Who's afraid of evangelical progressivism?

Image: Luis Quintero
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By ANDRÉ CASTRO, JAYDER ROGER & JOÃO MARCOS DUARTE*

Evangelical progressivism is just another chapter in the old modern proclamation of equality and freedom

It seems ironic that in 2016, the year that marks the end of the period of the Petista administration, two months before the impeachment by Dilma Rousseff, Ronilso Pacheco says: “To those who maintain colonization, even giving them tropical or tupiniquin colors, there is no alternative other than crying, criticism, indignation, fright […] The colonizing heritage missed the train of history.”[I]

Ronilso Pacheco's essay is based on a hope that can only have arisen from a belief in the direction of modern progress, which now thinks it is combating “modern coloniality”, after all, the essay is called: “Who is afraid of decolonization?”.

What is a mere essay in a book becomes an expression of the group for which Ronilso Pacheco is a reference for reading reality. These continue to call themselves “progressive Christians”. The objective irony is that they make this statement to create a contrast with the public image that evangelicals have gained as supporters of Jair Bolsonaro. In an attempt to fight against Bolsonarism, which is understood as obscurantism, they claim to be progressive, defending the forces of reason, order, and bourgeois democracy.

Nothing new under the sun, since this is what our companions of Jesus have to offer: each in their own way, a set of good practices that can lead us to a Nation that, despite not calling itself Christian, strictly follow the values ​​of your (our companions’) interpretation of what it means to “be a Christian” or “be in the image and likeness of the Creator”. In one case or another, these are images in which they see or project themselves, depending on the case, so that, in the event of an identity that could make them part of a family, hope does not die (now resignified by other conduct manuals that aim, with the best of intentions, to continue to turn the machine of the world) of a gathering that invites humanity “towards unity despite all diversity”[ii].

Evangelicals have always been a heterogeneous social group, but in recent years the classical institutions of evangelicalism have taken a clear political stance. Anthropologists who try to approach churches as objects of research, and speak of an “instrumentalization of faith for political purposes”, fail to realize that the movement is not one of equipment, but of creation. Bolsonarism did not take over evangelical churches, it was forged within these socialization spaces. Bolsonarism is fundamentally an evangelical project with an ecumenical perspective, just as Liberation Theology was structurally Catholic with an ecumenical perspective.

The eyes of progressives, therefore, turn to the evangelical churches, which had already gained the reputation of washing machines and stealing money from the poor, with the much talked about Prosperity Theology: “Why do evangelicals vote for Jair Bolsonaro?”, “What is the influence of the evangelical vote?” and several other questions were frequent in the 2022 election campaign.

Despite all their illustration, because that is exactly what it is about, our enlightened brothers sing the same hymn as their ecumenical counterparts (not to say atheists) and treat their more “sensitive” brothers in Christ as a people with less literacy, given that the problem is one of doctrine and “fundamentalism” – whatever each of these terms means to those who proclaim them far and wide as being the poison inoculated in Pentecostal or historical churches. After all, it is still a question of the realization made by themselves, that what moves the world is religion.

What these immatures lack in faith (in the view of the enlightened, always worth highlighting), and, therefore, in politics, given that they support a former president who to this day makes the country ashamed internationally for his way of being and acting behave (personally and institutionally), is the correction of what is seen as the guide for biblical interpretation.

Reaching the same conclusions again (previously, when analyzing a documentary about these same “covered people”) – a work done by the purebred illustrated wing of today’s left – we observe the construction of the “image of a people who in theory would only know how to speak their own language, and that any new development that contradicts his clumsy worldview and customs would not have the capacity for (or taste for) rational dialogue and would resort to violence”.

With all this in mind, the question remains: “Wouldn't this be the racist image made by white people towards non-white people that the accusers here claim to fight, but end up reproducing by identifying the enemy (the different) in the same way? In short, an image that says more about who created it than who appears in it.”[iii]

Be that as it may, what do our dear fighters have to offer? Your own Encyclopedia that always end with certain compliances in favor of good coexistence around a project of union and reconstruction[iv] - advocacy, in due time, once again, the terms to be explained.

