When trouble comes into the house, all means are good to save your family, especially if the house is practically the whole world, and the family is all of humanity. One of such powerful tools in a global pandemic can be religion for those people in whose life it occupies an important place, but indirectly for those in whose life it is less significant. What would have been seditious during the period of domination of atheistic ideology, when religion was perceived only as “opium for the people,” in today’s independent Kazakhstani society, as well as in other countries of the world, is quite relevant, natural, and can play an effective role in calming down protection, positive attitude of people to action, struggle, victory, and cure. In a certain sense, each person chooses his path to salvation and healing, and we have no right to deprive him/her of hope for help, including the help of the Almighty.
While measures in the field of health care, economics, and politics aimed at combating COVID-19 are actively discussed, the sphere of religion stands apart from public debate, which limits the possibilities of using it as a resource in uniting people and uniting their efforts. It is today that all actions for the health of people are important, given that religiosity involves not only spiritual belonging to religion or belief, but also practice [Mathur, 2012].
It should be mentioned that there are many ways people interact with religion and faith depending on time and circumstances. Many people can identify with a religion, but do not participate in religious rites, do not show their religiosity either externally or internally. Other people may not openly identify with a religion, but still make use of religion in difficult times [Malone and Dadswell, 2018]. In the context of growing general anxiety, it is still not a question of strengthening the influence of religion on society, but of using its space for enlightenment, motivation, voluntary cooperation, that is, all those actions to which religion can give the character of a moral obligation while maintaining authority science, health care, government strategic programs, carrying out positive impulses and guidelines through their special algorithms and channels of communication with believers, increasing the level of mutual trust, which is extremely necessary for such difficult periods. Over the many centuries of its existence, religion has proven that it has universality, allowing it to establish links with other forms of social life and personal well-being. Studies are demonstrating that religious dogmatism, which implies the immutability, unambiguity, and divine predestination of the rules of life, coexists with such forms of religiosity that are largely flexible, associated with physical and mental health, tolerance, prosocial behavior, and positive interpersonal attitudes [Rusu and Turliuc, 2011].
Religiousness-based forms of social participation can sometimes be the simplest — providing support through spiritual advice, volunteering, or donating to specific, relevant purposes. It is indisputable that religion can be a very powerful factor in social life in many countries, psychologically, according to scientists, it can fulfill several important functions, and namely, it plays a key role in finding understanding and interpretation in difficult life situations. Religion offers a bewildering person method of restoring a sense of power and control over him/her, reduces a person’s anxiety in a world where disaster can happen at any time, and promotes the growth of social solidarity and social identity; offers spiritual support during a period of radical transformations, helps to find new meanings in life [Rusu and Turliuc, 2011].
In conditions where stress, depression, and anxiety have an adverse effect not only on the psychological state of the body but also on psychological systems that are vital for maintaining physical health and healing, increase susceptibility to worse outcomes, religion reduces negative emotions, increasing social support and positively influencing health behavior, having a beneficial effect on some physical diseases and the response of these diseases to treatment. Experts rightly believe that a motivated and enlightened population usually fights the threat more cohesively and effectively than a coercive and ignorant community [Harari, 2020].
Also, one should not forget that the first hospitals in the history of mankind were built by religious organizations, and the clergy often acted as doctors, that is, religion and medicine often go hand in hand. If at a certain historical stage, science supplanted religion from this tandem, then perhaps the time has come to invite it again for cooperation to preserve the life and health of people [Koenig, 2012].
Religions can and do give an optimistic worldview. There are rules and norms of the crisis period that must be observed and which do not contradict religious norms and prohibitions. Strengthening public awareness, moral codes, getting comfort or guidance during a disaster are as important as taking preventative measures or providing medicines. Neglecting the potential of faith means losing a powerful humanitarian spiritual and practical resource in the struggle that we all must win.
Centralasia.media (2020). (2020). What will the world be like after coronavirus? – historian Yuval Noah Harari. Retrieved from http://centralasia.media/news:1604930?from=mportal&place=nowread Accessed on 22.03.2020.
Koenig, Harold G. (2012). Religion, Spirituality, and Health: The Research and Clinical Implications. Retrieved from https://www.hindawi.com/journals/isrn/2012/278730/. Accessed on 17.03.2020.
Malone, Joanna, and Dadswell, Anna. (2018). The Role of Religion, Spirituality and/or Belief in Positive Ageing for Older Adults. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6319229/. Accessed on 17.03.2020.
Mathur, Anil. (2012). Measurement and meaning of religiosity: A cross-cultural comparison of religiosity and charitable giving. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1057/jt.2012.6 Accessed on 19.03.2020.
Rusu, Petruţa-Paraschiva and Turliuc Maria-Nicoleta. (2011) Ways of Approaching Religiosity in Psychological Research. Retrieved from http://www.sosyalarastirmalar.com/cilt4/sayi18_pdf/5_sosyoloji_psikoloji_felsefe/2_petruta_rusu.pdf. Accessed on 17.03.2020.
Nadirova Gulnar Ermuratovna graduated from the Oriental Faculty of Leningrad State University, in 1990 she defended her thesis on the Algerian literature at the Moscow Institute of Oriental Studies, in 2006 doctoral thesis - on modern Tunisian literature at the Tashkent Institute of Oriental Studies, Professor.