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Faith is all people can believe in

The world is falling apart, and having faith might be the only thing to get people through.
belief coronavirus covid faith health religion
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For believers, faith is the only constant. Such reliance is exacerbated in times of crisis.

The Argument

As Tim Stanley writes in the Telegraph, "For Christians, this terrible virus is not a punishment but a test of our faith and charity"[1]. For many religious people life is a test. And their 'performance' or actions during life will determine whether they 'pass'. In this case, the coronavirus is part of this test. As Hamza Koire writes in New Vision, "Trials and tribulations are part of life, this is something that Allāh informs us of and warns us so that when we are afflicted, we remember that it is ultimately Allāh who controls our affairs."[2]

Counter arguments

Life may be considered a test for some religious people. However, key aspects of these religions - such as prayer - offer adherents a way to ask for positive outcomes in their actual lives. The fact that these prayers are going unheard, as the virus tears across the world indiscriminately, will reduce faith in the power of religion.


[P1] Religious people consider life a test [P2] The virus is considered a test [P3] Many religious people believe rewards will come in the afterlife [P4] Many religious people do not fear death

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P3] Many religious people believe that prayer brings rewards come in the present life


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This page was last edited on Tuesday, 23 Jun 2020 at 12:39 UTC