THE NATIONAL PESSIMISM AND THE LAMB OF GOD

From Google Images

From Google Images

I do not know if I’m the only one dissatisfied with the direction things are going in Brazil, but I think not, indeed, I think that a large part of the population walks dissatisfied with something. I read this from the conversations I have, by the writings and stories I read, and the “Brazilian aborted up spring” that brought thousands to the streets of Brazil not long ago shows this reality. I recall that at the height of the demonstrations in Brazil, when we saw the Avenida Presidente Vargas in Rio de Janeiro occupied by hundreds of thousands of people I heard from a person: “Look, is it now that it will change? I am shivering!” The shiver passed and the long awaited and spoken Brazilian change was aborted by the Brazilian police and government supporters. The situation went back exactly to where it was.

The topic of this paper is called “The National Pessimism”, title which is borrowed from the book of the Portuguese intellectual of the early twentieth century, Manuel Laranjeira. I wish to use some thoughts from Manuel Laranjeira to rethink what is falling out in Brazil. The work of Manuel Laranjeira not only constitutes a diagnosis of the national problem, but also proposes a therapeutic way solve the problem. I do not possess the intellectual ability of this great Portuguese writer, so I cannot make similar proposals, but as educated citizen, I was able to read hundreds of posters with the demands of the people, but also to watch some interviews where people spoke about their dissatisfaction with the Brazilian government during the recent demonstrations and also as a citizen I have my own grievances.

Manuel Laranjeira speaks of the tripartite society: the people, the intellectual minority and the ruling class. I believe that Brazilian society is also fragmented, not only tripartite, but multipartite in different fragments, among which stand out the people, the intellectuals, the governing class, religious and behaviorists. The people are apathetic, short mind and break up easy. The intellectuals seem tired, others bought and silenced by the government. The leaders want nothing more than to suck the resources of the state and perpetuate themselves in the power. The religious sees nothing beyond what is spiritual. And the behaviorists are a loud minority, seeking to deploy a nation based on immorality for the majority of the Brazilian population. Due to this reality the pessimism of the citizenry is well understandable.We are a nation with a poor education. Many students are forced by poverty to leave the school and many will make a living in drug trafficking, assaults or simply begging on the streets of our urban centers. There are 23,973 kids living on the streets of Brasil.[1]

We are a country without collective civic spirit. A tribalized people who only think in their own interest and advantage to get what they want, is capable of atrocities. Manuel Laranjeira says: “The spirit of a people, as the life of any organized being, in its representative curve presents an upward part of evolution, progress, and a part descensional, dissolution, decay.”[2] However, it seems that in Brazil we experience a kind of social tobogganing, ups and downs, endless curves, a country where we have stadiums equivalent to the ones in the first world, and schools and hospitals in unimaginable conditions. We are the nation that best pays their politicians and receive the worst service of them.

The religious leaders that should be concerned to positively influence the nation, has become a moneymaking machine and its leaders both Protestant and Catholics in prominent personalities. Who could imagine pastors on the cover of Forbes? Who could conceive of a priest singer vying role of Mary, mother of Jesus at Mass? And, besides that a fresh culture of pastors and priests are finding their way to the government offices.

Unfortunately our intellectuals tired of talking to a people that do not listen, others were sold to the press and speak only what is permitted to them, and others were silenced. There is no voice of rationality and knowledge warning the people of the dangers that lie ahead. Let’s see what wrote the Brazilian philosopher Émilien Vilas Boas Reis: “In Brazil has not been different, quite the opposite. Emphasized by our lack of tradition in the area of ideas, what is happening is that the intellectual with some renowned name accept bureaucratic positions in the current government, which makes them quiet before the calamities occurred. Absurd situations are created, because the intellectual, stuck by ideologies and governments do not possess the courage to expose the mistakes, silencing with some convenience.

There are intellectuals who, despite being present in vehicles of mass communication, end up suiting his speech in favor of what appears as more palatable to the public. Other intellectuals, in turn, needs to “change the world” surrender to the prevailing pragmatism, acting in the practical domain. The academy itself contributes to the intellectual silence in the realm of ideas, encouraging them to give a unique importance to publications, which is mostly no more than patches of texts already published (an old wise teacher use to say excellent texts depend on time and reflection!).”[3]

In Brazil the behaviorist is headed by homosexuals organizations and politicians linked and elected by these organizations. The behaviorism on which I write this text is the name of behaviorism that postulate behavior as the most appropriate for the society, even if contrary to the majority. The behaviorists are experts in making up for victims, comparing themselves with other groups who actually suffer some discrimination, to sensitize the masses. If nothing occurs to change what is going on, soon Brazil will be one “offshore gayist”.

