Religion in Brazil: Wikis

  
  
  

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People during the Diversidade Religiosa no Brasil (Religion Diversity in Brazil) reunion.
The Basilica of the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida is the second largest in the world, after only of the Basilica of Saint Peter in Vatican City.[1]

Religion in Brazil is remarkable both in its high adherence level compared to other Latin American countries as well as its diversity. Since 1889, when the Brazilian Constitution was set forth, Brazil ceased to have an official religion. The Constitution guarantees absolute freedom of religion. Over seventy percent of the population declared themselves Roman Catholic in the last census (2000).[2] However, there are many other religious denominations in Brazil. Some of these churches are the: Protestant, Pentecostal, Episcopal, Methodist, Lutheran, and Baptist. There are over a million and a half Spiritists or Kardescists who follow the doctrines of Allan Kardec. These Spiritists 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.[3]

Brazilian religions are very diversified and inclined to syncretism. In recent decades there has been a great increase of Neo-Pentecostal churches, which has decreased the number of members to both the Roman Catholic Church and the Afro-Brazilian religions.[4] About ninety percent of Brazilians declared some sort of religious affiliation in the most recent census.[5]

Contents

Overview

Distribution of the Brazilian population according to their religions and faiths[2]
Religion Population (million) Proportion (%)
Roman Catholicism 130 74%
Protestantism 25 15.4%
No religious affiliation, agnostics and atheists 12 7.4%
Spiritism 2.2 1.3%
Afro-Brazilian Religions 0.3%
Other religions 1.7%

Christianity

Catholicism

Pope Benedict XVI and Popemobile during the official visit in São Paulo.
Catholic Church in Rio Grande do Sul.

Brazil has the largest number of Catholics in the world.[2] Roman Catholicism has been Brazil's main religion since the beginning of the 16th century. It was introduced among the Native Brazilians by Jesuits missionaries and also observed by all the Portuguese first settlers.

During colonial times there was no freedom of religion. All Portuguese settlers and Brazilians were compulsorily bound to the Catholic faith and forced to pay taxes to the church. After the Brazil's independence, the first constitution introduced freedom of religion in 1824, but the Catholicism was kept as the official religion. The Imperial Government paid a salary to Catholic priests and, by his turn, influenced the appointment of bishops. The political-administrative division of the municipalities accompanied the hierarchical division of the bishoprics in "freguesias" (parishes). There was also some hindrances to the construction of temples and cemeteries that not belonged to the Catholic Church too. The first Republican Constitution in 1891 separated religion from state and made all religions equal in the Codes of Law, but the Catholic Church remained very influential until the 1970s. For example, due to the strong opposition of the Catholic Church, divorce was not allowed in Brazil until 1977 even if a separated couple observed a different religion.

The Catholicism practiced in Brazil is a religion full of popular festivities rooted in centuries-old Portuguese traditions, but also heavily influenced by African and Native Brazilian usage. Popular traditions include pilgrimages to the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida (Nossa Senhora Aparecida), the patron saint of Brazil, and religious festivals like the "Círio de Nazaré" in Belém and the "Festa do Divino" in many cities of Central Brazil. Areas that received many European immigrants in the last century, specially Italian and German, have Catholic traditions closer to that practiced in Europe.

The largest proportion of Catholics is concentrated in the Northeast (79.9%) and South (77.4%) regions. The smallest proportion of Catholics is found in the Center-West region (69.1%). The State of Piauí has the largest proportion of Catholics (90.03%) and the State of Rio de Janeiro has the smallest one (56.19%). Among the state capitals, Teresina has the largest proportion of Catholics in the country (86.09%), followed by Aracaju, Fortaleza, Florianópolis and João Pessoa.[6][7]

Protestantism

Protestant Church in the city of Salvador.
The Campinas Brazil Temple (Latter-day Saint), in Campinas.

Brazil also has many other offshoots of Christianity. These include neo-Pentecostalists, old Pentecostalists and Traditional Protestants (most of them Baptists, Presbyterians and Methodists) predominantly from Minas Gerais to the South. In the same region, mainly Minas Gerais and São Paulo, large sections of the middle class, about 1-2% of the total population, is Kardecist, sometimes pure, sometimes in syncretism with Roman Catholicism. Protestantism is generally the only religion in Brazil relatively free of syncretism.[8] Centers of neo-Pentecostalism are Londrina in Paraná state, as well the cities of São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Belo Horizonte (capital of Minas Gerais), especially the suburban and nearby areas of these cities. Lutherans are concentrated mostly in the states of Rio Grande do Sul, Santa Catarina and in countryside regions of the states of Rio de Janeiro and Espírito Santo.