Black skins, white theology

Emiliano Jamba and Ana Luísa Leite (2019) give Pentecostalism a black face and a white theology – obviously the often cited theology of prosperity would be one of the elements of this “white theology”: in plain English, Pentecostalism would be one of the manifestations of miscegenation Brazilian, of our false racial democracy. This white theology would come from the North of the world (the infamous West) from Catholicism that descended due to the discoveries and, as a result, expropriations and enslavements – even legitimizing them.

It standardized content, moral and conduct standards; he said who Jesus was, who Christians and saints were and how a Christian should act; legitimized slavery and trading posts in the Americas and Africa; it took away from the enslaved black people their cults, their culture, their dignity; stripped him of his body, his vitality and his contact with nature. That is why Pentecostalism has a unique asceticism: the inheritance of a certain Protestant ethic, which never broke down in the spirit of capitalism (or which had not broken down until very recently), a denial of the world.

Therefore, it would be a religion that would subjugate those who innately have the body as their main tool of contact with God and the world – even Pentecostalism, when it has bodily manifestations, would have them repressed. Black theology, on the contrary, would rescue African ancestry and place it back in the bodies of the enslaved and their descendants so that they could once again have a Christian spirituality in their own way; Jesus starts to have a black physical body and to be identified with the precarious, enslaved, with all minorities; manifestations of spirituality, with the body back, could now take place through genuinely bodily manifestations, such as dancing and even a certain trance. Black theology, therefore, as the “anti-racist breath of the Spirit” – to speak like theologian Ronilso Pacheco.

Given this diagnosis, what does illustrated Christianity propose: a contextual theology. It turns out that this contextual theology is different from that proposed in the XNUMXth century in America in general, and in Brazil, in particular – more specifically, Liberation Theology. This contextual black theology that is proposed is already loaded with content that must be used to generate “awareness” in those who are under the yoke of their white leaders and then fill them with emancipatory potential.

What arises, in other words, is the groundwork – it turns out that groundwork that already comes with its own content or theological assumptions about what is already in place, is not groundwork, but work on the base that aims, from the height of wisdom, to explain error or weakness to one another and demonstrate how they (the oppressed), despite their alleged intelligence, actually do not know what they are doing and need to be instructed.

By not realizing this and trying to formulate what would be a real black (Christian) theology in Brazil, these enlightened Christians place specific content from other contextual theologies, such as the black (North American) liberation theology, developed by black pastors and theologians and black women in the United States, from the 1960s onwards, whose main figure is Professor James H. Cone[v].

Despite the good intention, this theology, in Brazil, stops being contextual and starts to be imported – nothing more like that American way of life. For this to be justified – this import disguised as Brazilianness –, the close examination of the Brazilian reality and the reality of Pentecostals in Brazil, with their struggles, their adherences, internal and external, needs to be formatted as something below what it should be and that needs external reinforcement to return to what would be natural to it. As a result, there would be the rediscovery of the real God, and no longer the worship of the white God.

Now, if this is not another way of, now through theological means, arriving at an “identitarian notion of identity”,[vi] which exchanges the socio-historical analysis of reality for one based on supposed culture – essential and immutable – that would identify what black people and Africa are for their integration and occupation in the white world, in the capitalist world: “The integration of black people is It is therefore based on the priority of preserving the culture, tradition, customs and identity development of its particularity. It is not the exploitation constituted by the system, which ripped black people from the African continent, the key to black domination and exploitation [...] but, rather, the 'theft' of their identity through social whitening”.[vii]

This thought is based on an ethnological discourse that tried to found (and in a certain way, succeeded) “a particular and homogeneous African alterity”[viii] which, in the case of theology, can travel freely almost without mediation between Brazil and the United States. Paradoxically, this essentialism appropriates the character most related to synesthesia, intuition and mysticism “discovered” by European ethnology. Because they are unable to escape the Pentecostalism/black theology dichotomy, we are left with a “fetishized elevation […] of identity and cultural preservation”[ix] as the core of theological (and therefore political) construction.

