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‘Wash and Pray’

The Nexus of African Christianity and Science in the Context of COVID-19 in Zimbabwe

In: Journal of Religion in Africa
Authors:
Tenson Muyambo Academic Associate/Research Fellow, Research Institute for Theology and Religion (RITR), College of Human Sciences, University of South Africa (UNISA) Pretoria South Africa

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https://orcid.org/0000-0001-6765-5034
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Nomatter Sande Academic Associate/Research Fellow, Research Institute for Theology and Religion (RITR), College of Human Sciences, University of South Africa (UNISA) Pretoria South Africa

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https://orcid.org/0000-0002-4177-8391
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Jane Tendere Department of Teacher Development, Great Zimbabwe University Masvingo Zimbabwe

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https://orcid.org/0000-0003-3678-9157
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Abstract

‘Continue to wash your hands, continue to wear your mask, continue to sanitize, continue to maintain social distance, and lastly continue to pray’. These were the closing remarks of a pastor who was preaching online to his congregants in the context of the second and third waves of COVID-19 variants. This article focuses on the church’s utilisation (or lack) of both religion and science under the ‘wash’ and ‘pray’ theology. The article raises this fundamental question: to what extent is the church embracing scientific knowledge in its efforts to deal with COVID-19? Data was collected through an online questionnaire survey, review of available literature, listening to clerics on YouTube, follow-up WhatsApp interviews, as well as overt and covert observations. The article argues that religion and science differ on a number of issues but in the context of COVID-19 and as indicated by this study, they must learn from each other and pool resources to combat COVID-19. COVID-19 calls for undivided attention, and when religion and science unify humanity vastly benefit. The article adds to the continuous debate on the relationship between science (wash) and religion (pray), arguing for the significance of religious ideas that make science effective in addressing the pandemic and vice versa.

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