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By Jose M. Vigil (editor)

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When it first appeared at the beginning of the twentieth century in Brazil, Umbanda was projected as a religion of national consensus. Here we have a country marked by the tradition of European Catholicism, whose symbolic world was transformed through popular practices and through the Spiritism of Alan Kardec. It was spread from the Empire and degenerated in the Republic. This is also a country strongly marked by African religious traditions and by some of the Indigenous heritage. In this context then, a religious practice was found that could establish a consensus by integrating in a single religion the significant element of each of the streams.

However, this is not happening because of a Christian superiority that discriminates the Aboriginal. Quite to the contrary, the new love of Christ enters the heart of Aboriginal peoples who have cultivated many and beautiful flowers, and due to this spirituality peoples of this earth are open to being saved through Christ. Where is this process unfolding? Some say it happens within religions. Sacred Indigenous behavior would then be the path towards God. My point of view is that since religion has a symbolic nature, it has the ambivalence of any symbolic phenomenon.

Faith is the matrix of theology, above all the faith of common people (Luke 10, 21), and not only beliefs of those of us who hold certain responsibilities in the church community. We are all concerned about unfolding solidarity within today's world, and this goes hand in hand with the well-being of nature that is God's creation, and with the spiritual qualities of common people. In this sense, it is wholesome to underline the interaction between Indigenous communities and other cultural realities, and the connections between Indigenous theologies and other ways of giving an account of hope in Life.

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