They do not take into account, our comrades-of-Jesus, that these elements that seek to be rescued are no longer viable due to the course of history itself, that is, the conditions that allowed a certain type of experience – this experience is also fetishized and stagnant, non-relational. and without transmissibility value, as it required a certain hermeneutical sovereignty to reach a homogeneity of what it means to be African or black from the foundation of the world to the present day – are no longer possible. A hypostatized theology, therefore.

Enlightened theologians forget, or overlook, that theology is not a series of contents, but the living experience of a community with its faith. Brazilian Pentecostalism arises from the experience of the Brazilian people throughout the XNUMXth century, whose expansion occurred along with all others from a political and economic point of view, crossing and being crossed by them.

This is the reason why the religion chosen by black people in Brazil is Pentecostalism: not because of its ancestral contents, but because of the black experience in Brazil, which is different from the black experience in countries colonized by other European countries, as well as differing from the colonizing experience of black people in the United States of America[X] and even in Africa. Perhaps your religious experience, in general, will only change radically when the entire society changes in the same way.

Episteme

Thinking about the same relationship of emancipation from Pentecostalism, in political terms, we have the second group of enlightened theologians. This thought finds its greatest expression in the construction of religious scientist and theologian Fellipe dos Anjos, examining the relationships between the theology of prosperity and the Brazilian religious market. When confronted with the group “Tropa de Praise do BOPE”, the “Caveiras de Cristo”, he decided to participate in an event in which they went to give testimony of what God was doing in the pacification of Rio “through their lives and faith”[xi].

From then on, the pastor and theologian tells us, the discourse of violence is repeated, always with refinements of cruelty, the reality of a certain militarized Christian police, the fact that “if the Bible says that the wages of sin is death ( reference to the biblical text of Romans 6.23), my rifle is only advancing the payment to these sinners”[xii]. In other words, the old “good criminal is a dead criminal” that can be heard by any believer in any Baptist church, but now justified.

The theologian and pastor in question migrates from the field of prosperity to that of violence, he clearly shows us the communicating vessels between one side and the other of the same coin, as God “is love, but he is justice” – any similarity with the binomial entrepreneurship/ militarized pacification or welfare/warfare, who always live together, is not a mere coincidence. The theology of prosperity is, in fact, a scarecrow that does not allow us to see the depth of the fracture that is plaguing the country and its population (mostly black and Christian), placing the blame and responsibility on malicious leaders.

The big issue that appears to us here is the fact that these enlightened theologies still think politically in the category of “management”, as if the State and religion were, in the words of Dos Anjos, “social management of desire” – the image and the drive never disappear –, but puts this into account of religious sovereignty which, according to its formulation, at some point becomes secularized and transforms into the State and a State of Exception – a genealogy made by the philosopher Giorgio Agamben and passed on by the theologian we are now following.

For our enlightened theologies, however, sovereignty is an accident or a mistake that goes against the enlightenment that guides humanity towards adulthood or towards the image of the other as a human being – two ways of saying the same thing, which is, that starting from “conscience” (a Western invention, it’s worth repeating) we will reach a world of peace, harmony and respect, carrying out the liberal program of freedom, equality and fraternity or, in Christian terms, making a certain Kingdom of God come to Earth – leaving just the loci and the essence (if we could say so) of sovereignty: there is no management, the field of sovereignty is the field of decision, struggle and conflict.

If we are in the field of decision-making and not management, as obvious as it may be, for those who are within the lines of cronyism, friendship, civility, we have prosperity; for those outside, the violence of just war – this combat, we saw above, justified by their own platoon.

Back to sovereignty. In the words of our theologian: “the knowledge that regulates the criteria of (exception) inclusion/exclusion, the political logics, the criteria that control or manage the lines/marks between exclusion/inclusion, life/death, right/non-right , friend/enemy, are mythical-theological”[xiii]. He goes so far as to say: “In our contemporary times, images operate sacrifice”[xiv]. He understands, therefore, that “neoliberal governmentality depends on the sacrificial machine of sovereignty – including its mythical-theological legitimations – to establish itself as the ordering logic of societies”[xv]. While trying to understand this sacrificial biopolitical structure, he assumes that: “thinking about biopower in the West is analyzing the Christian framework of the mechanisms for legitimizing the sovereign violence that affects us”.[xvi]

State violence, carried out in the name of pacification of Rio de Janeiro's favelas, is interpreted by Dos Anjos as reminiscent of the sacrificial structure of Christianity itself. And even though the Rio author points out that this mythical-theological device is a validation of the destruction inherent to neoliberalism, the final argument separates the mothers of children killed by the State as a possible space of escape, of counter-discourses, to the biopolitics of sacrifice. Dos Anjos' hope, then, by betting on the “subjective power” of the Pentecostal faith of victim mothers, lets slip that their consciousness is also the result of the process of reification of the commodity society. In his eagerness to find a solution to the problem, he places the escape point in their resistance.

