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God's rage: Muslim representations of HIV/AIDS as a divine punishment from the perspective of the cognitive science of religion
Linnaeus University, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Department of Cultural Sciences.
2013 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Research from a number of disciplines indicates that the interpretation of HIV/AIDS as a divine punishment for illicit sexual practices dominates both a contemporary intra-Muslim public religious discourse and perceptions of the disease among Muslims. This dominance persists despite the existence of alternative theological interpretations, and despite seemingly contradictory empirical evidence. The paper develops a hypothesis on why this is the case and poses it against existing attempts at explanations. The theoretical basis for this hypothesis is elaborated with the help of findings from within cognitive science of religion, and particularly the notion of an ‘epidemiology of representations’. According to the hypothesis a combination of general psychological and cognitive factors and specific contextual factors provide the notion of HIV/AIDS as a divine punishment with a selective advantage in certain social contexts over both theological alternatives and non-religious understandings of the disease. The article finally puts forward some predictions that may be tested empirically in further research. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013.
Keyword [en]
Islam, HIV/AIDS, punishment, epidemiology of beliefs
National Category
Religious Studies History of Religions
Research subject
Humanities, Study of Religions
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-29020OAI: oai:DiVA.org:lnu-29020DiVA: diva2:651149
Conference
“Everyday Life in the Middle East”. The Ninth Nordic Conference on Middle Eastern Studies, Lund, September 19-21, 2013.
Projects
Guds straff eller en prövning för de rättrogna.
Funder
Riksbankens Jubileumsfond, P2008-0512:1-E
Available from: 2013-09-24 Created: 2013-09-24 Last updated: 2014-12-17Bibliographically approved

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Svensson, Jonas

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CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard1
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf