Just one more thread about Brazil.
This time about religion.
I think that nobody can really understand the Brazilian culture without knowing a little bit about the influence of the Kardecist "religion" in Brazil.
I'm not a Kardecist myself, but I have many friends who are Kardecists, or have a deep influence of Kardecism in their beliefs.
But what is Kardecism (Spiritism)??
Some information from those Wikipedia articles:
Spiritism - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
History of Spiritism - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
"In a stricter sense, it is the religion, beliefs and practices of the people affiliated to the International Spiritist Union, based on the works of Allan Kardec and others. Formed in France in the 19th century, it soon spread to other countries, but today the only country where it has a significant number of adherents is Brazil."
"Spiritism is based on the five books of the Spiritist Codification written by French educator Hypolite Léon Denizard Rivail under the pseudonym Allan Kardec reporting séances in which he observed a series of phenomena that he attributed to incorporeal intelligence (spirits). His assumption of spirit communication was validated by many contemporaries, among them many scientists and philosophers who attended séances and studied the phenomena. His work was later extended by writers like Leon Denis, Arthur Conan Doyle, Camille Flammarion, Gabriel Delanne, Ernesto Bozzano, Chico Xavier, Divaldo Pereira Franco, Waldo Vieira, Johannes Greber and others.
Spiritism has adherents in many countries throughout the world, including Spain, United States, Canada, Japan, Germany, France, England, Argentina, Portugal and especially in American countries such as Cuba, Jamaica, and Brazil, which has among the largest proportion and greatest number of followers."
"The fundamental principles of Spiritism, enunciated by Allan Kardec in his seminal work The Spirits Book, are: (i) A belief in the existence of spirits - non-physical beings that live in the invisible or spirit world - and (ii) the possibility of communication between these spirits and living people through mediumship. There is a clear difference between the terms "Spiritism" and "Spiritualism":
Although there are many similarities between the two, they differ in some fundamental aspects, particularly regarding man's quest toward spiritual perfection and the manner by which the followers of each practice their beliefs.
Spiritism teaches reincarnation or rebirth into human life after death. This basically distinguishes Spiritism from Spiritualism. According to the Spiritist doctrine, reincarnation explains the moral and intellectual differences among men. It also provides the path to man's moral and intellectual perfection by amending for his mistakes and increasing his knowledge in successive lives. For this reason Spiritism does not accept rebirth in animals as this would be retrogressive.
Finally, unlike Spiritualism, Spiritism is not a religious sect but a philosophy or a way of life by which its followers live by. Its followers have no priests or ministers and do not follow any religious rituals in their meetings. They also do not call their places of meetings as churches, and instead call them by various names such as centers, society or association. Their activities consist mainly of studying the Spiritist doctrine, applying spiritual healing to the sick and organizing charitable missions."
"Part of the problems faced by Spiritism were shared by the Internationalist movements, and probably due to this. Besides spiritists, esperantists, socialists, and others were also the target of repression by fascist regimes. Repression to Spiritism was particularly strong in Italy and Portugal.
In South America, on the other hand, none of the above factors was enough to weaken the spreading of the doctrine. Catholicism was losing popular support, the government did not oppose Spiritism, most people were not aware of scientific discoveries and the religion had not spread only among the upper classes. Thanks to the works of a few dedicated preachers it managed to lay solid foundations which allowed it survive as an important movement still today.
Such relocation occurred most successfully in Brazil
, where more than 4 million people
declare themselves "Kardecist Spiritists", according to the last IBGE census data, making Brazil the largest Spiritist country in the world."
Well... You may think that 4 million people in a country of 190 million is very few people...
But the 4 million are just those who openly consider themselves as "Kardecist Spiritists".
In fact, the influence of Kardecism in the Brazilian culture is much wider. There are millions of Brazilians who consider themselves as "Catholics" and go to the Catholic mass every Sunday, but have some link with Kardecists, read Kardecist books, and believe in mediumship and reincarnation.
The influence of Kardecism can be seen in the Brazilian media and in the Brazilian movies.
Many popular soap operas (telenovelas) in Brazilian TV show Kardecist concepts in their plot. Examples are soap operas like "A Viagem", "Alma Gemea" and "Escrito nas Estrelas".
In recent years, many Spiritist movies were launched in Brazil, and most were very successful among the general public. Examples include:
- Bezerra de Menezes - O Diario de um Espirito (2008)
- Nosso Lar (2010)
- As Maes de Chico Xavier (2011)
Well... Now you know how influential Kardecism (Spiritism) is in Brazil. Since it's a "religion" largely unknown in other countries, I think it's a interesting peculiarity of Brazil.