While he redoubles his attention to the supposed potential of sacrificial theories in the sciences of religion, the author ignores the collapse that constitutes the very experience of a world that no longer has a future or employment and that organizes what he calls sacrifice. The problem arises as a mythical-theological organization, which fights with another mythical-theological formulation. Then it makes sense to focus on victim mothers as an escape from domination. In the end, the Foucauldian anti-dialectic of power-resistance remains, itself a symptom of the end of the line in which we find ourselves.

When it was the fat season, everything was fine, amalgamated. Now that the tables have turned, everyone wants their piece of brown sugar and the guarantee that they will survive – always, survival – at the end of the world. What is most surprising is the fact that this truly enlightened group is perplexed and catatonic with what is happening. This is where the founding character of illustrated theologies becomes clear: conscience. They believed that everything was a matter of conscience. It is as if the end of history proclaimed by the establishment American when the Berlin Wall fell had been taken seriously.

Another interesting issue with these theologies is the fact that they really think that the problem of the world is the consumption of products and not their subsumption to the market, the result of a certain alienated dead work mediated by money and made to produce value in an infinite way – this work producer of merchandise and a fundamental part of profit and accumulation, formerly a slave, today a salaried worker – and now less and less necessary for accumulation itself, generating more and more unnecessary people who can be eliminated.

Therefore, in theological terms, we must think about whether the fundamental issue is idolatry or zeal – this is the categorical imperative of our world, created with the Reformation. It is possible to see that the same theology that lives in opposition to the ghost created by it, the theology of prosperity, tries to ensure that, in the world of merchandise, God is not treated as such. The figure of the idol appears as a Christian correlate of any product that is made to be consumed. The problem is that, as we have already seen, the world we live in is the world of the market.

And at this moment, what do these theologies of consciousness, in general, have to offer us? Categories. Now, how could it be possible to have anything else to say at this moment, when everything is language and symbol? So much so, that Dos Anjos and Moura, in their formulation regarding the pandemic and how the past government denied it, point out that its management leads to an “epistemological tension”[xvii]. A great symptom that these theological formulations really are theologies of consciousness is realizing what comes to the surface in times of danger – whether with daily violence, those committed by the police or during the pandemic: the body!

The body that cries, that feels, is hungry, works, gets tired, needs a hug, receives a salary, reaches out, speaks, moves in one way and not another – without any kind of duty. Pentecostals, on the contrary, have not forgotten the ground of concrete life, that they were the ones who missed in-person worship the most during the pandemic and those who help each other in all material issues, not with a check or emancipatory content, but with everything that they can and are – this is the insurgent citizenship that we follow, appalled because it has gone out of our control. Hence the amazement at the need for prosperity, the demand for a purpose to live and the horror at today's violence. Heaven and hell only ceased to exist for the conscious.

Fundamentalism

Among other actors of this evangelical progressivism, a movement gains institutional/digital form, the aforementioned “community-platform” New Evangelical Narratives. The core of this organization is the affirmation of the “plurality of evangelical spirituality” in contrast to “fundamentalism”. In their anti-fundamentalist agenda they define fundamentalism as follows: “By fundamentalism, we are referring to discourses, theologies and the like that produce violence and death, through literal, convenient and biased interpretations of biblical texts and promote the crystallization of dogmas , a common scenario in many evangelical churches.”[xviii]

Fundamentalism is not part of a social whole in which it is a revealing moment of the very way in which a significant percentage of the population understands reality; it is in itself the foundation of the problem we are experiencing. The organization New Narratives, as part of the progressives themselves, defines itself as “anti-fundamentalist”. Fundamentalism would be exactly the project of the extreme right, which has previous origins, but which takes on this face in the current national political dispute. The proposed approach is equivalent to the problem that is defined. In the face of a “hermeneutical” problem, a “hermeneutical” response. In the face of a theological problem, a theology. So far, nothing new.