I have more pessimism stuck in my throat, but I cannot close without mentioning millions of Brazilians dissatisfied with the current government in power for the last twelve years, they brought to us great disappointments and frustrations of a country that will degrade by widespread corruption. There are lots of political parties in the country but none trustworthy. And the Labor Party in power, with its dome, accused, tried and put behind bars for various crimes against society is an unforgettable shame.

Given that the majority of Brazilian population are Christians we must discuss about it as one of the pillars of the Brazilian society. The reality of Brazil is that it is a Roman Catholic country, and thus it is natural that evidence of Catholicism is observed in various sectors of society. Soon after the evangelicals and some sects mixed up well with the Brazilian conservative Christians creating what we call evangelicalism, mainly linked to the prosperity gospel. Then we have an interesting group, that are constituted of those who are without religion, that does not necessarily mean they are atheists. In this group, there are atheists, but also people for whom faith is existing, nonetheless, is unknowable. I believe the Afrobrazilians in its different aspects come behind evangelicals and eventually other religious minorities.

Brazil is a nation of faith, no matter what faith, but the faith of the Brazilian people is almost tangible, that occurs due to the formation of the Brazilian ethnic matrix that met certain variety of beliefs. Religious belief is actually something too ingrained in humans as Danièle Hervieu-Léger explains: “The religious dimension of the cross is a human phenomenon, working active or latent, explicit or implicit way, the total thickness of the social, cultural and psychological reality, according to the structure of each of the civilizations within which we strive for identify their presence.”[4]

And contrary to what some scholars have imagined, the XXI century didn’t became the century of religious abandonment, on the reverse, there is a significant different increase of faith in anything, certainly in a different way, the old models which has forced an adjustment in almost every religious group. And in an open society like Brazil, diverse religious belief tends to multiply with agility. However for better understanding, we believe that: “A religion is … a practical and symbolic ideological device for which it is established, maintained, developed and controlled individual and collective sense of belonging to a particular lineage of believer.”[5]

Something that actually impressed the religious leaders in the last census conducted in Brazil by IBGE was the rapid growth of no religion among these so-called without church affiliation. This phenomenon is part of the package of postmodernity, which conveys with it new trends and new ways of expression of faith and belonging. Danièle Hervieu-Léger and explains: “This spraying of individual religious identities does not imply the erasure or even the disappearance of the term of all phases of religious community life. On the reverse, while the products of the great religious institutions seem increasingly less able to regulate the lives of believers who claim its autonomy of subjects believers, we are witnessing an efflorescence of groups, networks, and communities within which individuals exchange and mutually validate their spiritual experiences.”[6]

What we are witnessing is not the death of religion or God as it was imagined, but a religious metamorphosis that has redefined directions and attitudes. Brazil is a secular state where people are free to trust in what they want or do not believe in anything. This is part of the fundamental rights of man, however, a secular state where the state takes an atheist confession and want to impose on the majority is unacceptable.

Thither is a difference between secularity and secularism, in a simplistic way would suffice to say that secularism is healthy and secularism is detrimental. And here I quote Vanderlei de Lima philosopher who wrote this interesting account: “The secular state, far from being an atheist state – which denies the existence of God – protects freedom of conscience and the opinion of its citizens, allowing the coexistence of different faiths ensures the legal point of view, Dr. Ives Gandra Martins da Silva, a renowned constitutionalist.

As for the false secular State that is there, Father David Francisquini is adamant in stating that State professes, yes, an agnostic and secularist ideological confessionality, which would mean: “As you induce a religious conviction, cannot impose it on me. But what I’m agnostic or atheist, I can impose my to you. “We disagree, who is right but me, I have a liberal mind and not bound by religious dogmas. It is a strange rule of law, democratic and pluralistic said, in which only atheists and agnostics have the right to speak and influence the laws according to it “(Catechism against abortion, p. 35). It is realized, therefore, that the mindset reigning want to prevail not only the secular State, it would be respectful of the plurality of opinion, but rather the state secular, communist roots and therefore suffocate faith and morals Christian, liberating the human being.”[7]

There is an epistemological gap that needs to be observed and respected to avoid deviations of subjectivity. Danièle Hervieu-Léger explains us that: “To say that the whole society is secular implies that life is no longer, or fewer, subject to published rules by a religious institution.”[8]

Within this perspective of Hervieu-Léger we concluded that in Brazil we don’t have a state of secularization, but the religious life remains a determining factor in the lives of the majority of the population in one way or another. Brazil has a diverse cultural matrix, however the absolute majority of the Brazilian people are Christian, so it is natural that elements of Christianity stand out in many areas of society. This does not mean that minorities should be ignored or sidelined in society in what concerns their rights.