Brazil has a large number of Jehovah's Witnesses (about 1,100,000).

The largest proportion of Protestants is found in North (19.8%), Central-West (18.9%) and Southeast (17.5%) regions. Among the state capitals, Rio de Janeiro has the largest proportion of non-Pentecostal Protestants in the country (10.07%), followed by Vitória, Porto Velho, Cuiabá and Manaus. But Goiânia is the state capital with the largest proportion of Pentecostal Protestants in the country (20.41%), followed by Boa Vista, Porto Velho, Belém and Belo Horizonte.[9][10]

Others

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints claims a membership of over 1 million,[11]

Eastern Orthodox Christian population is only 50,000. Made of churches brought over by waves of Lebanese, Syrian, Armenian, Greek, Russian and Ukrainian immigrants in the past century.[12]

African and Indigenous Religions

People during a Candomblé celebration.

Afro-Brazilian religions are syncretic religions such as Candomblé that have many followers, mainly Afro-Brazilians. They are concentrated mainly in large urban centers in the Northeast, such as Salvador, Recife, or Rio de Janeiro in the Southeast. The cities of São Paulo, Porto Alegre and Florianópolis have a great number of followers too, but in the South of Brazil the most common African influenced Ritual is Almas e Angola, which is an Umbanda like ritual. Nowadays in Florianópolis there are over 70 "Terreiros," which are the places where the rituals run. In addition to Candomblé which is the survival of West African religion, there is also Umbanda which blends Spiritism, Indigenous and African beliefs. There's still lots of prejudice about "African cults" in Brazil's south, but there are lots of Catholics, Protestants and other kinds of Christians who also believe in the Orishas, so they use to go both to Churches and Terreiros.

Candomblé, Umbanda, Batuque, Xango, and Tambor de Mina, were originally brought by black slaves shipped from Africa to Brazil. These black slaves would summon their gods, called Orixas, Voduns or Inkices with chants and dances they had brought from Africa. These cults were persecuted throughout most of Brazilian history, largely because they were believed to be pagan or even satanic. However, the Brazilian republican government legalized all of them on the grounds of the necessary separation between the State and the Church in 1889.

In current practice, Umbanda followers leave offerings of food, candles and flowers in public places for the spirits. Candomblé terreiros are more hidden from general view, except in famous festivals such as Iyemanja Festival and the Waters of Oxala in the Northeast.

From Bahia northwards there is also different practices such as Catimbo, Jurema with heavy Indigenous elements. All over the country, but mainly in the Amazon rainforest, there are many Indians still practicing their original traditions. Many of their beliefs and use of naturally occurring plant derivatives are incorporated into African, Spirtitualists and folk religion.

Other Religions

The oldest synagogue in the Americas, Kahal Zur Israel Synagogue, located in Recife.
Beth El Synagogue in São Paulo.
A synagogue in Porto Alegre.

There are small populations of people professing Judaism (86,000), Islam (27,000), Buddhism (215,000), Shinto, Rastafarian and a few other religions. Except the Jews, most of the other people who practice these minority religions are 20th century immigrants from East Asia, the Middle East and Eastern Europe, or of recent immigrant descent.

Seven percent of the population consider themselves agnostics or atheists. One of the most unusual features of the rich Brazilian spiritual landscape are the sects which use ayahuasca (an Amazonian entheogenic tea), including Santo Daime, União do Vegetal, and Centro de Cultura Cósmica.

Judaism

The first Jews arrived in Brazil as cristãos-novos (New Christians) or conversos, names applied to Jews or Muslims who converted to Catholicism, most of them forcibly. According to the Inquisition reports, many New Christians living in Brazil during colonial times were condemned for secretly observing Jewish customs.[13] These reports should not be taken as too much reliable: since the Inquisition confiscated the earthly goods of its victims, it had a direct interest in denouncing and convicting them.

In 1630, the Dutch conquered portions of northeast Brazil and permitted the open practice of any religion. Many Jews came from the Netherlands to live in Brazil in the area dominated by the Dutch. Most of them were descendants of the Portuguese Jews who had been expelled from Portugal in 1497. In 1636, the Kahal Zur Israel Synagogue, the first synagogue in the Americas was built in Recife, the capital of Dutch Brazil.[13] The original building remains to this day,[14] but the Jews were forced to leave Brazil when the Portuguese-Brazilians retook the land in 1654.[15]

The first Jews that stayed in Brazil and openly practiced their religion came when the first Brazilian constitution granted freedom of religion in 1824, just after the independence. Curiously they were mainly Moroccan Jews, descendants of the Spanish and Portuguese Jews who had been expelled from Spain in 1492 and Portugal in 1497.