In the booklet Love as revolution (2019), Henrique Vieira, a pastoral and parliamentary figure, affiliated with PSol, defines an interpretation regarding religious fundamentalism that reveals itself as a clear expression of the progressive movement. Just like the progressive logic, engendered only in contrast to the Bolsonarist phenomenon, the Pastor elaborates his notion of fundamentalism only in opposition to his own conception of spirituality, defined as “indomitable”: it is necessary “to know that we cannot have full control over the Sacred […], not institutionalizing the sacred, closing in dogmas and unshakable truths […] spirituality is more openness than closure; more questions than answers.”[xx]

Fundamentalist religiosity, thus, would be an attempt to systematize spirituality in a “peculiar narrative”, permeated by codes of behavior, explanations of reality and the cosmos – ironically, it is exactly this undertaking, even if performatively denied, that our redeemed militants -in-Christ they try to do it at all costs.

Henrique Vieira places fundamentalism as something that “stifles the beauty of spirituality”, paving the way for what he calls hateful practices. Within this scope, there is a refusal to “dialogue with differences” which results in an aversion to the diversity of spirituality. These practices, taken to a higher level, take place in religious extremism, which would be fundamentalism “taken to the extreme” by violent actions. In other words, a hardening of biblical reading educates hatred, and paves the way for persecution and acts of violence against life: “The fundamentalist lens clings to the cold letter while it cools hearts in the face of concrete life”[xx].

Henrique Vieira's focus is restricted to the hermeneutic sphere of fundamentalism (so far, nothing new), however, his proposition suggests a transformation in this phenomenon, as if the change in the way of approaching biblical texts, adopting a more “diverse and fluid” stance ”, could act as an antidote to rescue churches from the clutches of the far right.

What Henrique Vieira and evangelical progressivism lose sight of is that fundamentalism as a movement (guided by its religious truth) sees its mystical hope in the current catastrophe of the crisis of capitalism, that of renewal through the total destruction of our world. This decree about the end is now supported by a reading of biblical texts – seen by progressives as arbitrary – not as a cause, but as an effect of their project: mass conservatism[xxx], which in Brazil takes its peak in its reactionary brother (progressive evangelicals), our former president and everything he symbolizes (!).

Fundamentalism is organized, then, by the tendency to build an immobile identity in the face of modernity in a state of decadence. This identity reflects a certain religious form that is better adapted to social disintegration: “Its fundamentalist reading would therefore be acting as a subjective response of individuals who experience the collapse of the world”.[xxiii]

They overlook (!) that these “fanatics” (for evangelical progressives, of course) understand themselves with a sense of mission even more fostered by the “persecution and reprisals” they suffer everywhere, being “faced within the mystique of the Acts of the Apostles, in which the issue of persecution of Christ's followers is raised, becoming a fuel for the exercise of religiosity and producing a ethos of suffering that resulted [and still results] in more motivation and engagement.”[xxiii]

Now, if the latest fashion is, given the absence of a future in the world we live in, to look to the past to have the strength to live, it is in this same light that the discourse of persecution of Christians must be read. It is through ancestry that it is rescued that in the beginning – there really – the followers of the message of Jesus of Nazareth were persecuted, killed, burned, beheaded and thrown to the lions due to the impact of their message that challenged all the gods of the areopagus and, therefore, , to Caesar, who was the representative of that pantheon and himself a god.

As we have seen, Pentecostals, specifically, with their black, poor and female birth – therefore, descendants of slaves and currently workers in the most precarious positions – still live in this thread of the disinherited of the earth. If everyone can claim their ancestry to have a place under the Sun that burns everyone's heads and even more so now with global warming, why not Christians, in general, and neo-Pentecostals, in particular?

