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The Crisis of Religious Identity and Religious Landscape in Contemporary Brazil

DOI: 10.4236/jss.2014.210003, PP. 12-18

Keywords: Religion, Brazil, Religious Identity, Religious Diversity, Catholic Church

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Inserted in the processes of economic, political and cultural globalization, there is a crisis within traditional meaning-producing and identity-creating institutions, such as the state, family, school and traditional religions, going on in Brazil and in other Latin American countries. If in the 1930s being Brazilian and Catholic were considered two sides of the same national religious identity coin, which could be applied, mutatis mutandis, to other countries in the region, today Brazil is rapidly becoming a multi-cultural and multi-religious country. It remains the largest Catholic country, but is also already the largest Pentecostal and the largest Spiritualist country in the world. In addition, other religious minorities, such as African-Brazilian religions, Buddhists, Muslims and Jews increasingly occupy the public sphere. Parallel to this shift, there is a significant effort being put forth by many Brazilian and South American religious communities to expand on a global level, such as the Pentecostals, charismatic Catholics, Spiritualists and Afro-Brazilian communities. This presentation analyzes the causes and the data related to this religious and identity change and highlights some trends for the future.


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