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Christianity and Society

25-131 | Tuesday, 9 a.m. | 447
Session Chair: Adam Knobler

Carlos Caldas

Mainline Protestants, Evangelicals, Charismatics, Pentecostals and Neopentecostals and their Participation in the Public Arena in Brazil: A Critical Assessment

Brazil, the fifth largest population on Earth and the sixth wealthiest country in the world (in 2014), is a society where religion still has great influence. The growth of non-Catholic Christianity in recent decades (Mainline Protestants, Evangelicals, Charismatics, Pentecostals and Neopentecostals) has been observed by many who study religious phenomenon worldwide, e.g, Philip Jenkins. With such a tremendous numeric growth the participation of those groups in the public arena in Brazil is unavoidable. This paper intends to explore the characteristics of such involvement: what are the major concerns of the aforementioned religious groups, as far as social-political questions is concerned? How did their main leaders work during the period of the last Presidential elections? The main hypothesis is that the theological “credenda” of the group will guide its social and political “agenda” in Brazilian society.

Christopher Driscoll, Monica Miller

K(no)w Where to Go: Diasporic Transatlantic Commuters, African American Religious Studies, and Escaping the “Permanence” of American Racism

The Atlantic Ocean has, for both the study of African American Religion and those it studies, served as a sacred/profane distinction. Whether framed as the profanization and objectification of black bodies via the Middle Passage, or as means of resacralization through diasporic travel to Europe or Africa via the “black Atlantic,” travel—through space and time—has worked to construct the tradition we call African American religion. Examining figures like writer James Baldwin and rapper Kanye West and their use of literary and technological modes of omnipresence as contemporary expressions of this tradition, this paper travels the borderlands between theory and data to suggest that categorization of religious traditions as well as the methods used in their study follows a logic of K(no)wing Where to Go: that is, knowing that “travel” requires escape from sacred/profane binary thinking, but recognizing that there is seemingly (no)where to go for escape.

Orivaldo Lopes Jr

Presence of Christian Theology in Contemporary Academic Thought: An historical change

The occidental and modern scientific statute has as fundamental article the clear demarcation between the peculiarity of the rational thought and other ways of thinking. We try to demonstrate trough this paper, an opposite tendency in the advanced Modernity: the construction of a two-way road between the academic thought and religion in the public square. We intent to focus here the academic realm as much more open to religious thought. In post-doctoral research presently developed at University of Padua, we concentrate in two Italian thinkers: Gianni Vattimo and Giorgio Agamben, in order to demonstrate that this interaction became possible as the result of exposition of itself in Public Square, practiced by Christianity, especially by their theologians. We intent to present how it happened, and what were the epistemological bases that permitted this kind of interaction. The relationship with the religious universe here practiced, shows some intellectual possibilities and caveats.