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Religious struggles after Typhoon Haiyan: a case study from Bantayan Island

Erin P. O’Connell (The Faraday Institute for Science and Religion, St Edmund’s College University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK)
Roger P. Abbott (The Faraday Institute for Science and Religion, St Edmund’s College University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK)
Robert S. White (Department of Earth Science, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK) (The Faraday Institute for Science and Religion, St Edmund’s College University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK)

Disaster Prevention and Management

ISSN: 0965-3562

Article publication date: 5 June 2017

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine religious struggles and loss of faith in Christian survivors of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines and explore whether any demographic characteristics or experiences during the disaster may have contributed to these responses.

Design/methodology/approach

A quantitative survey was used to assess a variety of concepts related to religious responses after disaster. Data were collected using a mix of non-random, convenience sampling methods, with a total sample of 1,929 responses.

Findings

Religious struggles, anger toward God, and apostasy after the typhoon was generally low, although a significant minority of respondents expressed feelings of confusion about God and wondered whether God cared about them. Factors that influenced the experience of religious struggles included: education level, socio-economic status, denomination, barangay, loss of loved ones in the disaster, format of post-disaster church fellowship meetings, and the importance of God in their lives prior to the disaster.

Practical implications

Having an appropriate and supportive faith-based environment for those of faith to work through religious struggles is important for supporting emotional and psychological recovery after disaster.

Originality/value

This study explores how disasters can impact individuals’ beliefs and their relationship with God in a non-Western context. This information enhances our understanding on how humanitarian and faith-based organizations can help support emotional and psychological recovery among impacted populations, particularly those who experience struggles.

Keywords

Citation

O’Connell, E.P., Abbott, R.P. and White, R.S. (2017), "Religious struggles after Typhoon Haiyan: a case study from Bantayan Island", Disaster Prevention and Management, Vol. 26 No. 3, pp. 330-347. https://doi.org/10.1108/DPM-02-2017-0041

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited