Toward An Adventist Theology of Health (Part 10) – A Medical-Multicultural Shift

Covid-19 is changing our life. Not only in the sense of making it more vulnerable and making us more aware of this vulnerability, but also in perceiving through this vulnerability a new belonging to the human race. Of course this awareness existed before, but it was certainly more tenuous, fragmented, spasmodic and preferential. Covid-19 is reminding us that this multicultural belonging is not elective, not fragmentary or spasmodic, not the result of a choice and does not even coincide with our full awareness. But now this new, unexpected multiculturalism, with the moral and epistemological duty to widen our gaze toward others, is provoked by a medical situation. What value, what sense, what unprecedented perspective on our humanity triggers and opens this new medical-health awareness? Klaus Bergdolt (“Der Schwarze Tod in Europa”) states that humanity’s great cultural changes of were not born in the head, the creative imagination or the pen of some brilliant mind, but were triggered by epidemics and pandemics. Historically these have created new scenarios and forced humans to think differently about their humanity.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

The argument for the need to be culturally aware and engaged in the global village in which we live, and the need for the medical professionals to listen, learn and dialogue with the medical traditions of other cultures is, indeed, quite timely. Adventism has been engaging in mission work with peoples of other cultures for some time already and its record is uneven. It is quite significant that in the culture in which it was born and grew up it has failed to adapt to its significant changes over time. For reasons that are not clear to me, it has failed to give cultural factors the importance they obviously have both in the cultures that are alive around the world these days as well as in the cultures in which the authors of the Bible lived and wrote in different places over an eleven hundred years period, Assuming that the Bible is above human cultures only serves to read into it one’s own cultural norms.

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