Zheng et al., “Rural Christians’ View of Sickness Treatment Behavior”

Zheng, Honge, Wei Wang, and Libin Wang.  2014. Rural Christians’ view of sickness treatment behavior: a case study from a Shandong village, China.  Anthropology and Medicine.  Early Online Publication. 

Abstract: There are few studies of Christian views of disease and treatment behavior in rural China. Based on Village G in Shandong Province, this paper describes how, under conditions of rural social and medical deprivation, Christians regard physical (routi) and mental (jingshen) sickness as resulting from disturbances to communal peace. Sickness occurs when everyday sinful words and actions allow the devil to enter or when God uses the devil to test worshippers’ beliefs. In either case, it is the devil who directly causes sickness. Christian treatment is through scripture, communal and individual prayer, and expurgation. Diagnosis and treatment thus reflect both theodicy and the emergence of a kind of devil culture in the context of rural social crises.