Facing a Pandemic
The African Church and the Crisis of Aids
Publication Year: 2007
Published by: Baylor University Press
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The Christian churches in Africa, alongside other faith traditions, have a pandemic in their midst. It is not going away soon. In the pages that follow, I offer theological reflections on the pandemic based on the claim that humanity has the imago dei, and suggest ways the church must scale...
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The HIV/AIDS pandemic that has struck the global community has brought fear, shame, stigmatization, discrimination, isolation, economic hardships, illness, pain, despair, and death. In this book, I will use the theological motif imago dei to rethink the obligations and responsibilities of Christian churches in Africa in a day of HIV/AIDS. I use...
1. Background to HIV/AIDS in Africa
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The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) that causes Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) first came to public notice in 1981. In 1983 researchers identified the following modes of transmission: sexual intercourse (various forms); exposure to blood products; parent to child transmission, especially during childbirth; and intravenous...
2. The Imago Dei and its Implications for HIV/AIDS
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In this chapter, I propose the imago dei as a basis for grounding and for scaling up the church’s practical obligations in dealing with the HIV/AIDS pandemic. I argue that the imago dei calls for an ethic of love and compassion.1 The HIV/AIDS pandemic calls for a critical and humble reading of the Bible. The passage from the Hebrew Bible quoted above...
3. HIV/AIDS and the Human Virtues
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In this chapter, I explore virtues of hope, fidelity, care, justice, and prudence in light of HIV/AIDS because the pandemic threatens eudaimonia.1 Virtue theory has enjoyed a revival in ethical discourse during the last two decades, since Alasdair MacIntyre, a leading proponent of virtue theory, decried the loss of virtue in the modern world.2 In Whose Justice? Which Rationality? MacIntyre, discussed four moral traditions: the Aristotelian...
4. The Imago Dei Invites a Bold Community Praxis
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In this chapter, I argue that the idea of the imago dei invites members of the Christian community to engage in a bold praxis, at the local level and at the national and international levels. I will talk about the local level first and then address the role of national (denominational and ecumenical) organizations. I will conclude by discussing the role of Bible...
5. The Church, Globalization, and HIV/AIDS
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The remarks by Nelson Mandela invite the international community to respond to HIV/AIDS in the age of globalization.3 In this chapter, I explore the concept of globalization and its relationship to HIV/AIDS and argue that the Christian community worldwide needs to respond to global changes and advocate for a “truly comprehensive response,” as...
Conclusion: The Challenge of Individual Responsibility and Global Obligation
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HIV/AIDS has now affected individuals and families around the world, but it has caused more devastation in Africa than elsewhere. It is a private and public tragedy. I have argued that the Christian community in Africa has an obligation toward people living with HIV/AIDS because humanity is created in the image of God. Members of the Christian...
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Page Count: 350
Publication Year: 2007