The Anthropology Study Program of Faculty of Humanities (FIB) of Diponegoro University held a public lecture entitled “The Role of Religion and Culture in Ending the Covid-19 Pandemic Era: Comparison of Saudi Arabia and Indonesia” (13/12).

Head of Undip Anthropology Study Program, Dr. Amirudin conveyed that this activity was a cultural reflection in the packaging of a public lecture on how the role of religion and culture in ending Covid-19 pandemic era as well as the lessons learned from Saudi Arabia and Indonesia. The roles of religion and culture are comparable to epidemiological technology and other sciences that are developed to end Covid-19, because the essence of religion and culture is as sacred canopy that guides, strengthens, and even moves people to have resilience and move continuously out of suffering. It is conceivable that if religion and culture are not used as support in critical situations, humans will find it even more difficult to find a way out. Religion and culture provide good support with the conditions that they are flexible in theological rationality.

“Choosing vaccine is not a great idea knowing the fact that the number of production is limited while the number of population that must be vaccinated is high. So even vaccines that are made or contain elements that are forbidden in the context of religious doctrine, at that time were willing to reduce the level of prohibition (from haram to makruh) because of the aim to saving mankind. Religion and culture are congruent with the principle of salus populi suprema lex esto, meaning that the safety of the people is the highest law compared to other laws,” he said.

The resource persons for this activity are Prof. Sumanto Al Qurtuby (Professor of Anthropology at King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals); Dr. Tony Rudyansjah (Lecturer of Religious Anthropology, Anthropology Study Program of FISIP of University of Indonesia). The moderator of this event is Arido Laksono, M.Hum (Lecturer of FIB Undip).

In his presentation, Prof. Sumanto said that Covid-19 gave explicit content on how religion has an extraordinary variety of interpretations manifested in a variety of responses. It can give the impression that religion is in an ambiguous position, but then merges into one point, avoiding evil is far more important than pursuing benefit.

Meanwhile, Dr. Tony revealed that Covid-19 pandemic is not a meaningless phenomenon. Covid-19 emerged as the effect of capitalism which urged us to nurture the relationship between humans, nature, and God in a balance. All species have the same rights (all species rights), as well as God (God right), and not only humans ( human rights). According to him, Covid-19 pandemic is a trigger to realize the balance of nature, space and time which has been totally exploited. Pandemic is a form of resistance to exploitative actions that cause capitalism to experience ruination.

Covid-19 pandemic is a momentum for religious and cultural consolidation and the starting point for how laws (both religious laws and positive laws) including culture are adaptive to situations that aim to overcome danger, which is far more important than seeking benefit. That is what makes the bond between religion and culture flexible in dealing with the current situation so that religion and culture can make a big contribution in helping to end the pandemic. Epidemiology and medical technology must go hand in hand with religion and culture indeed. (Lin – Public Relations)