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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.
2014 (English)In: Numen, ISSN 0029-5973, E-ISSN 1568-5276, Vol. 61, no 5-6, p. 569-593Article in journal (Refereed) Published
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 present article

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 the 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
2014. Vol. 61, no 5-6, p. 569-593
Keywords [en]
Islam, HIV/AIDS, divine punishment, cognitive science of religion, epidemiology of representations
National Category
Religious Studies
Research subject
Humanities, Study of Religions
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-37033DOI: 10.1163/15685276-12341343ISI: 000344082300006Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-84907816203OAI: oai:DiVA.org:lnu-37033DiVA, id: diva2:747200
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Funder
Riksbankens Jubileumsfond, P2008-0512:1-EAvailable from: 2014-09-16 Created: 2014-09-16 Last updated: 2017-12-05Bibliographically 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