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Mariano and Oro show that between and , evangelical representatives in the National Congress more than doubled. While some scholars criticize the disproportional focus on one church, the interest is justified by the scandals around the church in the last decades but also its incredible spread outside Brazil.

The IURD is present in more than thirty countries worldwide. Corten, Dozer, and Oro : 13 regard it therefore as the largest and most important new church in the so-called developing world. The keystone of the IURD is the miraculous healing of the Holy Ghost, which can provide solutions to all kinds of problems—physical, psychological, social, and even economic. However, health comes for a price. The doctrine of prosperity is not only a pillar of the IURD, but other churches have adopted it, too. Healing has become big business in Brazil and contributes also to the success of the church outside Brazil e.

Scholars are also looking at the increasing conflict between the IURD and other Neo-Pentecostal churches with other religions, in particular Afro-Brazilian traditions e. Apart from the growing number of sociological studies on Pentecostalism, there is another strand of studies within religious studies looking at the Charismatic movements, within the Roman Catholic Church Catholic Charismatic Renewal as well as the Pentecostal churches. The economic success of two forms of Charismatic Christianity in Brazil is remarkable as Chesnut , shows. It mirrors the emotional worship style of Pentecostal churches, which also emphasize the physical dimension of religion.

Pierucci and Prandi see significant similarities between CCR and the Pentecostal movement not only with regard to the charismatic form of religious practice but also on a sociological level e. An important difference, however, is the devotion to the Virgin Mary, which takes a central place in CCR but is excluded from Pentecostal worship. A new area of studies looks at the Diaspora communities e. A focus here is also on Neo-Pentecostal churches such as IURD, but there is currently research done on other churches e.


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An interesting side-topic here is the role of evangelical football players. Because of the strong presence of evangelical football players in Brazil, they have become also increasingly visible among Brazilian players overseas e. According to the census data the number of people identifying with Spiritism increased slightly from 1. Consequently, they reject to tick the box for Spiritism when questioned about their belief, despite their practice. Spiritists can identify as agnostic or even with a specific religion though the majority of Brazilian Spiritists conform to Christian beliefs.

Spiritism has attracted the attention of scholars, mainly Brazilians e. While the focus of the latter is often on Spiritist healing, the former group focuses mainly on the relationship with Catholicism, questions of identity or political issues. Until today Spiritists acknowledge his teachings and honor his significance. However, in addition to Kardecism Brazilian Spiritism has incorporated a range of other influences and developed consequently multiple variations of Spiritism.

At the same time, Spiritist ideas have enriched other belief systems such as the Afro-Brazilian religion Umbanda. Lewgoy : states that in the first decades Spiritism with its anticlerical attitude and its progressive, positivistic, and free-thinking ideas attracted mainly educated Brazilians. Unsurprisingly practitioners were persecuted until the separation of Church and State in Spiritist ideas then spread quickly to wider sectors of society due to its dedication to charity. During his life time, he published over books with messages from the spirits. However, his fame goes way beyond his books.

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He was regarded as a charismatic leader who became a national symbol in Brazil Silva ; Stoll Scholars argue that Chico Xavier changed Spiritism in Brazil with his strong link to Roman Catholicism and his conservative attitude. As a result Spiritism became more structured with a set of ritualistic canon and doctrines Lewgoy : Nonetheless, Spiritism became increasingly mixed with elements from other traditions, in particular New Age ideas Lewgoy : , and has lost to a certain degree its Roman Catholic frame. Recent developments esp. Nowhere is this more visible than in the growing healing sector.

Greenfield shows particularly well the intensity of the link between Spiritists and healers in Brazil and its many variations, with various different treatments, from disobsession persuading a spirit to let go and leave a person alone over cleaning the aura of a client to Spiritual surgery by a medium often without medical training.

One common feature among these treatments is the consultation of the spirits of deceased medical doctors, for instance, Dr. Fritz, who had become quite famous. However, the practice is far more widespread. One also should not underestimate the pressure of the negative image of these religions which has become worse in the last decades due to the increasing influence of Neo-Pentecostal churches Silva Afro-Brazilian traditions, however, encourage the incorporation as it enables communication with the supernatural entities and enriches the lives of the possessed positively. Afro-Brazilian traditions have inspired many artists and elements of Afro-Brazilian are portrayed nowadays in countless novels, poems, songs, movies, and other artistic forms.

