Articles on Religion and society

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The late Youssef Cohen moved from New York to Oregon in 2016 because of its aid-in-dying law. During the pandemic, assisted dying for terminal patients has gone online. John Moore/Getty Images

Dying virtually: Pandemic drives medically assisted deaths online

Terminally ill patients in nine states and Washington, DC can use telemedicine to get a doctor's approval to hasten their end of life. But family members must mix the lethal drug cocktail themselves.
A funeral director calls relatives of a COVID-19 victim for a virtual viewing before cremation on May 22, 2020 in New York City. Misha Friedman/Getty Images

Different faiths, same pain: How to grieve a death in the coronavirus pandemic

Religious scholars and faith leaders reflect on the death rites cultures have developed to honor the deceased, comfort the living and share the burden of mourning.
Dar Al-Hijrah Mosque in Minneapolis, Minnesota, before the midday prayer during Ramadan, the Muslim holy month that ends May 27, 2020, and is celebrated this year amid pandemic. Stephen Maturen/AFP via Getty Images

Muslim women observe Ramadan under lockdown – and some say being stuck at home for the holiday is nothing new

A survey of Muslim women finds many are frustrated by having a Islamic holy month in quarantine. But others say a 'remote Ramadan' is nothing new because child care duties often keep them home anyway.
Distant relatives? Visiting mom during the pandemic may be a risk. Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Everyday ethics: Should I visit my mother?

Is it right to visit family members during the pandemic, even if they say they don't want you to come? Philosophy may hold the answer.
The biblical book of Ezekiel describes a vision of the divine that medieval philosophers understood as revealing the connection between religion and science. By Matthaeus Merian (1593-1650)

When religion sided with science: Medieval lessons for surviving COVID-19

Those experiencing stress and uncertainty amid the coronavirus may find guidance in medieval responses to plagues, which relied on both medicine and prayer.
Buddhist monks in Thailand pray at Phleng temple amid the COVID-19 crisis, May 11, 2020. Chaiwat Subprasom/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

How do Buddhists handle coronavirus? The answer is not just meditation

Many in the West may see Buddhism as more of a philosophy than a religion, but for millions of people worldwide Buddhism is very much a faith – and prayer is part of their COVID-19 response.
The roads are open, but not yet the shops. Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

Everyday ethics: When should we lift the lockdown?

What are the moral considerations in making the decision to reopen society while mitigating the risk of infections spreading? We asked a philosophy scholar to walk us through the quandary.
Valley of the Dawn members celebrate ‘Day of the Indoctrinator’ at their temple complex in Brazil on May 1. This year’s event is postponed due to coronavirus. Márcia Alves

Brazilian mystics say they’re sent by aliens to ‘jump-start human evolution’ – but their vision for a more just society is not totally crazy

Brazil's Valley of the Dawn faith is often dismissed as a cult. But many of the group's fantastical rituals are a recognizable reaction to this harsh world of inequality, loneliness and pandemics.
An Ultra-Orthodox Jewish man is arrested by Israeli security forces for resisting efforts to shut down a synagogue in the Me’a She’arim neighborhood in Jerusalem, April 17, 2020. AHMAD GHARABLI/AFP via Getty Images

Jewish history explains why some ultra-Orthodox communities defy coronavirus restrictions

Persecution is central to Jewish collective memory. So when armed police entered ultra-Orthodox areas of Jerusalem to close synagogues due to COVID-19, some residents reacted with fear and suspicion.

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