Once again, from the height of his wisdom that he wants control of institutions, preaching unrestricted freedom and, in these moments, forgetting his Foucault who already knew the impossibility of combining “freedom” in the same sentence (always the sentence!) and “institutionality” for the same purpose, what our enlightened believers suggest, given the fundamentalist inflection: the defense of the State[xxv] – previously criticized for its role in marginalizing minorities –, now elevated to the position of integral defender and guarantor of rights that were previously restricted. Always, of course, against the savagery of the barbarians who invaded the Plateau for four years and, to finish the job, since they “don't know how to lose” – that is, they are not good competitors as the spirit of capitalism demands –, they took the ball , destroyed the entire Esplanade and the bulwark of the modern architectural project that once again lifted us to the mainstream internationally.

The issue (for enlightened theologians) is not the people crying out to God for a plate of food or for their child not to be killed in jail – which is where the non-enlightened evangelicals are – but the number of seats on the bench. evangelicalism and our despair and astonishment at its increase with each election. And what is our response to this? “We lack education!” A “spiritual literacy”. It is no coincidence that groups like Novas Narrativas Evangélicas are emerging as platforms dedicated to “equipping the Brazilian church with anti-fundamentalist tools”.

They try to make a connection between the language of the third sector and the quintessence of Johannine literature. It comes to sound, despite the good intention, like a certain class impudence that has amalgamated certain emancipatory discourses to guarantee its market, which in political terms lives by trying to enter Brazilian institutions at any cost and the need to occupy this and all other places without realizing that the problem is the way in which the place operates and makes the machine of the world turn. It is worth remembering that, with regard to the “issue of class” and the “market”, we are just following the observation made by Ed René Kivitz[xxiv] – which, after all, we never stop referencing – that, in a class society, that is where any theological formulation has its origin. As for the impudence, it is up to us.

In a curious coincidence with a speech by the manager, who demonstrated aversion to the politician, emerging as an attempt to revitalize liberal figures in the elections,[xxv] our educated colleagues do not merely declare themselves as a new evangelical group, but prefer to position themselves as managers. They do not consider themselves representatives of the clergy on the political scene, but rather “amicus curiae“, providing an insightful contribution to an apparently more “democratic” evangelical management – ​​that is, unlike their more fanatical brothers, they do not seek to overthrow, but to safeguard institutions. Management by management, another attempt to resurrect our Platypus against the barbarism that lies ahead.

Tropicália gospel

A few days before the second round elections, on October 17, 2022, gospel singer Leonardo Gonçalves published the song “Messias” on his digital media. The song has a long list of features, and begins with a sequence of evangelical preaching cuts. The selection of lines, which act as a prelude to the song's content, has a clear message of denunciation, which accompanies the song. They seem to want to tell us that those pastors were already denouncing the same thing as them: the intersections between the politics of the nascent extreme right in Brazil, the evangelical leaders and a considerable part of the country's evangelicals. 

The content of this complaint takes on a more explicit form in a speech by Leonardo Gonçalves in a podcast with Caetano Veloso.[xxviii] The former tropicalista questions the Adventist singer about his interpretation of Bolsonarism within churches and their leaders. As an answer we have that the evil in question would be the result of a reductionism of something that is characteristic of the Christian religion, the fight of good against evil. Kleber Lucas, who was also on the podcast, continues commenting on Leonardo Gonçalves' speech. In Kleber Lucas' interpretation, many pastors “follow the music” (not theirs, of course), that is, they will adhere to the political discourse that is strongest at the moment, as they did when Lula and Dilma were at their peak.

The conversation, at this point, turns to hope about the new music that would be the third Lula government. It almost forms an ode to the capacity of art as a path of conciliation to deal with “Grand Canyon” (sic. with an accent) which is politics today, and about how the project to support culture, on the part of now president Lula, will establish a new era in the country.

Not without reason, but with objective irony, in a video on his own Instagram, Leonardo Gonçalves wore a shirt promoting the song Messias that contained a curious message, below the title: tropicália gospel. If Schwarz is right in his criticism of tropicália, exposing his claim that, from musical and stage freedom, freedom and political strength could historically be given rise, wouldn't this be the logic that mobilizes this clod of evangelical progressivism?