The birth of the most prominent Afro-Brazilian religions is linked to places in Brazil with a slavery history such as slave markets, plantations with large populations of enslaved workers and palenques, communities of maroons, and so-called runaway slaves. And the list can go on for an overview, see Silva Nowadays, however, one can encounter terreiros community houses and compounds of these traditions in all major cities of Brazil and most of them are beginning to lose the link to the original region. Nonetheless, it is not possible to divide the Afro-Brazilian terreiros in separate religions due to the many variations and mixtures.

Each community is hierarchically structured with a priest or priestess as undisputable head of the community. They have the ultimate power over the composition of the beliefs and practices of their terreiro though they are themselves linked to the terreiro of the priest who proceeded over their initiations, years or decades ago. As each terreiro is autonomous the variations seem endless. These terreiros welcomed their recognition and even gained some political influence though religiously they do not have any authority over other terreiros and do not speak for them.

Some of the early anthropological studies looked at the bricolage of ideas and practices within the wider Afro-American framework e. For a while Umbanda was overlooked until its significance within the wider Brazilian society became recognized Brown A long-standing research focus has been on women e. Brazilian scholars also study these religions within the wider political context such as prosecution e.

Another constant feature of these studies is the aesthetic side of the rituals and its material dimension e. Today the number would be much higher. One of the most vibrant developments is based around ayahuasca, a hallucinogenic drug that was traditionally used by indigenous shamans and mixed-race healers in the wider Amazonian area of Columbia, Bolivia, Peru, Venezuela, Ecuador, and Brazil. Developed in the rural area of Brazil in the s and s, ayahuasca inspired the establishment of various new religions that are still flourishing today among the urbanized population, even outside Brazil.

A common feature is that after the death of each founder the groups fragmented further and spread throughout Brazil and beyond. Dawson , gives in his publications a good overview of the diversity of the ayahuasca religions as well as an insight into the ritualistic aspects. All of these groups are popular among the more affluent middle and upper classes in Brazil and other countries.


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  • Although these groups are relatively small and appear too insignificant to have an impact on Brazil, they are well known in and outside Brazil and have an impact nationally and internationally. And here they demonstrate the possible impact these groups produce, for instance, by changing constitutions: because it is usually illegal to consume ayahuasca because it is classified as a drug, followers of Santo Daime are pursuing legal battles in each of these countries to get ayahuasca rituals accepted as religious in Brazil it is legal to drink ayahuasca as part of a religious ritual.

    The main practice is healing with the help of spiritual guides e. They are quite well known due to the spectacular dimension of the colorful sacred spaces and ritual uniforms and begin to spread currently not only within Brazil but beyond. Pierini reports that the Order has opened over six hundred temples in Brazil, and many more in North and South America, in Europe, and in Japan.

    The main temple has grown from a small farm into a town of around 10, inhabitants, with the vast majority mediums or with some other tie to the Vale do Amanhecer Pierini This section looks at religions linked to various immigrant groups. They are not well studied apart from some historical sources and a few sociological studies. While the number of devotees for these traditions is indeed small, their presence contributes to a growing multi-religious composition of the country.

    These religions are linked to immigration and to the construction of cultural identity of these groups though some Asian religions have managed to attract since the s Brazilians of other ethnic origins. The presence of Islam and Judaism in Brazil can be traced back to Pedro Alvares Cabral and the Portuguese conquest of the country in the sixteenth century.

    However, while on board of the Portuguese ships were indeed Muslims and Jews who tried to flee from the Inquisition, the persecution forced them into hiding by conversion and renaming, which makes identification in the historical records impossible. The Dutch part of what is today the northeastern part of Brazil was not controlled by the Inquisition and allowed Jewish immigrants. Recife saw therefore the birth of the first Jewish community in America during the seventeenth century. However, when Portugal conquered Recife in , the Jewish community had to leave see Topel The presence of Muslims among the enslaved Africans arriving in Brazil centuries later is, however, confirmed Pinto While they were sent at the beginning mainly to the state of Bahia, a rebellion of slaves in Reis forced the state to change it attitude.

    From then onward, Islam was regarded as dangerous and Muslims were spread across Brazil in order to diminish the threat for the slave owners Castro Nonetheless, Silva states that at the end of the nineteenth century approximately 20, Muslims lived in Brazil with the majority in Salvador de Bahia. However, these groups of African Muslims diminished despite the guarantee of religious freedom in Due to the new religious freedom, the nineteenth century saw the arrival of immigrants of non-Catholic background. Topel reports of Jewish immigrants mainly from Eastern Europe but also from Tangier and Morocco.

