Interfaith Responses to the Coronavirus Pandemic Part I
We have a very tough and challenging experience at this moment. The Pandemic triggered by the Covid-19 made us all feel sad and painful. How do we react to the pandemic caused by the Covid-19 that humanity is now experiencing altogether as a community of multi-faith/interfaith that makes us to go beyond the individual religions and boundaries? The Institute of EcoCiv has set up an opportunity to talk with six leaders’ interfaith dialogue. They are well-known theologians and activists on this topic. The following is a summary of the Webinar’s contents, which were held on May 5, 2020, at 2:00 p.m. Pacific Time.
We are going through a period of sorrow and challenge. However, as time goes by, we realize that we are more connected to one another. As much as we realize that we have connection with God, we also realize that we are inter-connected as human beings, regardless of the various forms of different faith traditions. Besides, we have an opportunity to rethink and reframe the way we are seeing Earth, as the source of our lives. History repeats itself. Looking back on the history of humanity, we have faced several crises which were similar to this Pandemic we are going through. Humans have experienced these crises and have meditated on God through them. Humanity sometimes accepted these crises as a test of God, passing through difficult tasks with endurance and trying to find God’s will among painful challenges. What wise believers have realized was that when God closed one door and opens the other two. Closing a door means that the world ends that we used to know. The other two opening doors implies that a new possibility is ahead of us that we never know before. God may want us to accept and explore new possibilities. This is a matter of accepting uncertainty. In the age of pandemic, it seems that nothing is for sure. As a door is closed, the old system we knew and depended on seems to have already met with its fate. And we are in a new era. At such times, some people deal with change only with irrational anxiety. Fear and terror sweep over people. However, those who rely on God’s will must face reality and move toward the future with courage and hope.
People with faith should not link the Pandemic with God’s wrath or God’s curse. Rather, religious people should use their given imagination (which is not subject to us) to look at the amazing moments of divine novelty coming into our world. Perhaps we are facing the Great Awakening through the Pandemic. The hope we have should not depend on a mysterious rosy picture for humanity’s future that is far from reality, but rather the bitter hope we have gained by helplessly gazing the falling of the world before us. If we can find a hope that should have been bloomed from sadness and despair. Only with that hope humankind can move forward.
“This crisis is too good to be wasted. Let’s work for changes. Our world is on fire. How do we put out the fire and find a new normal.”
Many religions have been hit hard in pandemic. Many faith communities no longer practice their faith as they used to. Religious communities deeply relied on one another. Togetherness in a faith community encompass and charge one another. Faith communities are established on the close relationships as a community of faiths. The faith community was based on the close relationships of the members. The relationship is being replaced online in a situation where it does not work the way it used to be. Through this experience, many religions, where the physical community is in the center of religious activities, are getting a new awareness of a definition of community. Religious communities look back on their religious foundations and are still asking whether their existence is relevant and valid in society and people in this era. Some people say that religions will fall significantly after the pandemic as the medieval Catholic Church was hit hard after the Black Death. However, we know that history proves that it is not true – we are living in a world that has already been broken.
To be continued in part II.
Writing and editing: Dongwoo Lee, Director of EcoCiv Korea
Translation: Heeyoung Jung, Staff of EcoCiv Korea
Translated from the article, https://bit.ly/3mopo1K