Having completed my doctoral thesis on the subject of evil and suffering from a multi-religious viewpoint, and having, in that work, considered associated pastoral aspects, I was encouraged to bring this discussion to a wider readership through publishing this book. The influence of Professor Rassie van Niekerk in encouraging me to undertake this work has been pivotal, as has the diligent assistance of my husband, Ian.
Much of the world sees religion as the source of division and violence, effectively portraying religion as evil; yet, irrespective of which faith system is considered, there is great power within religions to do good. It is my hope that this book will encourage people from diverse faith systems to consider the value which can be gained within the human race through collaborative inter-faith effort in combating evil and suffering in all spheres, including of course, helping those who suffer from HIV/AIDS.
As Africa is a continent of diverse religions and great poverty, there is a significant benefit that could be gained if those who seek to advance humanity through their religious beliefs and observances were to begin to seek to collaborate on alleviating the suffering caused by HIV/AIDS. Seeking to harness the good in religions to the good of Africa, and even the good of the world, seems therefore to be an essential responsibility for all religious leaders. It is hoped that this work will advance this cause by spurring thought and encouraging dialogue.
Having spent twenty years in a professional capacity in South Africa, I have seen first-hand the devastation that AIDS has wrought and know that there is a better way that can be found through the concepts presented in this book. In my current day to day responsibilities as a Baptist Minister in rural Wales, I have seen the impact of AIDS and concomitant suffering which occurs even in this affluent land. AIDS is not restricted to Africa and the concepts espoused in this book are just as valuable here as they are in Africa. I would encourage you to read and ponder these ideas, negotiate with them in your spirit and with the Holy Spirit and through this may you find ways to contribute to the alleviation of suffering.