Expectations that a new form of worship and theology could shape the social conflicts that produced a particular interpretation of self. The worship and the music are changed, the Sunday messages and their theological books are transformed, and they believe that they will be able to build a real confrontation with this. An avant-garde at least fifty years late.

Progressivisms

If Liberation Theology models the revelatory locus and places it in the history of the people in struggle as the revealing action of God,[xxviii] enlightened theologians want to remodel theology based on some fixed categories of identity and remove its notion of sacrifice from Christianity. Just as that modulation of Liberation Theology revealed something of its own praxis ecclesiastical, these modulations of evangelical progressivism do the same. And to try to overcome the sea of ​​misfortunes, which for these people is just a sea of ​​concepts and points of view and interpretation, another conscience is enough.

Returning to our term of comparison, the difference is not only of a qualitative nature: the modulation that Liberation Theology made in theology of the time had as its reference the praxis Christian liberation that existed at the time. For enlightened theologians it is not necessary to give an account of praxis previous, theological modulations happen via their own academic and theoretical intuitions, so that, not by chance, they do not speak to the vast majority of evangelicals in Brazil. It is expected that the production of a new theology will generate a platform of faith, educated and defending Human Rights. Meanwhile, real faith communities continue to imagine the end of the world in their own way.

To shorten the journey, using the words of the author who maps the project of enlightened Christians: “against slavery and degeneration of humanity”, what do our evangelical progressives suggest? Christianity (!), “because it 'is the overcoming of religion'”. Echoing the aforementioned author, once again: we are faced with “'a mix of common sense with warmed-over existentialism'”.[xxix]

Evangelical progressivism, which takes shape as a social enterprise, a particular form of our time, is just another chapter of the old modern proclamation of equality and freedom, now proclaimed against the new barbarians who emerge in the face of the abyss of the end of modernity itself. ; and as an old German shows, equality is that of exchange and freedom is that of commerce. They mobilize a hope that only the middle class (or what was once the project of a middle class in a country on the periphery, which makes things even more sinister) in its constitutive blindness can believe; They have faith that the proclamation of the old modern norms of freedom, equality and identity, now defended discursively as a critique of modernity/coloniality within theology, will be the path to resolving the problems that surround us. With all this in mind, we can only repeat the question that gives the title to this short piece of writing.

*André Castro He is studying for a master's degree in Religious Sciences at UMESP.

*Jayder Roger is majoring in psychology.

*Joao Marcos Duarte is a doctoral candidate in linguistics at UFPB.

Notes


[I] PACHECO, R. Occupy, resist, subvert: Church and Theology in times of violence, racism and oppression. Curitiba: Novos Diálogos, 2016. p. 62.

[ii] The quote is from Ed René Kivitz, the one who best explains the theological construction from which evangelical progressivism derives. Each one in their own way, whether placing the footnote due to the theologian in question or not, owes their fair share of debt to Kivitz's formulations. The quote is taken up by João Marcos Duarte in his article “The prosperity of abundance”, which we are now beginning to follow (Available at: https://revistazelota.com/a-prosperidade-da-abundancia/; last accessed on 28-07 -2023). For the last great achievement of evangelical progressivism, check out ANÉAS, A.; MERLO, L.; GAMA, R. (orgs.), Evangelicals and politics. São Paulo: Editora Recriar, 2023.

[iii] We're talking about the documentary Faith and Fury (2019), by director Marcos Pimentel. The author finds in the work, more than a mosaic of speeches that would reference the hypotheses put forward by the artists, the behavior of a left that cannot perceive itself as part of the situation in which we find ourselves and is scandalized by the turn things have taken. Unlike the left that was defeated with the military coup and tried to see what had happened, today, it simply takes no responsibility and blames the “brucutus” for the damage. From what we are seeing, whether we pray the Our Father or not, the behavior is the same. For a detailed analysis of the documentary, with the most nuanced arguments, check out DUARTE, JM, “Sobre Fé e Fúria”. the earth is round (Online). 12 Dec. 2022. (Available at: https://aterraeredonda.com.br/fe-e-furia ; last access: 28 Jul. 2023).