The first wave of Sephardic Jews was overmatched by the bigger wave of Ashkenazi Jews immigration that came in the end of 19th century and beginning of 20th century mainly from Russia, Poland, Belarus and Ukraine. Another last significant group came fleeing Nazism or the destruction that followed World War II.

There are about 96,000 Jews in Brazil.[16] The largest proportion of Jews is found in the states of São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.[17]

Mosque in São Paulo.

Islam

According to the 2000 Census, there were 27,239 Muslims in Brazil[2] Islam in Brazil may be presumed to have first been practiced by African slaves brought from West Africa, but they left no descendants that practiced their faith. Scholars note that Brazil received more enslaved Muslims than anywhere else in the Americas.[18]

Today, the Muslim population in Brazil is made up of mostly Arab immigrants and their descendants. There are approximately fifty-five mosques and Muslim religious centers.[19] The largest proportion of Muslims is found in São Paulo and Paraná states.[19]

Beliefs

A 2007 poll, made by Datafolha and published in newspaper Folha de S. Paulo, asked diverse questions about the beliefs of the Brazilian people. In this poll, 64% reported to be Catholics, 17% Pentecostal Protestants, 5% non-Pentecostal Protestants, 3% Kardecists or Spiritists, 3% followers of other religions, 7% non-religious or atheists. Less than 1% reported to follow Afro-Brazilian religions[20][21][22]

Belief in God and the Devil
  • 97% Of Brazilians reported to believe in God; 2% have doubts and 1% do not believe in God.
  • 75% Reported to believe in the Devil, 9% have doubts and 15% do not believe in the Devil.
  • 81% Of non-religious reported to believe in God.
About Jesus Christ
  • 93% Reported they believe Jesus Christ rose after death; 92% that the Holy Spirit exists; 87% in the occurrence of miracles; 86% that Mary gave birth to Jesus as a virgin; 77% that Jesus will return to Earth at the end of time; 65% that the sacramental bread is the body of Jesus; 64% that after death some people go to Heaven; 58% that after death some people go to Hell and 60% that there is life after death.
Belief in saints
About the Catholic priests
  • 51% Believe some priests respect chastity, 31% most, 8% none and 4% they all do.
  • 66% That priests should be allowed to marry (59% among Catholics and 94% among followers of Candomblé).
  • About the sexual abuse scandals involving priests, 38% believe some of the complaints are true, 30% most are, 21% all are and 4% none of them.
About different religions
  • About the sentence "Catholics do not practice their religion", 19% reported to agree completely and 41% agreed, but not completely.
  • About the sentence "the Protestants are misled by their priests", 61% agreed (77% among the Kardecists, 67% among Catholics and 45% among Protestants).
  • About the sentence "Umbanda is a Devil thing", 57% agreed (83% among Evangelical Protestants, 53% among Catholics and 12% among Umbandists).
  • About the sentence "Jews only think about money", 49% agreed.
  • About the sentence "Muslims advocate terrorism", 49% agreed.