    Mass immigration, however, did not start until the beginning of the twentieth century when the United States began to restrict immigration.

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    At the same time Muslim immigrants also began to arrive in Brazil due to the fall of the Ottoman Empire Castro ; Truzzi Topel however highlights that it was impossible to establish religion at that time as immigration only noted nationality in an undifferentiated way. It was therefore impossible to recognize how many of the immigrations from the Ottoman Empire were Muslims or Jewish. Since these immigrants held Turkish passports, they would have been recorded as Turks, whether they were Jewish, Christian, or Muslims see Topel The next flux of immigrants from the area arrived in Brazil due to the outbreak of the Lebanon war in , which contributed to an increasing number of Muslims in Brazil.

    Even today the largest group of Muslims in Brazil Nonetheless, the number remains small: according to the census only 35, Muslims live in Brazil though Castro writes that according to local religious leaders approximately one million Muslims live in Brazil Castro, The number of Jewish Brazilians is only slightly higher: , according to the census. However, as the Brazilian census defines religious belonging on religious grounds and by self-identification non-religious Jews such as secular Zionist or cultural Jews might not be included while, on the other hand, Messianic Jews would be counted despite the Christian frame of their faith see Topel Despite the long history of Jewish and Muslim presence in Brazil their numbers today are smaller than the number for Buddhists , in and devotees of so-called Eastern religion , While the number of immigrants from Japan, China, India, or other Asian countries is probably not larger than the one of the Middle East, Buddhism, Hinduism, and even Shinto manage to attract growing interest from Brazilians of other ethnic backgrounds.

    Like Islam and Judaism, Asian religions arrived in Brazil via immigrants. The first recognized communities came from China in the nineteenth century though their number was tiny. Usarski and Shoji mention not more than Chinese tea planters in the city of Rio de Janeiro and approximately 1, miners in the Federal State of Minas Gerais. The number of Asian immigrants increased in the beginning of the twentieth century.

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    Izumi mentioned the arrival of almost , Japanese farmers and rural workers during the first decades due to a rural crisis in Japan. Usarski and Shoji note that while Shinto played an important role for the identity of these immigrants, rituals were often improvised due to a lack of priests and monks during the first decades Handa Maintaining its ethnic character, Buddhism became in particular important for funerals as immigrants realized that they would stay in Brazil.

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    Japanese new religions also spread among the Japanese communities as means to preserve their ethnic identity Shimazono : Even today traditional Japanese Buddhist temples maintain significance within the ethnic community despite having a declining importance for younger generations. Nonetheless, Buddhism has diversified due to the arrival of Chinese and later Korean immigrants who brought their own forms of Buddhism Yang Another changing factor was the spread of Zen Buddhism among Brazilians of other ethnic backgrounds Rocha The increasing number of Brazilian converts to Zen Buddhism since the s and later on the growing interest in Tibetan Buddhism among Brazilians has led to a growing presence of Buddhism in Brazil Usarski Buddhism, once arrived in Brazil with a firmly defined ethnic identity, has now lost its ethnic marker.

    While in , Maeyama : reports, for instance, that only Consequently, the number of Buddhists of Asian descent was surpassed already in the s by Buddhists of non-Asian descent. Nevertheless, the number is still not significant in quantitative measures: just 0. ISKCON arrived in Brazil in in a similar manner as elsewhere in the West as part of a general counterculture movement, hence it is part of a wider urban phenomenon that took place in the s and early s Huber ; Magnani Although it never spread in Brazil as successfully as in other Western countries, there is an interesting development.

    Due to the constant movement between religions, which is a characteristic of the Brazilian religious market, Guerriero reports that some Vedic symbols have become part of the wider religious universe in Brazil. He mentions, for instance, the presence of an image of Saint Francis wearing a saffron dhoti , or even murthis in small household altars Guerriero According to the census, there are , Amerindians in Brazil; however, only 63, declared that they belonged to an indigenous religion.

    Most are nowadays Christian although they often keep part of their own tradition. Despite some cultural commonalities, each group differs widely from each other. Most of the research about the indigenous religions has been done by Brazilian anthropologists e. While the focus of these anthropologists has been on an accurate ethnographic account of distinct Amerindian populations, in their effort to gain insight into the world of the Amerindian groups that they visited, the anthropologists collected not only information about social structure e.

