(Photo: REUTERS/Ali Jarekji)
Today is Friday the 13th and many in Brazil consider the day to be the unluckiest day of the year, and are avoiding black cats and broken mirrors. However, how should Christians see superstitions and in particular, are Evangelical Christians in Brazil tempted to be superstitious on this day?
According to a Brazilian apologist, Johnny Bernardo, from the Institute for Religious Research (INPR) Brazilians in general are "extremely" superstitious. "They are influenced greatly by secular media, horoscopes magazines, accessory industries, etc," he told The Christian Post.
As for Evangelicals in particular he confirmed there are some churches, especially "neo-Pentecostal" ones, who promote superstitious practices like the use of salt (to drive away evil spirits), and an anointed rose among other things, which aim to offer spiritual values to the believers.
These practices were also highlighted in a report from the Committee on Doctrine of the Presbyterian Church of Brazil, which also mentions other practices, such as the use of fluidic water, ribbons and bracelets and the rue plant.
Bernardo explains these objects are used by the churches to fight against the devil in a "spiritual battle." Apparently, he said the church doesn't believe that there is any intrinsic power in them, but it uses it as something to "awaken people's faith."
However, the problem is that this is not how it has been used so far and he gives an example of how churches are promoting this kind of practice.
"Many people say the trouble and fights at home are just part of the era we live in. That is not it. These are the result of the presence of demons. 'Sometimes I want to go to church.' But when is time to go they lose courage. Everything that blocks people from going to church, this is the demon. 'Come, let's anoint your right foot and untie your life'," said Bernardo, giving an example of what a typical neo-Pentecostal priest would say as an invitation to believers to join superstitious practices in their churches.
Other Christian leaders point to other superstitious practices, such as leaving the Bible open on Psalm 91 to drive away misfortune, or utilizing expressions such as "you are tied!"
Evangelical church leaders explain the existence of superstitions among Evangelicals as a result of a lack of proper biblical orientation.