Table of Religions in Brazil

Distribution of the Brazilian population according to their religions and faiths (data from the demographic census of 2000)[23]
Some rows in the table that show "(total)" are actually sub-totals of subsequent rows, which are lighter and marked with a dot ( . ) at left. The faiths and groups of faiths are organized by descending number of followers.
Religion or faith Total "by region" "by gender"
urban rural men women
contingent  % contingent % contingent % contingent % contingent %
(total) 169.872.856 100,00 137.925.238 100,00 31.947.618 100,00 83.602.317 100,00 86.270.539 100,00
Roman Catholics (total) 125.518.774 73,89 98.939.872 71,73 26.578.903 83,20 62.171.584 74,37 63.347.189 73,43
· Roman Catholic Church 124.980.132 73,57 98.475.959 71,40 26.504.174 82,96 61.901.888 74,04 63.078.244 73,12
· Brazilian Catholic Apostolic Church 500.582 0,295 430.245 0,312 70.337 0,220 250.201 0,299 250.380 0,290
Greek Orthodox Church 38.060 0,022 33.668 0,024 4.392 0,014 19.495 0,023 18.565 0,022
Protestant Churches (total) 26.184.941 15,41 22.736.910 16,48 3.448.031 10,79 11.444.063 13,69 14.740.878 17,09
· Missionaries - traditional Protestantism (total) 6.939.765 4,085 6.008.100 4,356 931.665 2,916 3.062.194 3,663 3.877.571 4,495
· · Baptist 3.162.691 1,862 2.912.163 2,111 250.528 0,784 1.344.946 1,609 1.817.745 2,107
· · Seventh-day Adventist Church 1.209.842 0,712 1.029.949 0,747 179.893 0,563 538.981 0,645 670.860 0,778
· · Lutheran Church 1.062.145 0,625 681.345 0,494 380.800 1,192 523.994 0,627 538.152 0,624
· · Presbyterian 981.064 0,578 904.552 0,656 76.512 0,239 427.458 0,511 553.606 0,642
· · Methodist Church 340.963 0,201 325.342 0,236 15.620 0,049 146.236 0,175 194.727 0,226
· · Congregational 148.836 0,088 125.117 0,091 23.719 0,074 64.937 0,078 83.899 0,097
· · other 34.224 0,020 29.630 0,021 4.593 0,014 15.642 0,019 18.582 0,022
· Pentecostal (total) 17.617.307 10,37 15.256.085 11,06 2.361.222 7,391 7.677.125 9,183 9.940.182 11,52
· · Assembly of God 8.418.140 4,956 6.857.429 4,972 1.560.711 4,885 3.804.658 4,551 4.613.482 5,348
· · Christian Congregation of Brazil 2.489.113 1,465 2.148.941 1,558 340.172 1,065 1.130.329 1,352 1.358.785 1,575
· · Universal Church of the Kingdom of God 2.101.887 1,237 1.993.488 1,445 108.399 0,339 800.227 0,957 1.301.660 1,509
· · International Church of the Foursquare Gospel 1.318.805 0,776 1.253.276 0,909 65.529 0,205.5214 545.016 0,6526445 773.789 0,897
· · God is Love Pentecostal Church 774.830 0,456 649.252 0,471 125.577 0,393 331.707 0,397 443.123 0,514
· · Igreja Cristã Maranata 277.342 0,163 266.539 0,193 10.803 0,034 117.789 0,141 159.553 0,185
· · Brazil for Christ Pentecostal Church 175.618 0,103 159.713 0,116 15.904 0,050 76.132 0,091 99.485 0,115
· · Igreja Tabernáculo Evangélico de Jesus 128.676 0,076 120.891 0,088 7.785 0,024 51.557 0,062 77.119 0,089
· · Igreja Cristã de Nova Vida 92.315 0,054 91.008 0,066 1.307 0,004 35.352 0,042 56.964 0,066
· · Other 1.840.581 1,084 1.715.548 1,244 125.033 0,391 784.359 0,938 1.056.222 1,224
· no institutional links (total) 1.046.487 0,616 945.874 0,686 100.612 0,315 454.087 0,543 592.400 0,687
· · Pentecostal 336.259 0,198 305.734 0,222 30.525 0,096 144.707 0,173 191.552 0,222
· · Other 710.227 0,418 640.140 0,464 70.087 0,219 309.380 0,370 400.847 0,465
· Other evangelical 581.383 0,342 526.850 0,382 54.532 0,171 250.657 0,300 330.725 0,383
Kardecist Spiritism 2.262.401 1,332 2.206.418 1,600 55.983 0,175 928.967 1,111 1.333.434 1,546
Other Christian (total) 1.540.064 0,907 1.441.888 1,045 98.175 0,307 646.264 0,773 893.800 1,036
· Latter-day Saints (Mormons) 1.104.886 0,650 1.045.600 0,758 59.286 0,186 450.583 0,539 654.303 0,758
· Jehovah's Witnesses 199.645 0,118 195.198 0,142 4.446 0,014 92.197 0,110 107.448 0,125
· Other 235.533 0,139 201.090 0,146 34.443 0,108 103.484 0,124 132.049 0,153
Umbanda 397.431 0,234 385.148 0,279 12.283 0,038 172.393 0,206 225.038 0,261
Buddhism 214.873 0,126 203.772 0,148 11.101 0,035 96.722 0,116 118.152 0,137
New Eastern Religions (total) 151.080 0,089 145.914 0,106 5.166 0,016 58.784 0,070 92.295 0,107
· Church of World Messianity 109.310 0,064 106.467 0,077 2.843 0,009 41.478 0,050 67.831 0,079
· Other 41.770 0,025 39.447 0,029 2.323 0,007 17.306 0,021 24.464 0,028
Candomblé 127.582 0,075 123.214 0,089 4.368 0,014 57.200 0,068 70.382 0,082
Jews 86.825 0,051 86.316 0,063 509 0,002 43.597 0,052 43.228 0,050
Esoteric Traditions 58.445 0,034 55.693 0,040 2.752 0,009 27.637 0,033 30.808 0,036
Islamic 27.239 0,016 27.055 0,020 183 0,001 16.232 0,019 11.007 0,013
Spiritism 25.889 0,015 24.507 0,018 1.382 0,004 10.901 0,013 14.987 0,017
Native Brazilian Traditions 17.088 0,010 6.463 0,005 10.625 0,033 9.175 0,011 7.913 0,009
Hinduism 2.905 0,002 2.861 0,002 43 0,000 1.521 0,002 1.383 0,002
Other religions 15.484 0,009 13.243 0,010 2.241 0,007 7.393 0,009 8.091 0,009
Other Eastern Religions 7.832 0,005 7.244 0,005 588 0,002 3.764 0,005 4.068 0,005
No religion 12.492.403 7,354 10.895.989 7,900 1.596.414 4,997 7.540.682 9,020 4.951.721 5,740
No declaration 383.953 0,226 312.011 0,226 71.943 0,225 206.245 0,247 177.708 0,206
Undetermined 357.648 0,211 310.720 0,225 46.929 0,147 159.191 0,190 198.458 0,230