    Like other indigenous religions, Amerindian people do not have a word for religion but refer to it as a way of life. In this sense, religion is a marker of the identity of the group, a way to separate themselves from others see also Chamorro Early studies on these indigenous religions focused often on a collection of myths that contain, for instance, information about worldview with its various groups of natural and supernatural beings. His collection of myths about the creation and destruction of the universe contains one of the earliest ethnographic studies of Amerindian religion.

    These movements which were recorded since early colonial times are usually interpreted as reaction to colonialism and postcolonial pressures including diseases and deforestation. Upon arrival the group would then begin to dance nonstop in order to get closer to the land of the spirits. Chamorro links the installation of indigenous reservations in the early twentieth century with the spread of Protestantism among Amerindian groups. She argues that the Brazilian government favored Protestant missions because they were supposed to make Amerindians receptive to transformation.

    The impact was widespread, in particular, due to the focus of the missionaries on education and other social offers. Chamorro states that many indigenous leaders, teachers, and agents in the health sectors today were taught in Protestant schools and churches. However, since the s Pentecostalism began to spread among Amerindian populations as means to indigenize Christianity. However, while a large number of these communities are led by indigenous leaders, the twenty larger churches are all led by non-indigenous ministers living in the urban centers such as Dourados Chamorro, As other indigenous churches, it is independent from non-indigenous leaders and displays a charismatic form of Christianity, with a focus on personal narratives of successful resistance against the powers of evil.

    While the Christianization of the Amerindian population is a recognized phenomenon, it is so far not well studied.

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    The focus of anthropologists has been on the traditional beliefs and practices, for instance, shamanism. Instead, he argues, an Amerindian way of thinking accepts the existence of different beings e. Viveiros de Castro characterizes the Amerindian way of thinking therefore as the acceptance of different, coexisting realities, not only human and animals, but different human groups and different animals groups see also Stolze Lima ; Turner One important feature of the Amerindian form of animism is the relationship between man and nature and the possibility to cross the border between man and animal e.

    The latest development in studies of Amerindian religions is marked by the growing contributions of indigenous authors. While on one side mediating between Western interpretations and indigenous traditions, they also represent a significant expansion in the way of thinking as they often merge traditional ideas in a new bricolage. Gentil represents just one example of a growing field of creative bricolage for further examples of merging traditions, see also De Souza This overview of studies gives just a glimpse into the rich field of studies on religion in Brazil.

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    The studies reflect on the changes of the Brazilian society over the last decades and give an indication of the complexity of religion in Brazil. Brazil is an industrialized and urbanized society with ongoing social problems, a legacy of its colonial and postcolonial past but also a result of the dramatic urbanization. These processes had an impact on the religious landscape of Brazil today as this chapter shows. One consequence was the increasing diversification due to the arrival of other Christian denominations as well as other religions such as Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, and Hinduism.

    However, these religions did not stay within a limited ethnic section of society but spread out and developed further. Another consequence was the impact on gender and social stratification. It is no longer possible to restrict specific religious roles and traditions to one social or racial sector of society. It is no longer possible to say, for instance, that certain religions are practiced predominately among the urbanized poor or that other traditional religions attract predominately women or homosexual men. It is even possible to become a shaman in an Amerindian religion without being indigenous.

    And, third, another consequence of the processes that changed Brazilian society is the bricolage of traditions. While Afro-Brazilian religions had become established as bricolage already during the colonial past, the merging of traditions and the establishment of new forms is now present among other religions as well, and not only among vernacular traditions. Lastly, a relatively new development is the spread of Brazilian religions.

    While this development is linked to the emigration of Brazilians, it goes much further as the success of some of the neo-Pentecostal churches indicate. Alencar, G. Find this resource:. Baldus, H. Bastide, R. Birman, P. Brown, D. Umbanda: Religion and Politics in Urban Brazil. Capone, S. Paris: Editions Karthala. Castro, C. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books.

    Engler and B. DenHague: Brill.


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    Chamorro, G. Forthcoming, Chesnut, A. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Civrieux, M. Watunna: An Orinoco Creation Cycle. Corten, A. Dozer, and A. Oro, A. Corten, and J. Dozer, 13— Dawson, A. Aldershot, UK: Ashgate. London: Bloomsbury. De Souza, J. Decole, R. Descola, P. Beyond Nature and Culture. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

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