Is there a solution to it? The proposed solution of postmodernity to fix what is awry in the world is more teaching and government.

The total corruption of man stripped him of the ability to govern justly. St. Augustine wrote: “Far from the justice, which are actually the kingdoms (governments) but great bands of robbers? […] These are mobs of people who submit to the command of a chief, who is bound by a memorandum and divide the prey according to the law accepted by them. […] It was the fact that with finesse and replied to Alexander Magno certain pirate who had been jailed. […] In fact, when the king asked the man who seemed to invade the seas so, he replied with frank audacity: ‘The same as you, it seems to infest the world; but to me, because I do with a small ship, they call me a thief, and you, because you do it with a great fleet, are called you emperor ‘.”[9]

Neither education nor government will be able to touch on what is wrong in the Brazil. If what is wrong in Brazil is sin, no one but God possesses the power to deal with this issue. I might say: “If the problem is sin, I just need to become a good religious person and fix what’s wrong in my life” Or maybe one can still say: “If the problem is sin, then I will donate my goods the poor, give charity, and so fix what’s wrong in my life “Or even say:” If the problem is sin, then I’ll shove me in a monastery and live a holy life and so I fix what is wrong in my life!” None of these things will fix the problem of sin. How can we fix what’s wrong then? The Lamb of God, the immaculate and sinless, was hurt, rejected and killed, to pay the debt on behalf of all sinners who could never repay him. The Bible say: “The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. {taketh away: or, beareth}.” (John 1:29)

If God wanted to fix what is wrong not only in Brazil but in the whole world he needed to exterminate the human race because it was man with his disobedience that brought sin into the world. However, God spared us from eternal destruction. Why? Once again we find the answer in the Bible: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16).

If we want to mend what is wrong in the Brazilian society we need to share the Good News of God redeeming love with not only the Brazilians but with the whole world: “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” (Mark 16:15). It is a commandment from God that we should take the Gospel to all people and nation: “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: {teach…: or, make disciples, or, Christians of all nations}Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, {even} unto the end of the world. Amen.” (Mathew 28:19-20) While we stop being light in our society, specially among the mind molders we see the atheism, humanism and behaviorist imposing their belief to all.

There is a pessimist belief in the country but we have the message of the Good News to change our country into a nation that values honesty, justice, rightness, goodness, equality and also prosperity, but not without Christ. In this paper we were capable to analyze some of the problems we face in our society as well some of its origin but I must end this paper not as a pessimist but as a person who believe and work with God to bring the necessary changes. May God bless us!

by Luis A R Branco

 

Notes:

[1] Bruno Paes Manso (24 February 2011). “Grandes cidades têm 23.973 crianças de rua; 63% vão parar lá por brigas em casa”. Estadao.com.br/Sao Paulo (in Portuguese). Grupo Estado. Retrieved 30 November 2012.
[2] Manuel Laranjeira, O Pessimismo Nacional: Ou de Como Os Portugueses Procuram Soluções (Lisboa: Padrões Culturais, 2008), 57-58.
[3] Émilien Vilas Boas Reis, “Colunas émilien Vilas Boas Reis,” Dom Total, August 26, 2013, accessed May 7, 2014, http://www.domtotal.com.br/colunas/detalhes.php?artId=3789.
[4] Danièle Hervieu-Léger, O Peregrino e o Convertidp: A Religião em Movimento (Lisboa: Gravida, 2005), 26.
[5] Idem, 30-31.
[6] Ibidem, 32.
[7] Vanderlei de Lima, “Estado Laico Não é Estado Laicista,” ZENIT: O Mundo Visto de Roma, October 21, 2013, accessed May 17, 2014, http://www.zenit.org/pt/articles/estado-laico-nao-e-estado-laicista.
[8] Ibidem, 38.
[9] J. Blanchard. Perguntas Cruciais: São José dos Campos, Editora Fiel, 1992, 59.

 

Bibliography:

Blanchard, J. Perguntas Cruciais. São José dos Campo: Editora Fiel, 1992.

Hervieu-Léger, Danièle. O Peregrino e o Convertidp: A Religião em Movimento. Lisboa: Gravida, 2005.

Laranjeira, Manuel. O Pessimismo Nacional: Ou de Como Os Portugueses Procuram Soluções. Lisboa: Padrões Culturais, 2008.

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