In the last six months, scholars have learned important lessons about the challenges that religious groups in the United States face, the ways they adapt, and the ways that they respond to new constraints created during the Covid-19 pandemic. Religious leaders who had been resistant to technology just months ago are now readily embracing the internet.
Since the middle of March 2020, churches and temples have moved their services online, as Facebook, YouTube, and Zoom play host to dozens of religious experiments each weekend. Jews preparing for Passover created virtual Seder meals with socially distanced family members. Christian priests and pastors rethought traditional Easter celebrations and how to enact core rituals online. Muslims wrestled with the implications of forced physical distancing during Ramadan and how the upcoming Haj would need to be online, mediated events. As someone who has studied how religious communities respond to technology for two and a half decades, I quickly realized these innovations marked a unique and important moment for contemporary religion.
What would religiosity look like if social distancing became the “new normal”? Would expressions of faith need to become increasingly technologically mediated to protect the vulnerable? Would religious leaders accept this shift and willingly adapt?
The result of these questions and conversations with other scholars of religion online is now published as an eBook called Religion in Quarantine: The Future of Religion in a Post-Pandemic World.
To create this book, Texas A&M University Religious Studies faculty and students explored the shifts in religious practice within Jewish, Muslim, and Christian contexts, primarily within the first three and a half months of the pandemic. By combining reflections from our spiritual journeys in our respective religious communities, along with research on how the pandemic affected the way we investigate religion both in current times and how we will in the future, a number of common themes emerged. This eBook reports eight lessons drawn from this research.
Visit https://oaktrust.library.tamu.edu/handle/1969.1/188004 to check out the new eBook.