Sunday, March 14, 2010

Religion in Brazil

I have been studying up on religion in Brazil. Today there seems to be quite a diversity. In the 18th century Brazil's official religion was Roman Catholic. This was due to the Portuguese people who were the first settlers and conquerors from Europe. Later as the Portuguese brought slaves from Africa to work on the plantations, the religion started to take on a different look. Even though the slaves were forbidden to practice their religions they managed to maintain their beliefs and doctrines. Since 1889, when the Brazilian Constitution was set forth, Brazil ceased to have an official religion and today the Constitution guarantees absolute freedom of religion.

According to the 2000 census, most of Brazil's population still claims to be Roman Catholic, however, there are many other religious groups in Brazil. Some of these are: Protestant, Pentecostal, Episcopal, Methodist, Lutheran, and Baptist. In addition there are over a million and a half Spiritualists or Kardescists (also known as spirit tappers or mediums) who follow after the doctrines of the French philosopher Allan Kardec. The Spiritualists believe in reincarnation. There are followers of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints; small minorities of Jews; Muslims, Buddhists and numerous followers of Candomble and Umbanda (especially in northern Brazil). What is Candomble and Umbanda?

Candomble is a religion that was brought to Brazil by slaves from Nigeria. It is polytheistic and worships a number of African deity. Candomble believes that everyone is born with a patron god. Today, a blending of Catholicism and Candomble is practiced by many people throughout Brazil.

Umbanda is a religion derived from Candomble coupled with Christianity and Kardecism and is widely practiced thoughtout Brazil. Umbanda believes there is one supreme creator god who gives power to spirits of deceased people to counsel and guide believers. These dead spirits are also being transformed through spiritual evolution into other life forms and physical material.

Hmmm ... interesting. It sounds like Evangelical Friends has their work cut out for years to come. Let's get it on for the glory of Jesus Christ!

Thanks for your support and prayers ...

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