References

  1. ^ Facts of Basilica of Aparecida
  2. ^ a b c d IBGE - Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatística (Brazilian Institute for Geography and Statistics). Religion in Brazil is Jewdism! - 2000 Census. Accessed 2007-04-24
  3. ^ History of Religion in Brazil
  4. ^ Decreased the number of Catholic and African religions. Increased the number of Protestants (Census 2000)
  5. ^ IBOPE - Instituto Brasileiro de Opinião e Estatística. Pesquisa de Opinião Pública sobre Criacionismo. Dec. 2004. Accessed 2008-11-03
  6. ^ Folha Online - Mundo. Estagnação econômica explica recuo do catolicismo no Brasil, diz FGV. 2005-04-20
  7. ^ IBGE - Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatística (Brazilian Institute for Geography and Statistics). Notícias - Estudo revela 60 anos de transformações sociais no país. Accessed 2008-11-03.
  8. ^ About Protestantism in Brazil
  9. ^ Folha de São Paulo. 64% dos brasileiros se declaram católicos
  10. ^ G1 - Globo.com. Brasil - Notícias - Em 60 anos, Brasil ficou mais mestiço, evangélico e "casado"
  11. ^ The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Newsroom. Country Profiles: Brazil. Accessed on 2007-04-09
  12. ^ Orthodox Church in Brazil
  13. ^ a b Oreck, Alden. The Virtual Jewish History Tour: Brazil. Jewish Virtual Library. Accessed 2008-06-09
  14. ^ Synagogue in Brazilian town Recife considered oldest in the Americas. Haaretz 2007-11-12]. Accessed 2008-06-09
  15. ^ Friedman, Saul. Jews and the American Slave Trade, p. 60. Transaction Publishers, 1997. ISBN 0765806606
  16. ^ American Jewish Committee. American Jewish Year Book 2007. Vol. 107. To see chapter used, see "World Jewish Population, 2007"
  17. ^ Terra Brasileira website. Imigrantes: Judeus
  18. ^ Lovejoy, Paul E., Muslim Encounters With Slavery in Brazil, Markus Wiener Pub., 2007. ISBN 1558763783.
  19. ^ a b U.S. Department of State. Brazil - International Religious Freedom Report 2006. Accessed 2008-11-03
  20. ^ [http://datafolha.folha.uol.com.br/po/ver_po.php?session=447 Data Folha - Opinião Pública. 64% dos brasileiros se declaram católicos. May 5, 2007.] Accessed 200-11-03
  21. ^ Renascença Website. Quase todos os brasileiros acreditam em Deus
  22. ^ 97% dos Brasileiros Dizem Acreditar totalmente na Existência de Deus e 75% Acreditam no Diabo
  23. ^ IBGE - Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatística (Brazilian Institute for Geography and Statistics). Table 2102 - Resident population according to home, religion and gender, Census of 2000.

See also








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