[iv] Take the example of the aforementioned theologian Ronilso Pacheco when he suggests that “The Lula government has been resistant to the creation of a department focusing on religion and its political role in strengthening democracy […] some kind of national secretariat to deal with the issue”. Cf: PACHECO, R. Conservative churches will be incubators of the extreme right. The Intercept (online). 11 Jan. 2023 (Available at: https://www.intercept.com.br/2023/01/11/igrejas-conservadoras-serao-incubadoras-da-extrema-direita-se-governo-nao-mudar-forma/).

[v] For a detailed analysis of the reception of black theology in Brazil by evangelical progressives, see: CASTRO, A.; ROGER, J. Jesus out of place: reception of black theology in Brazil. Zelota Magazine (online). Available in: https://revistazelota.com/o-jesus-fora-de-lugar-recepcao-da-teologia-negra-no-brasil/..

[vi] BARROS, DR Black place, white place?: sketch of a critique of racial metaphysics. São Paulo: Hedra, 2018. p. 121.

[vii] BARROS, DR, 2018, p. 125.

[viii] Idem., p. 107.

[ix] Idem., p. 116.

[X] For a better critical understanding of the reception of Black Theology in Brazil, check out the aforementioned: CASTRO, A.; ROGER, J. Jesus out of place: reception of black theology in Brazil. Zelota Magazine (online). Available in: https://revistazelota.com/o-jesus-fora-de-lugar-recepcao-da-teologia-negra-no-brasil/.

[xi] ANGELS, FD Biopolitics of sacrifice. São Paulo: Editora Recriar, 2019.

[xii] ANJOS, FD, 2019, p. 160.

[xiii] Idem., p. 221.

[xiv] Idem., p. 210.

[xv] Idem., p. 215.

[xvi] Idem. Ibid.

[xvii] ANGELS, FD; MOURA, J. The infernal contagion: the Bolsonarist-evangelical apocalypse. São Paulo: Editora Recriar (online), 2020. p. 21.

[xviii] EVANGÉLICAS, NN Anti-fundamentalist evangelical agenda. [Sl]: [sn], 2022. (Available at: file:///Users/joaomarcosduarte/Downloads/Agenda_Evangelica_Antifundamentalista_NOVAS.pdf; last access: 20 Jul. 2023)

[xx] VIEIRA, H. Love as Revolution. Rio de Janeiro: Objetiva, 2019. p. 60.

[xx] VIEIRA, H., 2019, p. 62.

[xxx] HINKELAMMERT, F. The history of heaven: problems of Christian fundamentalism. In: ASSMANN, H.; HINKELAMMERT, F. The idolatry of the market. Petrópolis: Voices, 1989.

[xxiii] CANETTIERI, T. Recent changes in the management of barbarism in Brazil: Academic Space Magazine, v. 20, no. 223, p. 146-161, 21 July. 2020.

[xxiii] VALLE, V. Enter religionão and Lulism: study with Pentecostals in São Paulo. São Paulo: Editora Recriar, 2019. p. 26.

[xxv] “We, at Novas Narrativas Evangelicas, believe that it is necessary to: Defend the Secular State, combating the unethical relations between religion and power that corrupt the nature of institutions […] Defending the full functioning of institutions is, above all, guaranteeing the different , difference, and the right to have rights” (EVANGÉLICAS, 2022, p. 4).

[xxiv] DUARTE, JM The prosperity of abundance. Cit.

[xxv] An allusion to the movement of politicians such as the former governor of São Paulo, João Dória Jr., who considered himself a “manager” and who was not a politician, but was in politics. For more details: Dória says there is time for Alckmin to recover and denies running for President. Folha de São Paulo (online). 11 Jun. 2018. Available at: https://www1.folha.uol.com.br/poder/2018/06/ex-prefeito-doria-afirma-em-sabatina-que-ainda-nao-e-politico.shtml.

[xxviii] NINJA, M. Caetano Veloso interviews Kleber Lucas, Leonardo Gonçalves, AD Junior and Juliano Spyer. Youtube, 2022. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nzawj1QUAeE&ab_channel=M%C3%ADdiaNINJA.

[xxviii] SECOND, JL The Dogma that Liberates. São Paulo: Edições Paulinas, 1991.

[xxix] DUARTE, JM The prosperity of abundance. Cit.


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