Christian Healing Ministries and Biomedicine

Cross-perspectives on Christian healing ministries and Biomedicine in Abidjan,
Ivory Coast
The project investigates competition-induced innovations in healing ministries in
Abidjan and the opportunities and challenges that these represent for biomedicine.
First, the study seeks to use social science tools to map the boom of healing
ministries in the Catholic Church in Abidjan. It aims to highlight the ability of
Catholic therapeutic actors to borrow from Pentecostal forms of ritual performance as
a way of managing religious competition. Second, the project addresses the
relationships between these Christian healing performances and biomedicine from the
points of view of practitioners and patients. We argue that their perceptions and
practices betray a predominantly inclusive relationship between Christian healing and
biomedicine but they differ in the way this relationship is construed and managed. To
give a comparative scope, data will be collected from healing ministries both from the
Catholic Church and a few Pentecostal Churches.
The purpose of this project is to show how religious competition has driven religious
innovation in Christian healing in Abidjan and affected therapeutic beliefs and
practices, thereby challenging the dominant health provider, the public health system.
The findings of the research will enlighten both academics and practitioners in the
many ways in which churches are borrowing from one another, which is a forgotten
dimension of ecumenism.
The project further examines the relationships between Christian healing and public
health. We hope to provide pastors, public health officials, clinicians and scholars
with an in-depth knowledge concerning the influence of religious healing on health
and the methods used by Christian healers to achieve it. We also hope to portray the
views of clinicians and public health officials on Christian healing innovations. Our
research will fill a deficit of knowledge about the relationship between religious
healing and public health in Abidjan. It will call for a serious dialogue between the
religious and clinical places that attend to health issues. We hope to unveil the social,
symbolic and spiritual dynamics that drive the quest for healing.
Principal Investigator: LudovicLado, Institute of Human Rights and Dignity, Centre
de Rechercheetd’Action pour la Paix (CERAP), Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire.
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