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Introduction to the Symposium

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The articles in this section were presented at the conference “Toward a Theology of Disease” sponsored by the Zygon Center in October, 2002. This was a second conference designed to address the question of what the science-religion dialogue could contribute to the larger discussion of the rapid spread of HIV/AIDS. The conference brought a wide range of perspectives to this question from different religious traditions. I draw them together here around the idea that Philip Hefner introduced in his keynote address: our fragmented experience of the world. The notion of fragmentation opens the door for both a recognition of several possible approaches to building a theology of disease and the pluralism of religious traditions, as well as providing a framework for integrating our full awareness that HIV/AIDS is a problem without solutions and requiring a level of humility in posing any real answers. The essays clearly suggest that the question remains perplexing but that our efforts do show that a multifaith, multidisciplinary religion-science dialogue can contribute significantly to the larger discussion.

Keywords: HIV/AIDS; Philip Hefner; disease; fragmentation; stigmatization

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Theology at Valparaiso University

Publication date: June 1, 2004

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